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Dreamweaver CS5 Review

WEB STANDARD SETS NEW STANDARDS

Are you ready for Dreamweaver CS5? I hope so because the latest release of Adobe’s flagship Web design titan packs a punch and is sure to increase your layout and troubleshooting productivity with a handful of helpful new features and commands. In this review, we’ll take a look at the best new features Dreamweaver CS5 has to offer.

Aside from a spiffy new 3-dimensional icon, probably the most recognizable new feature upon launching Dreamweaver CS5 is the Browser Navigation toolbar. This new toolbar sits at the top of the Dreamweaver interface, just below the Document toolbar (the Document toolbar contains the Code, Split, and Design View buttons, as well as a few other familiar buttons and menus). The Browser Navigation toolbar can be toggled on and off by choosing View>Toolbars>Browser Navigation, and functions in a similar way to a browser’s Address Bar and Navigation tools. It contains the standard Forward, Backward, Refresh, and Home buttons, as well as an Address field that are all common to Web browsers.

So what are browser components doing in Dreamweaver? Simple—and this is where the increase in productivity comes in—it all ties into yet another new feature in CS5: the ability to follow links directly in Live View. Let’s say you’re laying out a page, and want to check your links. Go into Live View mode, click on a link, and what you’ll find is Dreamweaver behaves as it always has; it selects the object that the link is applied to—be it text, a graphic, and so on—making it ready for editing either in Code view or in the Properties Inspector. Here’s the fancy new part: Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) on that same link, and the link destination opens in the Dreamweaver Live View, simple as that. This not only makes testing links a breeze, but also think of the possibilities when working between multiple pages in your site. It even links to external sites open in Live View.

Now, remember the Browser Navigation toolbar I mentioned above? This is where it comes in. Do you want to go back to the page you were just on? Click the Back arrow, just as you’d do in Firefox, Chrome, or whatever your browser of choice is. You can move forward, navigate between files, and so on. Easy navigation is now available in Live View!

If you’re finding that Command-clicking (PC: Ctrl-clicking) is too much of a drag each time you want to follow links, you’ll find a set of handy options in the Live View Options drop-down menu: Follow Link and Follow Links Continuously.

A few items in the Document toolbar have been shuffled around, although all the familiar commands are still available. There’s also a new Inspect button. Clicking the Inspect button takes you to Live View and the new Inspect mode simultaneously. As a matter of fact, Dreamweaver switches over its entire workspace—the CSS Styles panel switches to Current mode; Split Code or Live View is enabled; and Live Code is enabled as well. This new feature, along with the workspace rearrangement, makes diagnosing CSS-related problems much easier.

There’s another new feature in Dreamweaver CS5 that has me very excited: the ability to author and edit content running on a PHP-based platform, such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal. I’ll have to experiment with this feature more on my own, but it appears to work quite seamlessly along with the Browser Navigation toolbar. Further, Dreamweaver offers the ability to literally “turn off” PHP, JavaScript, and even CSS content that’s running dynamically on the server. So if you’re running a CMS (Content Management System) like Drupal or WordPress, this will definitely be of interest. I can’t wait to dig deeper into it.

Here’s another new feature I can’t wait to mess with more and really put through the ringer: the ability to insert native Illustrator files. You read that right! If you remember, one of the new features in Dreamweaver CS4 was the option to insert a native Photoshop file as a smart object. Seems like Illustrator is now getting the same treatment here in CS5, which is awesome.

There are a handful of other new features that I’d like to mention briefly. First, Dreamweaver CS5 offers the ability to enable and disable CSS link formatting in your layouts, which is wonderful for stripping out formatting and viewing RAW content. Simply heading to View>Style Rendering reveals a new CSS-related list of options to either enable or disable, depending on your current view. The list includes Link, Visited, Hover, Active, and Focus Styles—a nice touch.

Second, a new panel called Business Catalyst is found in CS5. Once the Business Catalyst extension is installed, users can connect to their accounts on Adobe Business Catalyst (www.businesscatalyst.com). Business Catalyst makes building e-commerce and online businesses easier than ever before.

And while there are still more new features and enhancements on existing commands, that about covers the highlights. A few of those, especially the CMS integration and the new Illustrator smart objects, really have me champing at the bit. Enjoy CS5, and I’ll see you on the Web!—Geoff Blake

Company: Adobe Systems Incorporated
Price: $399 (Upgrade: $199)
Web: www.adobe.com
Rating: 4.5

Hot: Ability to edit CMS content; CSS inspect and enable/disable
Not: May be tricky to get CMS set up correctly; would love ability to disable entire rules and enable/disable site-wide

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  1. K daniel (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    Informative review. Thanks for breaking it down into digestible pieces Geoff! But like others have said, I can’t rid myself of the feeling that some of these features should have been in CS4 (may be if I was some sort of software engineer I’d feel differently, maybe we’ve come to expect too much from Adobe?).

  2. Adam Docherty (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    I am loving Dreamweaver CS5, I just finished writing a quick tutorial to set it up with Joomla CMS you can see here: http://joomlagardens.com/tutorials/joomla-dreamweaver-cs5-development

    I really think DW CS5 is moving in a good direction – the only thing is that I think they need to optimise things as it makes my computer lag a bit, also SVN seems completely unusable (I have posted a bug report about this).

    Thanks for the review Geoff!

  3. Pariuri Sportive (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    I just payed for an upgrade for Dreamweaver CS5 and I have to say that there is almost nothing new comparing to CS4.

  4. arjun rajiv (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    Didnt try!!! what ever it is Dreamweaver is the best

  5. Paul (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    Is it possible to disable CSS altogether? I want to design without using CSS.

  6. Dayanand (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    This tutorial is nice to the learner. After reading reader can update coding and declaration of cs5 is good

    Web Designing Company

  7. Chuckles (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    I always tell myself every time Adobe releases a new version that I will hold off purchasing until the next release – but as usual I end up buying it because they usually have some pretty cool new stuff.

  8. Skeddy (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    ?? ???? ????????? ????????.. ?? 100% ????? ???! ?????????? ??????!

  9. mobil bekas (Reply) on Friday April 23, 2010

    i used dreamwever version 4, i’m not really sure to upgrade because of the laptop version

    mobil bekas



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