Dreamweaver 4 Overview

Introduction to Dreamweaver 4

1  Dreamweaver 4 Overview
2 The Interface: Same, but Different
3 Handling Code
4 How Buggy Are Your Scripts?
5 Inserting Flash Objects in a Flash
6 Handling Images
7 Site Management: All Together Now
8  Hits and Misses
Home Tired and Want to go HOME

Dreamweaver 4 Overview

Page 8 — Hits and Misses

After dissecting this program from end-to-end, I have no problem recommending Dreamweaver 4 as the main tool in your battery of feature-rich Web development applications. I wouldn't say, however, that it should be the only tool you use.

If you're a diehard hand-coder like me, you'll still need a text editor that can live up to your agonizingly high standards. Of course, you will also need a good image handling program, and you won't be able to integrate anything other than Fireworks 4 (which, incidentally, is still sold separately, which means forking over additional dough). Fireworks is great and all, but Photoshop, the granddaddy of imaging apps, has a staggering array of features that few Web designers can live without.

For site management, ease of use and more-than-good-enough-to-get-you-there code features, however, Dreamweaver 4 is the top dog by a longshot.

In conclusion, here's a list of the good points about the latest Dreamweaver release that you can print out, laminate and hang in your shower:

  • All-around cozy user interface is the best in the field.
  • Page layouts, especially tables, are easy to manipulate and use.
  • The searchable O'Reilly code reference library is extensive and convenient.
  • The new Code View window features are numerous and useful.
  • JavaScript debugger eliminates the need for a third-party debugging app.
  • New Asset panel gathers all site media in a single library.
  • Flash buttons and text features make adding multimedia to your site totally painless.
  • Round-trip graphics editing simplifies the process of making changes after graphics are placed on the page.
  • New site management tools encourage seamless communication with development team members.

And the not-so-good points:

  • New graphics features encourage a proprietary environment with limited alternatives.
  • HTML editing greatly improved, but still not robust enough to replace more feature-rich text editors.
  • Flash elements bloat file size and page-load time.

Now that I've given you the rundown on Dreamweaver 4, it's up to you to decide whether or not it's for you. Download a trial version. Give it a test drive and try out those new features. As far as solid, easy-to-use professional Web development tools go, Dreamweaver 4 is tough to beat.