Test Driving Dreamweaver CS4 Beta Betas are always a joy. They give you the opportunity to review new and upcoming products prior to actual release. You get the opportunity to see what new features are available and help work out bugs in programs to ensure proper functioning when they are actually released. We took the opportunity to try out the new Adobe betas released by Adobe Labs last week -- starting with Dreamweaver CS4. Adobe is known to be a leader in everything design especially since their not so recent take over of Macromedia and the absorption of programs like Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Since then Adobe has been cutting a path to the promised land of design, development and media. If you thought the CS3 releases of their program suites were great, wait until you see what Adobe Labs has been working on. The CS4 Beta's are here.

Dreamweaver’s New Features: A Detailed Look

Let’s take a look at the new features being advertised for the new Dreamweaver CS4 Beta. Live View The live view may be the most outstanding of the new features. No longer do you have to open a browser to see a live view of the site you are working on. You can do it straight from Dreamweaver. And not only that, you can still select areas and have the code highlighted the same as if you were looking at the code/design view. Score: 9/10 live_view.jpg
Live View

Related Files A bar at the top of your document that shows all files related to that page. This is a great feature, especially if you are working on a very large site with a lot of script files and dynamic files that the site is pulling from. It shows you all related files including JS and other script language files that relate directly to the page you are working on. An example would be if you were using JS Lightbox on a page. The bar at the top will show you the JS files so you can access them without having to sift through large amounts of files and folders. Score: 8/10 related_files.jpg
Related Files Bar

Code Navigator A pop-up that shows you all the code sources that affect your selection. The code navigator takes the idea of related files a step further and gives you a pop-up that shows you all the code sources that are affecting your current selection…not just the page you are looking at. Score: 8/10 code_nav.jpg
Code Navigator Pop-up

CSS Best Practices A new CSS tool that gives tool tips in plain English explanations of CSS principles. An outstanding tool added for those of us who find CSS to be akin to Greek and Latin. If you struggle with writing CSS from scratch this a addition you will love. Score: 8/10 Code hinting for Ajax and JavaScript frameworks Built in hints for JavaScript and Ajax. This is great if you are a writer of Ajax and JavaScript. For most of us this addition will mean little but for the hard core coder or the coder just starting out it is a nice addition. Score: 7/10 Photoshop Smart Objects New Photoshop integration with drag and drop smart objects. During several attempts to drag and drop objects from Photoshop into Dreamweaver both to replace an existing image and to fill a newly created table resulted in Dreamweaver freezing up. Score: 1/10 New user interface A new and improved interface. The new interface is amazing. There are multiple preset workspaces to choose from based on whether you are a low level coder, coder supreme, designer, and more. And with the movement of some of the tool bars into more efficient, movable, collapsible modules the overall workspace is larger and less cluttered. Score: 9/10 designer_view.jpg
Designer View

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Coder View

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Coder Plus View

All in all the new features of the Dreamweaver CS4 Beta seem to do what they claim and few bugs were noticed. The program did have difficulty recognizing a favicon and allowing it to be checked out with the check out/in procedure enabled on the site. It seems that Adobe and Adobe Labs are on the move to create an even more integrated piece of software that facilitates and simplifies work for a huge number around the world. This simply solidifies Adobe’s commitment to be the one stop software solution for design and development of all media.