Artisteer is a desktop program you can use to easily create templates for software such as Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress. I've known of the software for a few years now, but have never used it. Today, I've decided to test out the software, and this article is a brief summary of my experience.

Heads up! The opinions in this review are based upon the 15 minutes I took to test out the software. The purpose of this article is to find out how easy and intuitive the software is out of the box, not to provide an in depth tutorial on use or operations.

Download & Install Artisteer

The first thing you'll need to do is download a copy of the Artisteer trial. Like most users on the web, I scan content on pages rather than reading the entire thing. I tell you this because I didn't read everything on the download page. I missed the fact that the trial version cannot be used for creating a Joomla 3 template, as it says:

When in trial mode Artisteer does not support saving your web design project, but you can still create and export your web design as HTML, theme, template or skin.
NOTE: Starting with Artisteer 4.2 it is not possible, to export Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal themes in trial mode.

The installation process was very easy - it's just like installing any other program on your desktop.

Using Artisteer

Artisteer 4.2 supports Joomla 3.2

When you open the trial version of Artisteer, you'll see the following message:

Artisteer 4.2 and Joomla 3.2 support now available!
Please visit our news page for more Information: http://www.artisteer.com/?p=news

Creating a Template

In the screenshot below, Artisteer is on the left and Microsoft Paint is to the right. Both seem to have a similar look and feel - such as the way the tools are laid out and organized in the top menu of the software. If you look at the two icons in your Windows taskbar, the icons look very similar as well.

I didn't invest any time in learning the software, and this is not meant to be a tutorial on how to use Artisteer either. I just wanted to choose a provided template example, export it as a Joomla 3 template, and install the template in Joomla 3.

Exporting a template

The steps for exporting a template are quite easy. All you need to do is go to File >> Export >> Joomla Template.

While the popup message said Joomla 3.2 was supported, Joomla 3.2 is not an option when choosing which version of Joomla to export the template as. Joomla 3.1 is listed, so that should be just fine.

I didn't know this at the time, but the trial version of Artisteer won't actually export and create a Joomla template for you. When you try to export the template you'll the following message:

Unable to export project.
Reason: Templates cannot be exported in trial mode.
Please visit www.artisteer.com for sample templates or to purchase Artisteer license.
Error code: 303-0.

Sample Template

Because I wasn't able to export my template, I browsed through their Sample templates and downloaded this template.

After installing their PrimeXc template, I noticed right away it looked nothing like their preview. Below, in the following order, you will find screenshots of their template preview, our demo site after installing the template, and our demo site before installing the template.

I know it's just a sample template, but I was disappointed that it looked pretty boring. Their preview of the template had a nice header image, and the content of the page was a nice three column layout. When I installed the sample, It feels like I only got the background image and some basic styling, and I also lost the sidebar modules I previously had.

Overview

I did not spend a lot of time using the software, but overall I wasn't impressed with the trial version of Artisteer 4. The software is used to create templates, but because you can't actually export and test anything you create, the limited trial makes it difficult to actually evaluate the software.

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