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Adobe Releases Time-Limited Betas

Adobe Systems has released the first betas of new versions of Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth for users to download and evaluate, but once they install the software and start to use it, the software counts down to self-destruction in 48 hours.

The betas will work until final code is released if you have a registered copy of Creative Suite 3 on your computer, however.

Still, the three betas show Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) isn't letting grass grow under its feet. It released all of its major content creation software under the title Creative Suite 3 just last year.

"This early release software gives our loyal customers a taste of the radical workflow enhancements that we have in store, as we redefine how designers and developers collaborate to deliver stand-out digital experiences," said David Burkett, vice president of product management for Adobe Creative Suite, in a statement.

All three are for Web content creation. Dreamweaver is a Web page designer, Fireworks is an image editor and Soundbooth is for audio and sound editing. They are available for both Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X for PowerPC and Intel, although Soundbooth won't run on a PowerPC Mac.

The Dreamweaver beta includes a new related files toolbar and code navigator feature, so by clicking on a file you are shown all of the other files that refer to or are dependent upon that file. This includes HTML files, JavaScript and XML data.

The new Dreamweaver also features a new live view mode, based on the open source rendering engine Webkit, to provide a more accurate view of the page in preview mode. This way designers can see how their page will look in a variety of browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox without having to save the page and load it into the browser to see how it renders.

Freddie Laker, director of business development for Sapient Interactive North America, a high-end Web design shop serving major businesses, is quite interested in these two particular features.

"One of the big weaknesses in the past has been the ability to do prototyping," he told InternetNews.com. "When you are trying to build out these large-scale projects, the creative process can be quite selective. Our creative people often have to keep multiple browsers open to test as they develop. With the new versions we can do proper live view mode in the app rather than saving out HTML pages and testing in each browser."

Fired-up Fireworks

New features in the Fireworks beta include a new user interface that is now consistent with other applications within the Creative Suite, the ability to export design comps as high fidelity, interactive, and secure Adobe PDF documents, and support for Adobe AIR, HTML, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex Builder.

Laker is also excited about the prototyping in Fireworks as well. "Prototypes weren't able to look enough like the final product, so we were getting people to use their imaginations too much, and the fact is if their imagination was that great they wouldn't need a digital creation agency," he said.

He said Fireworks' more accurate previewing will save "weeks of time, and more importantly it will create a foundation to make communication more enjoyable."

The Soundbooth beta features multiple track support, so users can edit multiple audio clips on a number of tracks, and the new ability for users to match volume levels across audio files. It also features previewing MP3 compression settings before saving them and a new speech recognition technology that lets users create transcripts of dialogue tracks quickly and search them for words and phrases within a timeline.

Adobe has not said when the final versions of the software will be released.