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Adding Photoshop, Spry Frameworks, and CSS tools makes Dreamweaver CS3 the premier web design tool.

Software Review – Adobe Master Collection – Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 From Adobe Systems

This is the fifth part of a series of reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) Master Collection. When Adobe released CS3 earlier this year, they not only released single version products, but also six separate suites of products. They are Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, Standard, Production Premium, and Master Collection. You can go online to compare what is contained in each version. The goal of this series it to define what each product does and provide information of what the new version brings to the table.

What do you need to run Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 On Windows you need an Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Intel Core™ Duo (or compatible) processor, Windows XP SP2 or Vista, on Mac, PowerPC® G4 or G5 or multicore Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.4.8 – 10.5 (Leopard), 512 MB RAM, 64 MB Video RAM, 1,024×768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card, 1.4 GB hard drive space and DVD-ROM Drive.

 Adobe Dreamweaver CS3, a web development software application that was originally developed and distributed by Macromedia and acquired by Adobe in 2005, It is available for both the Mac and Windows operating systems. Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 is the first version released under the Adobe banner and as such is now integrated into the Creative Suite group of products.

Dreamweaver was first introduced in 1997 and since then has added features as the development of the web continues to mature. Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 is effectively a WYSIWYG editor that allows you to see the results of what you are developing before having to publish to your website. It allows one to hide the HTML code and strictly develop on the screen; which allows non-coders to create web pages and sites. It doesn't stop there, it also gives developers the tools to create professional grade websites as well.

So what is new with Adobe Dreamweaver CS3?

• Spry Framework for Ajax – is a JavaScript library for web designers that allow them to build pages that provide a better experience for users. Because Spry is 99% HTML, it makes it much more accessible to both developers and designers with out a lot of complex coding.

• Spry Widgets – allow you to add common user interface components to web pages quickly and easily. These widgets are pre-built components for creating user interface elements that can be customized by using CSS and then added to your web pages.

• Spry Effects – allow you to add visual transitions to page elements. They are a simple way of enhancing the look and feel of your web site. These can be applied to almost any element of an HTML page. They do not need any server-side logic or scripting to work so when a user triggers the effect, only the object to which the effect is applied is updated, not the entire page.

• Photoshop Integration – now gives users the choice between Photoshop and Fireworks as the application of choice to work with graphics for their web site. Users can select any portion of a design in Photoshop; even across multiple layers, and paste it into a Dreamweaver page.

• Browser Compatibility Check – makes it much easier to ensure a consistent experience across multiple operating system platforms. Keeping up with multiple browsers on one platform is hard enough, but on systems that you don't own can get you frustrated fast. This new feature will generate reports that flag browser incompatibility so that you know where the problems may lie.

• Adobe CSS Advisor – is a website that Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 links to that offers solutions and tips found during the Browser Compatibility Check process. It contains up to date information on different browsers and how they work on different platforms.

• CSS Layouts – provide predefined layouts that allow you to get your pages up much faster. They also allow you to learn CSS as they provide inline comments in the code. There are comprehensive lists of layout designs that enable you to start using CSS right out of the box. Once you have chosen a start layout, you can then customize it to fit your needs.

• CSS Management – gives you the ability to move your CSS rule changes from page to page, from the head of document to an external sheet, and between external CSS files. You can convert inline CSS to CSS rules, and place them where you need them just by dragging and dropping.

Dreamweaver has always been a solid tool for creating and maintaining websites. Now Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 takes this power even farther with all of the new features described above. Probably the most significant improvement is the ability to add interactive elements to a webpage. The Spry framework goes beyond animations and the primitive JavaScript of old. Now you can add user interface elements that will actually enhance the user experience of your site.

Another major benefit is all the helpful CSS tools. CSS can be confusing to the novice user, and Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 takes that confusion away. Finally is the integration of Photoshop to the realm. You always had Flash and Fireworks, but adding Photoshop really makes Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 the premier web design tool.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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