Look Out GoLive 5, Macromedia Announces Dreamweaver 4

Fresh on the heels of Adobeis release of GoLive 5, Macromedia has updated their line of Web design tools, including the flagship product Dreamweaver, to version 4. While GoLive was the early leader in the high end HTML editor field, many felt that Dreamweaver surpassed GoLive if not in features, certainly in stability, with Dreamweaver 3. Now Dreamweaver 4 adds a host of new features, including drag-and-drop rollover creation. According to Macromedia:

Macromedia today announced the Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 Fireworks 4 Studio, the complete solution for professional Web site design and production. Comprised of the new Dreamweaver 4 and Fireworks 4 software, the studio unifies code and graphics workflow, giving production artists and designers an integrated development platform that sets a new standard for individual and team productivity.

The Dreamweaver 4 Fireworks 4 Studio is designed for the production staff at the core of Web teams. Production artists simultaneously edit and optimize code and graphics to rapidly produce and edit Web content. These developers are the center of the Web process, as they must integrate the work of other team members such as graphic designers and application builders. The new studio builds on the market-leading extensibility of the Macromedia Dreamweaver Platform (see related release) to create an approachable, integrated, visual Web authoring environment for both emerging and experienced users.

Today, production artists work in two modes: visual layout (to optimize page designs) and hand coding (to integrate HTML and JavaScript). With Dreamweaver 4, developers can now work with either approach in a single document window. Users can choose to work in Code View, Design View or the new Split View, and switch back and forth, while retaining complete access and control over source code. Roundtrip HTML ensures that code remains pure to ensure that it works across browsers, platforms, and emerging devices.

In addition, a new, professional hand-coding environment includes an integrated text editor; a JavaScript debugger; customizable keyboard shortcuts; code navigation; live syntax coloring; and non-HTML document editing to make hand coding more intuitive and approachable than ever. Integrated online code reference from industry-leader OiReilly & Associates lets new users learn the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript and provides experienced users with the ability to look up code examples or track down browser compatibility issues (see related release).

Dreamweaver 4 enables designers to visually develop sophisticated page layouts in an intuitive, approachable environment. The new Layout View allows developers to draw table cells directly on a page and then specify how the layout changes as the page is resized. Users can also easily create editable Macromedia Flash text and buttons directly in Dreamweaver.

The new Fireworks 4 enhances creativity while decreasing production time. The new pop-up menu creator allows users to develop sophisticated navigation with multilevel pop-up menus in a step-by-step visual environment. This feature transforms a task that previously took special knowledge and days to complete into a process that takes only a matter of minutes. Fireworks 4 also features enhanced graphics interactivity with easy to implement live animations, drag and drop rollovers, object masks (both vector and bitmap) and a new batch processing environment.

Integration between the two applications creates a seamless environment for Web content production. Both products adopt the Macromedia User Interface, providing smooth transitions between tasks. Working together, the two applications transparently manage the exchange of graphics, layouts, and code between applications. Macromedia Fireworks 4 offers unprecedented Web workflow integration with all professional Web graphics applications.

Breakdown of new features:

  • Common Macromedia User Interface - Familiar user interface enables designers to work smoothly in any Macromedia Web design application.
  • Pop-Up Menu Creator and Drag-and-Drop Rollovers - Add interactivity without writing code. Visually create and edit pop-up menus, create complex rollovers by simply dragging and dropping from one slice to another, and create interactive buttons in a step-by-step button interface.
  • Masking and Layers Panel Enhancements - Navigate and edit files easily using the new Layers panel, which offers both expanded thumbnails of each layeris objects and advanced masking capabilities.
  • Refined Photoshop Import and Export - Share Photoshop files freely among teams with improved fidelity, better layer mask handling, and a new Color Fill Live Effect.
  • Roundtrip Table Editing with Dreamweaver - Edit and update HTML and JavaScript code and graphics from Dreamweaver while maintaining edits to your table.
  • Code View - Access the new integrated Text Editor, or use the new Split View to see both Code and Design views simultaneously. The Code Viewis new live syntax coloring, tag balancing, and auto indenting make coding a snap.
  • JavaScript Debugger - Watch JavaScript execute in Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer. Debug your code by setting breakpoints and then watching your variables update as you step through the code.
  • Code Reference - Easily get information on JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Browser DOMs.
  • Layout View - The unique new Layout View lets you create clean tables that work in all browsers. Draw directly on a page, drag cells, or group cells to create complex tables easily.
  • Flash Buttons and Flash Text - The new features enable you to create editable vector graphics directly in Dreamweaver?work with Macromedia Flash designers to create new button styles, or download free styles from the Macromedia Exchange.

The Dreamweaver 4 Fireworks 4 Studio will be available for US$449, while both Dreamweaver 4 and Fireworks 4 alone will each be available for US$299. Registered users of previous versions of Dreamweaver or Fireworks may upgrade for US$199. You can find more information at the Macromedia web site.