Adobe Dreamweaver software is the ideal tool for web designers, coders, and application developers of all levels. Enhanced coding functions make it a breeze to navigate through complex site pages at design time. Improved layout tools bring expedited workflows, from comp conception to client approval. Innovations throughout the Dreamweaver beta can help teams and individual developers alike reach the next level in performance and functionality.
Introducing Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 beta
Products: Dreamweaver Stiletto
We've come a long way.
CSS, by contrast, has flourished for the last 10 years, and Dreamweaver has concentrated heavily on standards-based design over the last few releases. And although Dreamweaver has established itself as the marketleader among visual editors, there's also been a significant focus on strengthening the code-centric tools that today's web designers and developers require. But 10 years is a long time, and both industries and workflows can change quickly.
I'm pleased to introduce you to the results of our efforts:
Dreamweaver CS4 beta, code-named Stiletto
Figure 1. Meet Dreamweaver CS4 beta.
New look, new feelWhen launching the Dreamweaver CS4 beta, the first thing you'll notice is that it now features a user interface that fits in smoothly with the rest of its colleagues in the Creative Suite. One of the highlights of the new interface is the workspace configurator, allowing you to easily choose the right workspace for the tasks you're currently working on (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. Choose the workspace that matches your tasks—or create your own.
We've taken a stab at some of the most common workspaces, but feel free to create your own custom workspaces as well, including the new compact mode for your panels, which lets you save precious monitor space for your documents—collapse your panels over onto the right side of the screen and fly them out when needed (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. Revamped collapsible panels give you more real estate to work with.
Figure 4. Live Preview enables you to interact with your pages.
Figure 5. The Related Files bar shows you the various files that are part of your finished page.
The new Code Navigator allows you to easily jump to any of your related files (including the specific rules within) that combine to create the final, rendered display of your selected element. If you've ever beat your head against the wall looking through multiple style sheets to find that one, specific rule you're looking for, it's just a contextual menu-click away in Stiletto. You can hover over each of the rules in the Code Navigator window to see which properties are being defined by it, and then just click to jump to that file and specific line number to edit it quickly and easily. Again, you can do this without losing the visual context that's so important to effectively design interactive experiences.
Designer/Developer workflowIn Dreamweaver CS3 we gave you the ability to paste a selection from your Photoshop documents directly into Dreamweaver, but in Stiletto we've taken it one step further with Photoshop Smart Objects. You can now drag a PSD document directly into your web pages, and maintain a live link between the original PSD and the web-optimized image in Dreamweaver. Resize the image in Dreamweaver and the image is reoptimized for you quickly and cleanly. Change the image in Photoshop and Dreamweaver will let you quickly resynchronize the web-optimized version. With Stiletto you can move seamlessly between image editing and site development.
Working with Flash or Flex SWF files in your projects? The newly updated Insert Flash feature of Dreamweaver CS4 beta now uses the popular open source SWFObject 2.0 codebase for embedding SWF-based content. This allows you to visually preview your SWF file in context using Live Preview, and even design the static, no-Flash alternative HTML/CSS content right in Design view, as well. Get complete control over your hybrid HTML/Flash projects and every aspect of their visual characteristics.
Many Dreamweaver-based designers are either working with larger development teams or, as individual developers, learning the benefits of maintaining their projects in version control systems, most commonly the open-source solution Subversion. Stiletto lets you connect to any existing SVN repository and manage your files directly through Subversion, enabling a smoother designer/developer workflow and much more robust file management overall.
Figure 6. Code hinting has been expanded for Dreamweaver CS4 beta.
And so much more ...Any quick overview article like this can’t really convey the immense changes we’ve added in Dreamweaver CS4 beta. What you really ought to be doing right now is download the public beta and try out Stiletto for yourself. To help with the learning curve, we shot six quick video demos of the key new features in Stiletto with our engineering team, and you can access them from the Stiletto Welcome screen to make your transition a smooth one. You can also watch them directly on Adobe TV. Be sure to read the release notes for late-breaking news on the public beta, and by all means let us know what you think in the Dreamweaver CS4 beta forums.
And remember, this is beta software—expect some rough edges and bugs, while knowing we're hard at work eliminating them. Also, many third-party extensions (including the Adobe Dreamweaver Developer Toolkit) do not yet support the beta version of Dreamweaver CS4, so we recommend keeping your copy of Dreamweaver CS3 around as a backup.
This is probably one of our largest and most ambitious releases in a while, and we hope you enjoy this public beta release as a preview of what's in store for the next version of Dreamweaver. Get ready for a new experience when designing and building web sites and applications.
About the authorScott Fegette is the Technical Product Manager for Dreamweaver at Adobe - focusing on web standards, community outreach and developer relations. Alongside speaking across the globe on web development and design, video production and online communities, Scott's also a professional musician and independent photographer in his off-hours.
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