Thanks, missed this when you first posted. looks like a decent app. :)
I think it might be a fair, if somewhat limited alternative to CorelDraw, giving you design/graphics capabilities you won't easily find elsewhere, at least in a package that's as easy to learn & use. If you're graphically inclined at all, if you haven't tried using a vector graphics app like this I strongly suggest it. Vector graphics are instructions for your PC/laptop on how to draw something, as opposed to a raster image like a .jpg file which is the result once drawn. It's how/why a font can look sharp at 5 points or 50. The downside is that for more than simple shapes vector graphics can get very involved -- some people take to it, some don't [it's like 3D modeling in that respect] -- but don't let that turn you off vector graphics entirely... treating everything more-or-less as objects, apps like Xara &/or CorelDraw can be great for layout, & you can import whatever raster images. One of the neat things about CorelDraw for example is you can use any shape as a lens -- think of making a cutout, maybe in the form of a star, to a piece of paper that you hold over a photo, & any portion of the photo can show through as you move that piece of paper.
This is an older version of Xara -- I've downloaded v.7 but not tested yet -- & with the free v. 5 I think there are 2 possible advantages to Corel, 1 being obviously the price, but the 2nd being Corel has had installation & compatibility issues for quite some time now. That said, version 7 will have to include some decent improvements over this free version to be a better value than the CorelDraw Home/Student Suite which is comparatively priced -- the Home/Student version is basically the full package minus some commercial printing features. As far as Corel *issues* go...
I've been using CorelDraw almost since the beginning, back in the 1st 1/2 of the 90s. Corel had a Very nice stable of apps, but fell on harder times under questionable leadership, & wound up selling off a lot of apps they'd bought the rights too [Corel once sold a neat, easy to use game development app, a few 3D apps like Poser, a full DTP app etc.]. They also had a harder time adapting when Vista came out -- they actually tried to do things right the way Microsoft said to do them, and wound up with a huge mess... many of their apps wouldn't install properly with UAC off, when of course many, many people turned UAC off very first thing. Long story short Corel today is a shadow of its former self. Any & all of their apps I've tried over the last 3-5 years have compatibility & installation problems, to the point that I try my best not to upgrade unless I have to, which is alas made easier because they've cut back the number of new features whenever they've released a new version. It's gotten to the point that I don't generally recommend Corel for anything to anyone anymore -- I can't recall installing one of their apps without problems in one or more of my Windows installs since Vista was in beta, & I'm not talking minor glitches. [When it was dirt cheap -- I paid $13 -- I thought Paintshop Photo Pro X3 worth the risk as long as you were forewarned.] I bought their Paintshop Photo Pro X3 many months (a year?) ago, I still can't get more than 1/2 of it installed in XP Pro, & in win7 I still get its installation dialog popping up when I go to open certain formats of video files. I can't get CorelDraw X5 to print to my Epson printer without a color cast -- Paintshop Photo Pro at least gets that right.
But even given all that I'd buy the CorelDraw suite again if I didn't already have it. The CorelDraw vector graphics app is very cool, & if you're into graphics &/or layout design you can do things with it you can't in a regular image editor. It's cheaper & easier to use than the Adobe competition, Illustrator, & much more evolved than the free, open source Inkscape. Corel Photopaint is somewhat unique in its approach to layers -- it uses floating objects that you can convert to selections & vice versa in a way that can be faster/easier than dealing with layer transparency, masks etc. in something like PhotoShop, but still achieves the same results. It has decent enough pen/tablet support, I really like their brush on masks much better than PhotoShop's, & I just really like it compared to all the other images editing apps I've used over the years. But it takes some time to learn & maybe that's why it was never hugely popular when Corel tried selling it on its own?
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer seems like a nice, if limited version of those 2 apps, CorelDraw & Corel Photopaint. If I'm a bit shy in praising Xara's web design capabilities, it's because I think some people get into trouble using tools like that to create their web site, then later run into problems when they start to get more serious about web design, finding that they need to use another app or set of apps, finding themselves back at square one all over again... You do a graphic or image, you do a video, when you're done you're done, but when you do a web site you're talking about an evolving entity you're never done with until you take it down. That doesn't mean you can't use Xara for web design, but I think you should maybe only use it as part of your design & implementation process if you use it at all.
I was worried initially about Xara 5's setup, as it added things like the WMV9VCM from 2003 -- that's why when I installed it outside a VM I chose my win8 install, because I know that's going to be short-lived as newer versions are released. I'm very slow right now -- even slower as I try to get over the Flu -- but sooner or later I'll have some info on the v.7 trial. I've got mixed feelings/experiences with Magix, so I'm maybe a little extra cautious, but thinking a year or so out I may want to go with Xara rather than Corel in win8, so I'm looking at it from that perspective.