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Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0

I should warn you that, as you might have read in some other articles I have written, I am perhaps biased toward this great program from Macromedia. It is simply packed with features that make it a great piece of software for beginners as well as Web design professionals. The user interface is clean and easy to understand, and the program's great features are explained thoroughly in the extensive help section that comes with the software and several nicely illustrated tutorials.

In General

Well, I know that some people will not appreciate me saying this, but one of the features of Dreamweaver that I like best is that you don't actually have to write a single line of code (HTML) for your whole Web site! Some people say that these kind of programs haven the skill (and fun!) out of Web design, but if you are a newbie in the world of Web design (or, like me, are just too lazy to write out all the code), it can definitely be handy—definitely a big timesaver. Although most HTML editors have recently transformed to "no-programming" programs, Dreamweaver is certainly one of the best when considering the number of things you can add to your Web pages with a single mouse click.

For example, creating forms, layers, frames, and tables in Dreamweaver is a snap, and these are all one-click operations. Behaviors such as using rollover images, taking advantage of DHTML features, and doing important little things such as setting up the "HEAD" of your Web page (which describes the Web site, for example, with keywords, and enables search engines to find your site more easily) are also very easily added and modified. The new Asset Manager makes "copying" images and Flash files a snap. Not ever have I found a program in which I could create such complex pages with such little trouble.

The ability to add "designer notes" to pages makes this a great product when working in teams. Dreamweaver even supports big Web sites with the easy-to-use file manager and template function.

Even a new user will have no trouble understanding the user-friendly menus and general user interface. And if you don't understand them, a very extensive help section included with the program will explain every feature and option to you in great detail. Dreamweaver also includes a guided tour and tutorial.

If you still have problems, you can visit the online Dreamweaver support center, where you will have all your questions answered. Classes and courses in Dreamweaver are also offered by Macromedia so that you can get the most out of the program. Another thing worth mentioning is many "extensions" for Dreamweaver, both free and commercial, are available online to extend the use of this program even further.

Some Pros

  • You can have a split view of the HTML and the design window visible simultaneously.

  • The new JavaScript debugger will launch your page in a browser window and load an applet, which then loads it into Dreamweaver and scans for JavaScript errors. This is a real timesaver if you work with JavaScript.

  • Dreamweaver integrates well with other Macromedia products, such as Macromedia Flash. You can actually create Flash text without even launching another application (although animation is not possible yet).

  • You can add "design notes" to pages, which is really useful when working in teams when designing Web sites.

  • Everything that you add to a Web site will get added into the new Asset Manager. It works very similarly to the Macromedia Flash library window. You can then add any of the items in the Manager to a new page by simply dragging it from the Asset window onto your page.

Some Cons

  • At $250, Dreamweaver is not exactly an inexpensive piece of software.

  • You can't change CHMOD codes inside the File Manager.

Product Information

Price: Dreamweaver 4 is priced at approximately $250 (at the time of this writing).

System requirements (Windows):

  • Windows 95/98/NT/2000

  • Intel Pentium processor (Pentium II recommended)

  • Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP or Windows NT 4 (with Service Pack 5)*

  • 64MB of available RAM

  • 110MB of available hard-disk space

  • 800 x 600, 256-color display (1024 x 768, millions of colors recommended)

  • CD-ROM drive

System requirements (Macintosh):

  • Power Macintosh Processor (G3 or higher recommended)

  • Mac OS 8.6 or 9x

  • 64MB of available RAM

  • 135MB of available hard-disk space

  • 800 x 600, 256-color display (1024 x 768, millions of colors recommended)

  • CD-ROM drive

Product Web site: http://www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver/

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