capsule review

Adobe GoLive CS

At a Glance
  • Adobe GoLive CS

    Macworld Rating

Over the years, Adobe GoLive has matured into a feature-rich Web-siteā€“development program that both provides advanced tools for Web gurus and caters to graphic designers who rely on palette-driven WYSIWYG tools. GoLive CS offers better integration with other Adobe products, productivity improvements, a revised interface, and refined coding tools. Its features are comparable to those of Dreamweaver MX 2004's, but it can be confusing, and it occasionally crashed while running in Panther. (Adobe says that it is planning to release an update in the near future to deal with some Panther issues.)

User Interface

GoLive's highly -- at times, overwhelmingly -- customizable interface has much in common with the other apps in the CS Suite. The Objects palette, for example, now has a default toolbar display that looks like Photoshop's Tool palette. GoLive palettes can also dock discreetly at the side of the display and expand for action with a single click.

The program includes many small (and thoughtful) additions, such as a Zoom tool that gives you to-the-pixel accuracy when you're placing layers and page content in a document.

But with its confusing array of buttons, palettes, and tools, the program can feel a little like the control panel of a 747. In addition to the toolbar, Objects palette, and Site window, there are 28 other floating palettes (three more than the last version of GoLive had). Navigating the toolbars and the Objects palette, with its myriad icons, can also be confusing, and some actions require too many steps. For example, to add a graphic, you drag a graphic object from the Objects palette to the page. You then have to use a separate palette to specify the graphic file you just dragged.

Integration Fascination

One of GoLive's biggest selling points is how well it works with other Adobe applications, and GoLive CS is even better integrated with the rest of the updated suite.

If you use Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign extensively, you'll find time-saving tools that aren't available in any other Web-design program. Although Smart Objects have been around since GoLive 5, they remain an incredible (and unrivaled) tool. For example, when you add a Photoshop image as a Smart Object to a Web page, GoLive's built-in ImageReady optimization tools let you prepare the image for use on the Web. If you later make a change to the original Photoshop file, the Web graphic is automatically regenerated from the source. GoLive CS expands on this feature, letting you crop a graphic without changing the source file.

To quickly repurpose an InDesign document for the Web, you can export a package for GoLive that includes all of the InDesign document's text and images. After importing the package file into GoLive, you use a floating window containing a thumbnail of the InDesign document to add graphics and text to your GoLive document.

GoLive CS includes many new PDF tools: for example, the PDF Smart Object tool generates Web graphics of a PDF file, and you can add comments and Web links to PDF files directly within GoLive.

GoLive 6 included a copy of the Adobe Web Workgroup Server (AWWS), which has been replaced by Version Cue. Although Version Cue looks somewhat different from AWWS, it has the same functions: you can create projects, check out a file to edit it, check it back in to make the latest version available, publish projects to a Web site via FTP, and even revert to earlier versions of a Web page. Although GoLive works with Version Cue when purchased separately, you must buy the suite to get the Version Cue server.

Increasing Productivity

GoLive 6 users will be impressed by GoLive CS's responsiveness, and several new features will help them work faster. Queries and collections let you perform complex searches and save the results for later use. Say you wanted to move all the files you'd created or modified in the last 24 hours to your Web server. You could create a query that found all those files, saved the results as a collection, and then uploaded those files. The Query function dramatically expands on the Site Reports feature added in GoLive 6. With Query, you can locate accessibility problems, code errors, and even perform complex Boolean operations to precisely narrow down or expand your search.

If you often dive into HTML code, GoLive's improved Source Code Editor will be welcome. As you type the first few characters of an HTML tag, the new Code Hinting feature provides a pop-up menu listing tags that match: simply select the appropriate tag with the arrow keys or mouse to forgo typing the rest of the tag, and closing HTML tags are automatically added.

GoLive CS includes a new tool, called Co-Author, that can help novices update sections of a Web site. The designer creates and edits these sections within GoLive, and novices use Adobe's Co-Author editing program ($89) to update the pages. However, the setup process is time-consuming and requires creating separate Co-Author template files (which are confusingly unrelated to GoLive's page-template tools). The Co-Author editing application, while easy to use, offers limited text-formatting controls.

Keeping Up with Standards

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) let a designer use style sheets to format the appearance of HTML, just like in desktop publishing, and the improved abilities of Web brows-ers to display CSS have made relying on CSS more practical for designers. While GoLive's CSS tools have some major flaws, the program does sport some improvements to its CSS implementation. Most significantly, the CSS editor now centralizes style creation into a single palette. This simplifies a process that required two palettes in GoLive 6, and a new built-in preview shows how a style looks as you build it.

Applying styles is also easier. While you're designing a Web page, you can preview a given CSS style applied to text near the text-insertion point. Hovering the mouse over a style's check box in either the new drop-down CSS button on the toolbar or the revamped CSS palette shows how that style would format selected or adjacent text.

GoLive makes creating complex CSS designs too difficult, and the Layout view doesn't always display CSS styles as they will look in a Web browser. And although GoLive introduces a new Live Rendering mode for previewing a document, it's based on the Opera Web browser (not the more common Internet Explorer or Safari), which has its own display oddities.

GoLive no longer includes the dynamic content technology that let you create database-integrated sites -- a feature that similar programs, such as Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX 2004, offer.

Macworld's Buying Advice

If you depend on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign documents to fill your Web pages, GoLive CS is an invaluable tool for accelerating the Web-development process. But while the program offers many advanced features for building and managing Web sites, its lackluster support for current CSS techniques and its sometimes complex and overwhelming interface are serious drawbacks.

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To determine whether the functionality -- and cost -- of the full Adobe Creative Suite is right for you, read " It Doesn't Always Add Up."

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Great integration with other Adobe products
    • Advanced site-management tools

    Cons

    • Complex interface
    • No database tools
    • Version Cue server not supplied with stand-alone version of GoLive CS
    • Uneven CSS tools
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