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New Features in Adobe Dreamweaver CS3

Aug 15, 2008
Many software upgrades offer poor value for money and many have bugs. However, there are some upgrades which always worth having. Adobe Dreamweaver upgrades tend to be of this type.

Dreamweaver is used in web-development and, because the web is constantly evolving, each new Dreamweaver release usually offers features which reflect the rapidly changing environment in which the program is used. Adobe recently acquired Macromedia, the company who created Dreamweaver. So what have Adobe come up with in this their first upgrade since inheriting everybody's favourite web development tool?

Dreamweaver is now part of Adobe's Creative Suites, so part of the upgrade will simply be cosmetic, but what else have Adobe come up with in their first upgrade of this industry-standard web development tool.

Manipulation of CSS code has also been made easier with the addition of features for reorganising styles and transferring them between style sheets. Users can now automatically transfer an inline CSS style to a style sheet or convert an embedded style sheet into an external one.

The new browser compatibility feature in Dreamweaver CS3 allows users to check for issues within their pages relating to specific browsers (IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Netscape). It creates a report explaining problems which may occur when CSS on your pages is rendered in a particular browser.

Dreamweaver has long had great features for integrating content with Fireworks. This new version extends a similar level of integration with the more widely-used Adobe Photoshop. Documents, slices or selections can be copied from Photoshop and pasted straight into Dreamweaver. An Image Preview window then appears in which compression and optimisation settings may be specified before the image is saved.

The fact that Dreamweaver and Photoshop are now both Adobe products is reflected a new level of compatibility between the two programs. It is now possible to make a selection in Photoshop, or to select a slice, copy it, switch to Dreamweaver and paste. The selection will automatically be converted into a web image and a new window will appear offering you a series of options for optimising the image. Dreamweaver CS3 also embraces the new Ajax technology. Ajax is a programming model which allows developers to create extremely interactive pages which are constantly refreshed with content loaded from a server but without reloading the page. Dreamweaver's version of Ajax is through the Spry framework. This is a collection of JavaScript routines which can be inserted on the page and automatically generate all the necessary code.

Dreamweaver CS2 has several different kinds of widgets. For example, there are menus and submenus which allow developers to design complex navigation systems which would otherwise take days to code. Then there are form validation widgets which check the content entered by a user into form fields. There is also a widget for creating a tabbed interface which displays different content in the same place depending on which tab the user clicks on.

Spry effects work on most HTML elements. In response to user actions, they will do things like fading, zooming or shrinking an element. The kind of stuff traditionally done using Flash.

Spry data sets will bring in data from an external XML data source and display it on the page. Data sets offer a drill-down facility whereby users can click on information already displayed to bring up more detailed information on that particular item somewhere else on the page.

Dreamweaver CS3 is the first Dreamweaver version to run on Intel-based based Macs as well as PowerPCs. There are also versions for Window XP and Window Vista.
About the Author
The The writer of this article is a trainer and developer with Macresource Computer Solutions, an independent computer training company offering Adobe Dreamweaver Classes at their central London training centre.
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