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Apple to disable .Mac website tools in July

MobileMe subscribers using legacy .Mac website tools have been warned by Apple that the .Mac Groups and HomePage features will be discontinued in July, leaving existing pages live but taking away the ability to edit or update them.

The email message, which is partly mirrored on a notification page on Apple's site, tells those customers who transitioned over from .Mac that the HomePage web app will shut down on July 7th and will prevent sites created using the online web editing tool from receiving further updates.

"Any pages you've already published will remain live at their current web address for as long as you like," Apple reassures customers. "[But] if you need to make changes to your existing pages, please do so before July 7."

In its place, customers are asked to instead use MobileMe's photo and video hosting services for simple galleries, and iWeb for creating and posting MobileMe sites. The company in an online FAQ notes that users can migrate content on their iDisks as long as they're active MobileMe users, and sites can still be manually deleted even after the July 7th cutoff.

The .Mac Groups application, intended to allow subscribers to create a shared portal for posting contacts and news for a team or organization, will also be going offline. Both Groups and HomePage were applications built using WebObjects. Their suggested replacements are either the new MobileMe apps built using SproutCore, or the desktop iWeb application.

While making the move in advance, Apple's switchover has already triggered concern by long-time users, many of whom have used HomePage since it was first available through the free iTools service in 2000 or when it was transitioned to .Mac in 2002. The discontinuation won't break links to static content but will force those regularly dependent on Apple's hosting service to migrate if they hope to remain current.

There is no group sharing features in MobileMe equivalent to the former .Mac Groups, but that web-based application did not appear to find much interest. Most of the features in HomePage are eclipsed in iWeb or by the new Gallery app in MobileMe. However, readers have reported some missing features, such as the ability to create multiple websites each with its own password.