RealTime IT News

Macromedia Unveils Latest Version of Dreamweaver Platform

Macromedia Inc. Monday unveiled the next-generation of its Dreamweaver Platform -- Dreamweaver 4, Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 and Fireworks 4 -- at the Dreamweaver Conference 2000, emphasizing collaborative features to streamline team-based design efforts.

"The new releases of Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver UltraDev and Fireworks represent more than three great new products," said Kevin Lynch, president of Macromedia products. "Together, they create a truly integrated, efficient authoring environment that will enable a more cost-effective way to create the best user experience."

A major component of the collaborative emphasis is the roundtrip graphic editing feature, which integrates Fireworks with both Dreamweaver and UltraDev. Working together, Fireworks and Dreamweaver or UltraDev transparently manage the exchange of graphics, layouts and code between applications.

With the new version, Dreamweaver's roundtrip editing -- which gives developers precise control over the level of editing that is automatically applied to various areas of HTML coding without endangering existing code and content -- has been extended to support Server Side markup languages such as ASP, JSP, CFML and PHP, as well as the HTML and XML that was already supported. In addition, the Dreamweaver interface can be customized to ignore any tag structure defined by the user.

New collaborative features include support for importing content from Microsoft Word and data from Excel or Access, as well as a JavaScript debugging tool. Also, pages may now contain XML-based "design notes," enabling individual developers to note important features or revisions of a specific page from within the page itself.

Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 adds Web application creation tools to the Dreamweaver HTML authoring environment. It supports creation of Web applications on any server supporting ASP 2, JSP 1 or Cold Fusion 4 and provides database connectivity options for ODBC, JDBC or OLE DB enabled databases.

Key enhancements in the new version include: Support for the creation of customized Server Behaviors, allowing development teams to more closely control the way UltraDev code is generated; a Spit View providing simultaneous display of both the Code and (visual) Design views; a client-side JavaScript debugger; support for JavaBeans and WebDAV-based workflow and content management support.

Fireworks adds graphics design and production capabilities, allowing users to develop Web page comps using images from digital cameras, scanners or graphics tools. Fireworks 4 adds a new pop-up menu creation allowing users to develop sophisticated navigation with multilevel pop-up menus in a step-by-step visual environment. It also features enhanced graphics interactivity with live animations, drag and drop rollovers, object masks (both vector and bitmap) and a new batch processing environment.

In addition, Macromedia sealed an exclusive three-year deal with O'Reilly & Associates Monday which enables the embedding of complete HTML, CSS and JavaScript references from Danny Goodman's "Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference" directly into the new Dreamweaver 4 Fireworks 4 Studio and the new UltraDev 4 Fireworks 4 Studio.

"Integrating the gold standard in reference materials into the Dreamweaver Platform was a natural fit," Lynch said. "With the fast pace of Web development, our customers need to be able to learn as they go. By integrating O'Reilly content directly within our products, we aim to help both emerging and experienced developers increase their productivity and enhance their personal skills."

Dreamweaver 4 is available stand-alone at $299, or bundled with Fireworks 4 in the Dreamweaver 4 Fireworks 4 Studio for $449. Fireworks is available stand-alone for $299. Both Dreamweaver and Fireworks customers can upgrade to the Dreamweaver 4 Fireworks 4 Studio for $199. UltraDev 4 is available stand-alone at $599 or bundled with Fireworks in the UltraD