Dreamweaver CS3 integrates Spry framework for Ajax

With the release of Dreamweaver CS3 on Tuesday, Adobe tackled integration of the application on two fronts. First, the Spry framework for Ajax is integrated into the application and second, the integration of Dreamweaver with the rest of the Creative Suite has improved dramatically.

“This is just a huge workflow improvement for Dreamweaver users,” Kenneth Berger, Adobe’s Dreamweaver Product Manager, told Macworld. “When we looked at what was important for this release it was Photoshop because of the overlap of the users — an overwhelming percentage of Dreamweaver users also use Photoshop.”

Adobe said that after speaking with its customers it became clear that many designers were struggling with the process of moving content from full-page design mock-ups in Photoshop into Dreamweaver.

With Creative Suite 3 designers can select any portion of a design in Photoshop — even across multiple layers — and paste it directly into a Dreamweaver page. Dreamweaver will present a dialog box where you can specify optimization options for the image, and that’s it — no further work is necessary. If, at some point, the image needs to be edited, double-clicking on the original layered PSD file opens in Photoshop for editing.

“One of the things that made me excited about this release is that we attacked the huge problems that customers have in designeing for the Web,” said Berger.

The other big integration feature in Dreamweaver CS3 is with the company’s Spry framework for Ajax. One of the new Web 2.0 buzzwords, Ajax is a development technique for creating interactive web applications.

Dreamweaver now allows users to visually design, develop and deploy dynamic user interfaces. Using Spry Widgets, commonly used Ajax Elements are available from a tab in the Dreamweaver toolbar.

Widgets include XML-driven lists and tables, accordions, tabbed interfaces and form elements with validation. Spry Effects is another way to enhance the look of a Web page. The effects allow users to make elements grow, shrink, fade and highlight.

One of the problems affecting all Web designers is browser compatibility. Making sure a Web site works for the Mac, Windows and Linux browsers is often a difficult task, but with Adobe CSS Advisor, the company hopes to solve that problem.

In addition to just providing feedback that there may be browser compatibility issues, Dreamweaver CS3 now provides links to Adobe CSS Advisor, which contains information on the latest issues, offers tips and suggestions and is maintained by and for the user community.

As with previous releases, Dreamweaver CS3 also provides users with sample designs to help get you started with your design.

“What do you do with a blank page — it’s always difficult to start from scratch,” said Berger. “We are not trying to tell you to use our designs, these are just starting points so you can make it your own.”

Managing CSS has also become easier in this release. The Manage CSS feature makes it easier for users to move CSS rules from document to document, from the head of a document to an external sheet and between external CSS files. You can also convert inline CSS to CSS rules, and place them where you need them by dragging and dropping.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 will begin shipping in April 2007 to customers in the United States and Canada. Dreamweaver CS3 will cost $399 — upgrade options are available from the company’s Web site.

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