Dreamweaver 3.0

"A Completely Customizable Program"

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Type of Product

Macromedia has released its latest version of its Web authoring application: Dreamweaver 3.0. This visual editor is known for its excellent page templates, strong site management tools, and its respect for HTML code (it won't rewrite your HTML or JavaScript). For an overview of Dreamweaver features, see our review: Dreamweaver 2.0. The new version has added innovative page-editing tools, better features for design teams, and unparalleled extensibility. It is available for both the PC and Macintosh, and Macromedia has rewritten this latest version for the Mac from scratch as a fully native Macintosh application. Dreamweaver 3 includes a full copy of either Bare Bones BBEdit 5.0 for Macintosh users or Allaire HomeSite 4.0 for Windows users. Macromedia has an excellent site to visit, with all sorts of information, freebies, and tutorials: http://www.macromedia.com

You can purchase Dreamweaver 3 as a stand alone product or as a packaged deal with Fireworks 3: Dreamweaver 3 with Fireworks 3 Studio $399; Dreamweaver 3 with Fireworks 3 Studio upgrade from any commercial version of Dreamweaver or Fireworks $249; Dreamweaver 3 with Fireworks 3 Studio upgrade for owners of both Dreamweaver and Fireworks $199; Dreamweaver 3 Windows or Macintosh $299; Dreamweaver 3 Upgrade from 1, 1.2, and 2 $129; Dreamweaver 3 Educational Version $99.

User Level
Advanced Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced computer and Web designers. I would suggest you have some experience with computers and Web design before you use this program. It is well-suited for professional Web developers who want control and access to their source HTML; graphic artists and page layout professionals who need a software that uses visual page layout, design metaphors, and is easy to use; corporate Web Masters who need standard templates, compatibility with dynamic publishing and e-commerce solutions, cross-platform reliability, and customization to suit a variety of skill levels; and casual business users who want to use Microsoft Word or Excel for their content and want to bring it into Dreamweaver.
Editing HTML
  • Quick Tag Editor: Lets you quickly modify, add, or remove an HTML tag without leaving the Document window.
  • HTML Styles: Allow you to define styles using cross-browser standard HTML character markup (such as the B and Font tags) rather than Cascading Style Sheets.
  • Improved HTML Source Inspector: Lets you display line numbers, select entire lines of code from the margin, and drag and drop HTML selections. You can also dock the HTML Source inspector with other floating palettes.
  • Enhanced Third-Party Tag Model: Lets you specify that Dreamweaver should ignore the contents of certain types of third-party tags, such as Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) and ColdFusion tags. You can easily add support for other third-party tags. Also, new HTML rewriting options let you control whether Dreamweaver encodes certain characters in certain contexts.
  • Add/Remove Netscape Resize Fix: Allows you to automatically add JavaScript to fix problems with CSS layers when resizing a browser window.
Managing Sites
  • Synchronize Files: Allows you to quickly synchronize your local copy of a site with the version on the server, ensuring that the latest version of each file is in both the local and remote sites. You can also set this feature to delete extraneous files.
  • Easy Access to the Check In/Check Out System: Allows you to get, put, check in, and check out files directly from the Document window.
  • Save Files Before Putting: Prompts you to save an unsaved file before transferring it to your remote server.
  • URLs in Flash Movie Files: These are now editable in Dreamweaver; the site map displays all the links in Flash files, and the link checker can check those links.
Creating and Editing Objects and Page Elements
  • Character Objects: Provide a collection of commonly used special characters and symbols (trademark, copyright, quotes, em-dash) that are easily accessible from the Object palette.
  • Frame Objects: Let you create predefined framesets quickly and easily.
  • Other Objects: Allow you to easily add navigation bars, jump menus, e-mail links, dates, and new media objects (such as Flash 4 movies, and Shockwave 7 movies, and Generator objects) to your documents.
  • Inline Image Maps: Allow you to add and resize hotspots, change links and targets, and apply behaviors, all without leaving the Document window.
Streamlining Your Workflow: Integration and Communication
  • Design Notes: Allow you to attach notes to a file so you can track file changes and communicate about development issues with other team members. You can even add Design Notes to images in Fireworks and then read and edit those notes in Dreamweaver.
  • Import and Clean Up Word HTML: Allow you to import HTML files generated by Microsoft Word; the Clean Up feature strips out irrelevant XML code and styles, removes proprietary tags, fixes invalid HTML, and formats the code according to your preferences.
  • The History Palette: Keeps track of every action you perform. It lets you undo steps, repeat steps, and copy steps to the Clipboard and paste them to repeat actions in other documents. You can even save steps as a command that automatically appears in the Commands menu.
  • Repeat: Provides a quick way to do simple repetitive tasks.
  • Import Table Data: Allows you to automatically create tables out of data that you've exported into delimited files from applications like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access.
  • Insert Fireworks HTML: Imports the HTML source code and images that result from slicing an image using Fireworks. You can launch Macromedia Fireworks from within Dreamweaver and edit a source PNG image.
  • Launch and Edit Media: By double-clicking any image or media file in the Site window; each file type is opened in an appropriate external editor.
  • Enhanced Macintosh Compatibility: Provides a better user experience on the Macintosh. Dreamweaver now supports Navigation Services, renders images using QuickTime, and offers a host of other enhancements.
Customizing and Extending Dreamweaver
  • Customizable Menus and Shortcuts: Enable you to edit, customize, and expand Dreamweaver menus and keyboard shortcuts.
  • Dreamweaver Extensibility: Provides 300 new API functions to allow you to create your own JavaScript extensions to Dreamweaver, including custom floating palettes and attribute translators.
History Palette

Photoshop users will love the new History Palette in Dreamweaver as it is very similar to Photoshop's. It shows a list of all the steps you've performed in the active document and allows you to undo one or more steps. It also allows you to replay steps; copy steps; and to create new JavaScript commands to automate repetitive tasks. This means that you don't have to worry about making mistakes or History Paletteleaving out steps when you make macros. After you have finished various steps, you just save them as a JavaScript command. Non-adjacent steps can be replayed; you can apply steps to any object in the Document window, not just a similar type; and you can copy and paste steps between documents. The history palette can be cleared, which frees up memory when the history list gets too large, and the undo history command extends past any file saving, so you can undo steps that have already been saved to the source file. Extension authors can now shorten their development cycles. Using the History Palette, you can build out a series of steps, then quickly save this as a JavaScript command. This rapidly constructs the skeleton of your extension. Then, if needed, you can open up the file and add the extra code.

Microsoft Office Integration
  1. Microsoft Word--For individuals who like to use Word for the content of their Web pages Detail Cleanbut want clean HTML code, there is the Clean Up Word HTML feature. The HTML produced by Basic CleanWord is not optimal for the Web browser as it is three to five times larger than traditional hand-authored HTML; includes code primarily used by Word to format and display documents in Word and is not needed to display the HTML file; and also produces some code that is viewable only on the Internet Explorer browser platform. Dreamweaver 3 users can clean up the code by simply opening up a ReportMicrosoft Word HTML document and selecting the command "Clean Up Word HTML," and the page is cleared of Microsoft-specific styles and XML tags. You can specify how to clean up Word HTML documents and also get a detailed report on the work that Dreamweaver executed.

  2. Microsoft Excel or Access--Data that has been created in such applications as Excel, Access, or other databases and saved in a delimited format (separated by tabs, commas, colons, semicolons, or other delimiters) can be imported into Dreamweaver and reformatted as a table. Dreamweaver 3.0 now includes a Tabular Data object that is similar to the Table object, but instead of inserting a blank table, users can define a 'data source' to populate the Table DataTabular TablesHTML table. By making the complexity of this conversion into a single object, with a single dialog box, the integration of tabular material is made easier. The Insert Tabular Data dialog box is used to define the data source and the table formatting. The feature does not allow the ability to format the table during insertion, but once the material is in Dreamweaver, this is easy to do using the table-editing tools.
Quick Tag Editor

The Quick Tag Editor lets you inspect and edit the HTML source without leaving the design window. It is a free-floating pane on top of the document and has three different interfaces to access and modify the code: Edit Tag; Wrap Tag; and Insert HTML. The Edit Tag mode allows you to edit an existing tag, but you can only edit a single opening tag. The Wrap Tag mode is used to wrap a Quick Tag Editornew tag around the current selection. As with the Edit Tag mode, you can only enter a single opening tag. The Insert HTML tag mode is used to insert new HTML code. You can enter arbitrary HTML strings in the editor, including multiple tags and text or other content between tags, and if you leave tags unclosed, the corresponding closing tags are added automatically. The Quick Tag Editor also introduces a tag hint feature that presents itself as you type. A list of tags that match the text you have entered appears in a drop-down list. This feature can be disabled also. I think the Quick Tag Editor is a great feature, but I wanted it to do more in the Edit Tag and Wrap Tag modes. It still is the easiest way to quickly inspect and edit the HTML source of a single tag without having to switch to the HTML Source Inspector and back again.

HTML Styles

This feature is wonderful for users who want to apply global text and paragraph formatting automatically and easily without worrying about different browser support. You can select any document text and use it as the basis for a new HTML Style or by using the HTML Style palette, you can define new styles from scratch by choosing character or paragraph level settings, selecting font face, size and color, and even creating additive styles that can be applied together. Style sheets for a site are stored in a portable XML file that can be easily edited or shared between team HTML Stylesmembers or used on other sites. Unlike CSS styles, though, HTML style formatting only affects text that you apply it to, or text that you create using a selected HTML style. If you change the formatting of an HTML style you have created, text that was originally formatted with that style is not updated. This could be an advantage if it is what you want to do.

Design Notes

You can keep track of extra file information associated with your documents, such as an image source file names and comments on the file status by using the Design Notes command. This would be beneficial if you copy a document from one site to another. You can add Design Notes for that Design Note Basics document, with the comment that the original document is in the other site folder. Then if you update the document (or someone else does), you'll know that you need to update the original page as well. You can also use Design Notes for Design Note Infoinformation about how the document was created, or notes on how a particular price or configuration was chosen, or what marketing factors influenced a design decision. Design Notes can be created for documents, templates, applets, ActiveX controls, images, Flash movies, Shockwave objects, and image fields. Since Design Note information is stored as an XML document separate from the HTML source file, this extra information does not add bulk to the source files.

Roundtrip Graphics Editing with Macromedia Fireworks

The integration of Dreamweaver and Fireworks is tighter than ever. You can roundtrip your graphics and code between the two applications, and both code and graphics remain editable all the time. You can edit any graphic from Dreamweaver. When the Fireworks application is launched, you have the option of editing the JPEG or GIF or accessing the original Fireworks PNG source files. Any changes that are made in Fireworks are automatically updated on the Web page.

Dreamweaver 3.0 includes two new objects that insert Fireworks HTML with all the graphics and code associated with rollover objects and entire navigation bars from Fireworks. For the smallest, highest-quality files possible, you can use the Optimize Image command in Dreamweaver to load the Fireworks Export Preview interface instantly. All Fireworks' behaviors are recognized as native Dreamweaver behaviors. Also graphics created in Fireworks and exported as a Dreamweaver library item are automatically placed in the Dreamweaver library. When sharing files between Fireworks and Dreamweaver, information about the files stored in Design Notes is accessible in both applications.

Fireworks 3 is now fully scriptable via JavaScript and has an architecture that enables Dreamweaver to drive operations in Fireworks directly from within the Dreamweaver application. For example, you could make a rollover button script that allows you to enter text in the Dreamweaver application that automatically launches Fireworks, invokes a template, and returns the necessary button states and JavaScript from Fireworks. Or you could create scripts that take all the text headings in Dreamweaver and turn them into stylized GIFs in Fireworks, without ever having to leave the Dreamweaver application.

Extensibility Through the Dreamweaver DOM and Extensible Menus
  1. Extensibility Through the Dreamweaver DOM--Dreamweaver is designed to be extensible. It includes a JavaScript interpreter, so it can read and execute JavaScript code, and it provides an application programming interface (API), a large set of JavaScript functions that allow developers to extend the capabilities of Dreamweaver. It also provides a Document Object Model (DOM), which allows extensions to examine and modify a document's structure and contents. Using the JavaScript API, you can create objects, behavior actions, commands, Property inspectors, floating palettes, and data translators (all of which are collectively called extensions). In Dreamweaver 3.0, there are more than 300 new API functions and two new kinds of extensions--custom floating palettes and attribute translators. You can visit Dreamweaver Exchange to download additional extensions to Dreamweaver

  2. Extensible Menus--One of the most important new features in Dreamweaver 3.0 for scripting or customizing gurus is the ability to modify every menu option as they are now defined in an XML file. Using XML as the architecture for this feature, Dreamweaver exposes the menu name, keyboard shortcut, and actual call to the Dreamweaver DOM for every single menu option in the entire Dreamweaver application. This includes all context-sensitive menus as well as platform-specific menus. This allows you to build menu systems that are designed for your specific needs; targeted at specific departments in an organization; or built for individuals with different levels of expertise. It is being used by various companies to build custom menus that focus on content management for their clients. This way the client can make simple updates to their sites.
Site Management and Synchronization
Dreamweaver 3.0 offers the ability to synchronize local and remote sites. This compares all the files at both locations and copies the files to the right location, depending on which synchronization direction you chose. Site Synchronization even removes orphan files that are no longer part of the site Synchronizedirectory, reducing bandwidth-taxing overhead. Before the synchronization is actually performed, Dreamweaver presents you with a detailed summary of the actions it is about to perform. You have the ability to override single assets before invoking the action. Unchecked files will not be processed. When the action is completed, this dialog is presented again with a status of every line item.
Repeat Last Action
The 'Repeat Last Action' shortcut was one of the most requested features on the Dreamweaver Wish List. To repeat the last action, you can use a keyboard shortcut: (Ctrl-Y on Windows, Command-Y on Macintosh). To inspect which action is the last action, you select the Edit menu and inspect the second menu option.
More Objects
The Object Palette has been expanded to include even more commonly-used elements, including e-mail links, navigation bars, jump menus, and dates. New objects for Macromedia Flash 4 and Common ObjectsCharacter PaletteGenerator 2 make it easy for you to add rich content to your pages. Rich-media files can be played inline at design time to give you more control. You'll also notice more options in the pop-up menu at the top of the Objects Palette, including a set of frame objects that make designing framesets simpler than ever; and a set of special character objects so that you'll never have to remember what "&#153" means again. It includes special character objects for copyright or trademark. If there is a special character that is not part of the Objects in this view, you can access the Extended Characters dialog box for a larger subset of special characters.
Personal Comments
With the release of Dreamweaver 3, Macromedia has a Web layout program that is truly designed for users that don't want to work with HTML code and programers that want total control over their HTML. And the new native Macintosh version will be highly appreciated by Mac users. When I first installed the new version, I thought, "well, there isn't really anything revolutionary about it." But as I went through the program and tried all of the new features and options, I thought, "how did I live without these features." This is an excellent upgrade with just enough well thought-out new features to please previous Dreamweaver users. Over 75% of the requested features have been incorporated in Dreamweaver 3. Such features as the History Palette make it easier than ever for novices to use the program, and its focus on customization of the entire application is a must have ability for serious developers.
System Requirements

Intel Pentium processor (Pentium II or higher recommended)
Windows 95, 98 or NT 4
64MB of RAM
640x480, 256-color display (1024x768 recommended)
100MB of free hard-disk space
CD-ROM drive

Power Macintosh PowerPC processor (G3 or higher recommended)
system 8.1 or later
64Mb of free RAM
640x480, 256-color display (1024x768 recommended)
100MB of free hard-disk space
Adobe Type manager Version 4 or later with Type 1 fonts

Graphics: Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Photoshop
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0
Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series