First understand the following is my opinion based on my failed attempt to use Serif WebPlus X5. I wanted a product to replace my old FrontPage. When testing Serif "free advance software" it did everything I wanted a package to do.
Before purchasing the product I asked if the product is one hundred percent stand-alone for development on my PC (does not require any interface to Serif). I was assured that it was. I develop off-line in a remote area of Thailand and only go on-line when I am ready to upload a site. I also told them BEFORE I purchased I wanted a product that had no requirement for me to be "married" to the product developer!
When reading about the features and functions Serif advertises the ability add code for log-in and counters (etc) - they call this "Smart Objects", code that results in data needing to be retained. I asked the same person in customer service, that assured me the product did not require any interface to Serif to develop and use, if the product had these capabilities which I was assured that it did.
If you use a "Smart Object" you have to go on-line with Serif to register it - that is register the html page you develop! Why, because they keep the data on their server!! You cannot keep you own data on your own selected host! You cannot control your own data, you cannot maintain your own data - the data you collect is at Serif! You need to go to Serif for YOUR data! They also say if your usage is too high you need to purchase additional storage from them! You CANNOT develop code or host your internet site without being attached to Serif if you use a "Smart Object". Let me repeat; No counters, No commerce, No "anything" that results in data being stored without a "marriage" to Serif! No using all of the awesome capabilities advertised about the product without being MARRIED to Serif.
Then, when asked for a refund the answer was NO - I waited more than 7 days to ask for it! 7 Days! Why not just give the taillight guarantee (when you can no longer see my taillights the guarantee is over). Who can review all the products features in 7 days?
They "lie" (in my opinion this is the right word as it is the only word I know that describes not telling a truth) about their capabilities and when caught tell me that I SHOULD PURCHASE the "Smart Object" feature and function FROM SOME ONE ELSE, features that were advertised with no statement about needing to be on-line with Serif to develop and host your developed site. Features I thought I paid for when purchasing their product!
The Serif product is really an awesome product and will be perfect for you IF you want to be married to a development company and have them CONTROL YOU and to CONTROL YOUR DEVELOPMENT by making you be on-line with them in order to develop and host your sites. Why would a company develop such an awesome product and then ruin it by thinking that it is good marketing to CONTROL their customers!
I have bought Serif's Software for many years from web designer software to art packages and believe that for the price that you pay they are reasonable value.
O.K. So you can get your hands on pirate copies but these can have viruses, no documentation or no technical help.
The first thing that I do like is the fact in today's world many companies charge high phone rates to call them, Serif's call's are free Phone: (0800) 376-7070 so if you are on the phone a long time it does not matter.
The second thing is the back up service, I recently bought Web Plus X2 after using front page for 8 years so there is so much more in the program which I will have to learn and one main problem I had, I could not resolve, so I rang Serif (free Call) spoke to Tony (a technical support) he asked me to send the file I was working on and next day sent me the solution. The guy's are friendly, very knowledgeable, and any problem with Serif programs they will help.
Thirdly, as the programs get older Serif tend to sell programs for around £9.99 with free P&P. You do not get the printed manual but you will find the documentation on the DVD/CD for instance Paperport 10 (read write up here on Dooyoo) I only paid £9.99 Free P.P. Very good filing system.
One thing I have found is that they are reluctant to return money (I think they will if you insist but I am happy with the deals I've received in the past) but having said that it can work to your advantage, for instance, if the program you receive does not work as you thought it would or does not work at all and you ring them and tell them you would like to return it, I have found that they will allow you to keep the program and credit you with the money, so when a program does come up then you can send for this but in my case when I changed my computer the old program worked perfectly, which means I had a free program + another.
The programs Serif sells are reminiscent of major software programs so they are very good.
If when you ring Serif to order you should be able to get a good deal but this is up to you.
Serif promised me a 30 day money back guarantee on a bundle of their software, which they nuisance called in order to get me to buy, they refuse to honour this 30 day money back guarantee and then have the gall to offer me yet more software for free, telling me that I would only be offered a credit note for a third of the value anyway. My advice-leave well alone, you'd receive much better customer service on Ebay and pay much less for their software.
I've been a Serif fan since I got hooked on PagePlus and DrawPlus through a magazine ad around 5 years ago. Since then, I've been kept informed by Serif of their latest software, with very wallet-friendly upgrade pricing. I have been using PagePlus pretty extensively since that time, and have also used PhotoPlus. The reviews on this site speak for themselves - the software is top-notch. PagePlus is a fantastically flexible DTP application, which in my opinion easily surpasses everything in it's price range, and is snapping at the heels of top-of-the-range DTP apps. PhotoPlus is a nice image-editing app with stacks of features for budding artists. In addition, Serif offer a wealth of image-tweaking software, and other applications which are ideal for the home user and beyond. Serif have made a fantastic effort to keep me informed about their latest software. Every week-or-so I get an e-mail offering me some software, normally for around a tenner. This ranges from superb upgrade offers on Serif software to totally useless 'coaster-ware' from other publishers. Fortunately the naff offers aren't too common, so I won't hold it against Serif (I'm not forced to buy them, after all). Often they'll offer software weeks before it's released, so it has a nice feeling of exclusivity. And the best offers also come through my letter box in handy-dandy pamphlet form, just to make sure I haven't missed them. Another nice touch is the way that their offers sometimes come in a 'pic 'n' mix' format. You buy the software, and add on clip-art, photos and professional design templates if you want - they don't force it on you in a huge bundle offer (although they'll often do that as an option too). I've never had reason to contact Serif for technical support, but they are very good at releasing patches for their software, normally quicker than I can keep up with them, and generally before I&
#39;ve found the problem they're patching up. Also, the features in each new version of their software are influenced by user's requests, which is a nice touch. Serif's only pitfall is their tendency to sell extra goodies on the telephone ordering system ("Are you sure you don't want a translucent green mouse, sir?, They glow! Why not buy 10? They make excellent mood lighting?" - OK, that's an exaggeration, but I've heard they can be pretty persistent). There are massive savings to be had by ordering direct, so I'd say this is well worth putting up with. It's possible to order over the web and via snail-mail too, so even this isn't a 'proper' problem. I haven't ever had any problems worth grumbling about with Serif, and will happily keep on buying their software. Cheap, but certainly not nasty. Update: Check out http://www.freeserifsoftware.com/ to download previous full versions of serif software. It's totally free and the software is the same as was sold a few years back. They're pretty confident that once you've tried some Serif software you won't want to be without it, which worked for me.