The Bottom Line
- Built-in HTML and CSS editors and validators as well as WYSIWYG
- In context CSS editing lets you see all the CSS styles that affect any area of a page
- Modify the display to fit your working style, with just the elements you need showing
- Includes Spry framework, Subversion integration, and even support to build Adobe AIR files
- Live view lets you check your dynamic and data driven elements right inside Dreamweaver
- Still only checks links on the same site - doesn't validate external links
- Very complicated, can be intimidating to novices
- HTML and CSS editors work in the background to create designs in WYSIWYG mode, or directly in code view; all with valid code.
- Text editor with color coding for HTML, PHP, ASP and many other languages, plus tag completion.
- The site manager includes global search and replace across all site files as well as file transfer by many methods.
- Direct connections to Photoshop and Fireworks and the ability to do basic graphic edits right inside Dreamweaver.
- Wizards for many of the more complex actions including CSS, forms, frames, and tables.
- Lots of pre-built templates and snippets of code for use. Plus the CSS templates are really well done.
- Dreamweaver CS4 includes the ability to use HTML as a data source for Spry frameworks.
- Support for special characters and UTF-8 character sets to write effective non-English Web pages.
- Huge library of customizations available on the Exchange.
- There's even a photo gallery maker.
Guide Review - Adobe Dreamweaver CS4
Dreamweaver CS4 is still the editor of choice for freelancers and corporate Web designers alike, and this release just makes it more useful. As with CS3, Dreamweaver CS4 has strong integration with Flash, Photoshop, and Fireworks. But now there are some new elements as well:
- Photoshop smart objects
These act just like images inside of Dreamweaver, but they are generated from the Photoshop original PSD. So any time you edit it in Photoshop, you can get it updated in Dreamweaver. And if you resize the image in Dreamweaver, you can get an optimized version for that size from the original.
- Subversion integration
If you work on a team, you will want the ability to check-in and check-out files and have the strong version control that Subversion offers. And Dreamweaver CS4 integrates directly with Subversion.
- Extended Spry framework support
If you weren't sure how to use the Spry framework in CS3, now you'll really like it in CS4. Now you can use existing HTML pages as your data sets and the framework even comes with some of the more popular uses pre-built for you.
- Author Adobe AIR applications
Dreamweaver CS4 now supports writing Adobe AIR stand-alone applications that run on the desktop.
ï»¿Dreamweaver squeaked out the top spot in my best editors, beating Microsoft Expression Web by just a few points. The most significant differences between the two were that Dreamweaver has the ability to do minor image editing (resize, crop, etc) right in the editor and it comes with a CSS validator. These two products have very comparable feature sets, but Dreamweaver still maintains a lead in the professional market.
Reviewed: 22 September 2008