What's Missing from Dreamweaver?
While there are hundreds of different things you can do with Adobe Dreamweaver, there are still some things that are missing from this program. Some have been missing a long time. If you have to have these features, then Dreamweaver is not the program for you. You should also check out the Differences Between Dreameweaver CS5 and Dreamweaver CS4 to see what else has changed.
Dreamweaver Has Never Had...
External Link Checking
This is my biggest pet peeve of Dreamweaver, that their link checker only checks links that are to pages on your site. In other words, if you link to external pages, those links don't get checked. You can generate a report of all your external links, but if you want to know if they're broken you have to check them all by hand.
If you want to check external links on your pages, you need to use an online link checker or get a separate link checker application like Xenu's Link Sleuth or one of these link checkers recommended by About.com readers.
If Adobe could add one thing to Dreamweaver to make it perfect, it would be a link checker that actually checks all the links on your site.
Search engine optimization is so important to most website owners these days that I even offer a free SEO class on my site to help designers get better at it. And many other Web editors are including tools to help optimize your pages for search. But Dreamweaver still doesn't have it.
Weblogs are becoming more and more popular on websites. And while it's most common to use a blogging tool like WordPress, many Web editors are including blog editing features. But not Dreamweaver. If you need to edit a blog, you need to use Contribute or get some other tool. They don't even have a sample blog layout.
Dreamweaver is a great tool for someone who wants to build an ecommerce site from scratch. It has tools to help you manage and connect to a database, Spry data objects and more. But if you want to just drag-and-drop a turnkey ecommerce solution into Dreamweaver you'll need to look for an extension. My favorite is by the folks who make Web Assist - their eCart solution makes it easy to add shopping carts in Dreamweaver.
Removed from Dreamweaver CS5
Now, when you try to validate your HTML in the “validation” tab, you’ll be taken to the validation settings, but if you don’t have an external validator attached to Dreamweaver that is all it will do. This is a huge drawback, as you can no longer easily check to make sure that your web pages are valid before you upload them. And valid HTML is more likely to work reliably cross-browser. Your only option is to validate your documents as XML (XHTML). The argument given is that because the validator was inaccurate they decided to remove it. But as the tab is still there, and Dreamweaver does validate XML and ColdFusion documents, this is more frustrating than anything else.
Previous versions of Dreamweaver would check your site for accessibility issues so that you would know if your site might cause problems for people with assistive devices. This was quietly removed from Dreamweaver CS5 without much notice. In fact, all the Adobe site says is:
The Dreamweaver accessibility validation report feature has been deprecated as of Dreamweaver CS5.
If you use Dreamweaver CS5 and need to validate for accessibility, you'll need to use an online accessibility validator, see if you can find an extension that does the checking for you, or use some other tool.
Previous versions of Dreamweaver had a handy tool to help you take a directory full of images and turn it into a photo album with just a few clicks. I have used this tool for several sites of my own, and was disappointed to find it gone from Dreamweaver CS5.