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Adobe Dreamweaver Review
Technology should make our lives easier
• Great features for mobile device-friendly sites
• Multi-screen preview mode
• Code validation features
• Packed with tools and features
• Complex to use
Adobe Dreamweaver is the industry standard for web design. With its full raft of features and extensive selection of tools, Abode Dreamweaver is suitable for building complex and cutting-edge websites as well as simpler pages.
The new Dreamweaver version brings full HTML 5 capability and mobile device-friendly sites within your grasp. Because apps and sites specifically designed for mobile devices are so important to consumers today, these functions are a welcome addition. But is Dreamweaver only for the professional? What about the less experienced users out there? Does Adobe Dreamweaver also suit beginners and those who don’t want to use code? We checked out the Dreamweaver program to see where it scores points.
The Dreamweaver package comes with a simple setup procedure so you can be getting started in just a few minutes. If you have a previous version of the software there are upgrade packages available from the website. If you want ongoing access to the Dreamweaver package, and to add more users, there are subscription packages based on monthly payments.
Dreamweaver is made for designers and, consequently, the focus is on updating the code and working with style sheets. Dreamweaver is not necessarily targeted at the complete beginner who wants a drag and drop interface and an easy way to see what’s going to end up on the internet. Dreamweaver is all about your creativity, and less about the creativity of a template designer.
You can also specify what format you are creating your site for – iPad, desktop, low-res, for example – and Adobe Dreamweaver inserts meta tags into the code specifying the various sizes. With this new version you can work in Live View mode, Dreamweaver´s way of displaying your website as it appears on different browsers and mobile devices, simultaneously. We like the convenience of this view, and the fact it makes it easy to design for different devices at the same time.
One more handy feature we like – package one of your mobile device versions and create an app for Android or iPhone in just a few steps.
HTML 5 is standard here and you can design with HTML 5 code to produce the full range of modern, video and animation-driven websites. Additions to the Dreamweaver version include customizable box types, the option of transparencies, and full video capabilities in all formats.
Dreamweaver is integrated with Flash, Photoshop and other programs via the Adobe Creative Suite so you can create good looking websites more easily. Photo galleries, video, maps, images and animation are all supported by the Adobe Dreamweaver design-focused technology.
Code validation features are particularly well provided in Adobe Dreamweaver. The new version allows you to click on any errors in code that come back from the W3C. You’re taken directly to the source of the problem, which you can then fix.
Search engine optimisation
It goes without saying that this industry-standard software is designed with the search engines in mind. You won’t find it difficult to integrate your website into the search engines’ radars, and there are many functions you can make use of to get your website noticed.
Dreamweaver is fully compliant with ecommerce platforms and with Dreamweaver you can design and maintain an ecommerce store with credit card payment facilities. Because Dreamweaver is more of a coder’s program, you’ll have to have some experience of setting up these kinds of stores in order to get the best out of the software.
Taking your site live with the Adobe Business Catalyst platform is perhaps not the most cost-effective way of publishing your website but it easily links in with the web design package. This is an all-in-one hosting platform that integrates nicely with Dreamweaver.
Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 links with Google Analytics and you can add on other reporting tools to keep a track of the success of your newly-designed site.
Ease of use
Dreamweaver is not easy to use if you know nothing about web design – this program is not recommended for complete beginners, and people who don’t want to look at a line of code. However, Dreamweaver is smooth and satisfying to use if you do know what you’re doing, and if you can handle developing a website using HTML 5 and CSS.
The appeal of the software really does depend on what you know and what you want to get out of it.
Help & support
There are several virtual options for finding support – the Adobe Developer Connection and the Adobe Design Center are both places where you can access user forums, training programs, seminars and other help.
Technical support and help may come at a price, because Adobe charges for support packages based on how often you need to contact a technical representative.
It’s horses for course when it comes to this web design software. Adobe Dreamweaver is top of the tree for professional web designers, who will find the coding features meet the needs of the most demanding web designs. The emphasis on creating sites for mobile devices and apps is also a welcome addition to this version.
For users looking to develop a website for their family, hobby, organisation or small business (who aren’t already fairly well educated in code), there are other software packages available that are more beginner-friendly. This is a powerful web design tool but it is relatively expensive and it is complex to the point of being oversaturated with features.
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