The graphics editing capabilities of the application haven't changed
substantially with this release (if it ain't broke, don't fix it!), but
some ease-of-use improvements have been made that are worth mentioning.
Dreamweaver has always been excellent at handling images, and much of
that excellence arises from the drag-and-drop nature of the program. The
new Asset window is helpful in the this latest version because you can
browse through your library of images, select the one you want, then drag
it onto the page wherever you'd like. Once the image is there, you can use
Dreamweaver's familiar set of graphics tools to resize the picture, change
its attributes, add hotspots that provide clickable links within an image
map, and even add your alt tags.
And, just like in previous versions of Dreamweaver, you can select a
default external graphics editor for your images. Once you tell Dreamweaver
which program you like to use, just right-click (or ctrl-click on a Mac) on
the image and select "Edit with..." from the menu. Your graphics editor,
such as Photoshop, Image Ready, or Fireworks, will launch automatically.
There is one added feature to this process in Dreamweaver 4. If you have
the lastest edition of Macromedia's Fireworks installed on your computer,
you can take advantage of Dreamweaver's "round-trip" graphics editing
Let's say you've used Fireworks to design a snappy clickable image map
that you want to add to your site. Once you've dropped the image map onto
your page (along with the map's HTML code), you can launch Fireworks and
edit the map at any time. Any changes that you made to either the image its
HTML code will be reflected instantly both in Dreamweaver and in your
Fireworks source files when you save your changes. Macromedia calls this
"round-trip" editing because your changes show up without you having to
refresh the page or reload your graphics files. Also, any changes to your
image or its code that you've made in Dreamweaver will be recognized by
Fireworks when you launch and edit your image. You can even use Fireworks
to optimize your graphics and have the changes instantly be reflected in
Dreamweaver's design view.
Of course, the main setback of this feature is that it can only be used
with Fireworks. If you use Adobe Image Ready for every graphic on your
site, the feature won't do you much good. Furthermore, these features are
designed to be used with Fireworks 4, which was released at the same time
as Dreamweaver 4. So, if you didn't upgrade your copy of Fireworks, your
launch-and-edit capabilities will be limited.
Now, in our last-but-not-least category, let's take a look at
Dreamweaver 4's site management capabilities.