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Whats new in Adobe Dreamweaver CS3

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?

Since the release of Dreamweaver 8, way back in 2005, the use of cascading style sheets (CSS) in web page layout has become widely recognised as the way forward. However, CSS page layout coding can be a little daunting for new web designers. Dreamweaver CS3 includes a wide range of customisable CSS layouts which include useful comments for inexperienced developers explaining how the designs function. The layouts may be used not only to create individual pages but also Dreamweaver


Dreamweaver CS4

templates.

Dreamweaver CS3 has useful new features for transferring CSS code from one location to another. You can move an internal CSS definition from inside an individual page to an external style sheet. It is also possible to take inline CSS (located next to the item it described) and transfer to an external style sheet.

Dreamweaver CS3’s browser compatibility check allows developers to target specific versions of all the major browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, Safari) and generate a report detailing CSS-related issues with elements on the current page.

The new version of Dreamweaver now contains a great utility called the browser compatibility check. This lets you choose a particular browser, such as Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Safari or Netscape, and comes up with a detailed report of any issues with the display of your CSS in the specified browser.

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’ Spry content is divided into three categories called widgets, special effects and data sets. The widgets offer several different interface elements such as tabbed panels which allow designers to display content in a given part of the page which changes when the user clicks a particular tab. Other widgets include form validation utilities which check data entered into elements on a form and menus and sub-menus for navigation.

Spry effects can be applied to wide range of HTML components and include the ability to fade, highlight, zoom and shrink page elements in response to user interaction.

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 also the first version of the program to offer compatibility with Intel-based and PowerPC Macintosh systems. It also runs on Windows XP and Windows Vista systems.

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The author is a trainer and developer with Macresource Computer Solutions, a UK IT training company offering Adobe Dreamweaver Classes at their central London training centre.

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