Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 … soon
Just received an email notice from Macromedia regarding the upcoming release of Dreamweaver 8. The Interactive Feature Tour (warning: it talks) shows a number of interesting new features: a zoom feature, and Accessibility support among them.
The other good news, so far as I could tell from the Tour, is that the user interface remains was recognizable. Nothing like getting a new version of a program, only to find that everything has been moved.
For coders, more HomeSite features have been included; one of my favorites is the ability to select a bunch of text and "collapse" it, leaving a visual "tab" in its place. The text/code is still there, just collapsed out of view so that you can see the rest. From what I could tell, there are other HomeSite features as well.
Another neat new feature is the ability to view site layout — table structures, etc., a la the Firefox Web Developer's Toolbar. Good feature; all that dragging and dropping (or hand-coding) can leave actual layout structure a little off. Seeing the visual structure is helpful for the occasional "where did my divs go wrong" moments.
I also like the ability to drop a Flash file into a page and have DW8 detect size (and other things). A nice time-saver. No "how big is this thing supposed to be?" calls or emails to the Flash designer.
I want it.
The System Requirements are simply a PIII with 250MB of RAM. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd find doing much development work beyond typing text quite difficult at 250MB RAM. Typically, one wants to have a number of programs open and functioning well at once: a text editor (for scripts), Dreamweaver (if you use it), Photoshop or other image editor, browser(s) and an email program at a minimum. I don't see that as a happy experience without at least a Gig of RAM, but that's me.
Okay. The Adobe site still says that Adobe is acquiring Macromedia; last I heard, it was to be next month-ish. Given that, and given that Adobe has its own set of programs which it seems to have been integrating so that they'll work together, I'm uncertain as to what will happen to Dreamweaver once Macromedia is acquired. One could assume that Adobe wouldn't do anything as foolish as to drop or devalue a world-class industry standard program such as Dreamweaver, but such has happened in the past. Remember the world-class industry standard word processor WordPerfect before Corel bought it? So, while I don't like to be a gloom-and-doom meister (though I've seen some get pretty worked up over the idea of a devalued or discontinued Dreamweaver), neither can I claim to be absolutely confident that Dreamweaver will be both continued and supported by Adobe as it has been by Macromedia … and Macromedia, at the very least, is responsive to designers and developers. They innovate, they listen, they implement. That's why we buy.
A side note: a print friend explained to me that a particular version of Quark was so difficult to use that, when a new version was released, users weren't buying it. Seems they didn't want to go to the same hassle; better to stick with the old but known than go through all that again.
And so, while my normal method of operation is to wait to see what problems/bugs/issues a new piece of software may have before buying it, I'm thinking I'll be buying Dreamweaver 8 as soon as it's available.
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