Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks join CS4 update parade

Adobe Dreamweaver has a couple of interesting new features in this update, highlighted by the addition of Live View. This new view allows designers to see what their layout will look like under real-world browser conditions.

Using Live View, designers still have access to the code while using WebKit to render CSS navigation, JavaScript, Flash and other technologies typically not available when previewing a Web site. Live View may seem like a duplicate of the Preview in Browser feature, but that’s not how Adobe sees it.

“It’s not so much of a replacement for Preview in Browser, it’s more of a workflow gain because you don’t have to leave Dreamweaver,” said Dreamweaver product manager Devin Fernandez.

In keeping with its theme of making designers more efficient Adobe introduced Code Navigator in Dreamweaver. The Code Navigator is a smart pop-up window that shows you links to all the CSS code sources that affect your current selection.

You can also hover over the CSS style and see the definition for that particular rule. When you click a CSS style, Dreamweaver will take you to that rule in your CSS Stylesheet, so there is no more searching style sheets to find the rule you want to edit.

Dreamweaver and Photoshop are more tightly integrated in the new release. Designers now have the ability to drop a Photoshop PSD file into a Dreamweaver page to create a Smart Object. The object stays linked to the Photoshop graphic; if it’s changed, an icon on the Dreamweaver version will alert you to the change. You can simply click to update the graphic in the Dreamweaver document.

Dreamweaver also features the new tabbed interface that’s common throughout CS4. This allows you to work in one window while having multiple documents open at once.

Adobe Dreamweaver will ship in October for $399. Owners of Dreamweaver CS3, Dreamweaver 8, or Dreamweaver MX 2004 can upgrade to Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 for $199. Owners of Adobe GoLive 5, 6, CS, CS2, or 9 can switch to Dreamweaver CS4 for $199.

Flash brings tighter integration

Perhaps the biggest change in Flash CS4 is the tight integration with other applications in the Creative Suite.

Using the XFL file format, designers can open content from After Effects CS4 software and InDesign CS4 directly in Flash CS4. Users can also import a code-only ActionScript 3.0 SWC component developed in Adobe Flex Builder software.

If integration isn’t that important to you, perhaps some of Flash’s other new features like object-based animation models will be more exciting. Using the object-based animation model, tweens are applied directly to objects instead of keyframes. This does away with the often time consuming keystrokes and commands need to create or edit an animation.

New 3-D transformation tools in Flash give users the ability to animate 2-D objects into the 3-D space. This is done using the 3-D Translation and 3-D Rotation tools—there is no longer any need to use ActionScript.

Flash even has an inverse kinematics tool called Bones. This allows you to link a series of symbols together to create animations that move and react in a definitive way.

Adobe Flash CS4 will ship in October for $699. Owners of Adobe Flash CS3 Professional, Macromedia Flash Professional 8, or Macromedia Flash MX 2004 can upgrade to Adobe Flash CS4 Professional for $199.

Fireworks offers improved performance

Fireworks is a graphics design tool used to aid in building and cutting up Web sites. According to Adobe, Fireworks CS4 features faster document opening and saving times when using large files.

File saving in Fireworks in now asynchronous, so designers can move on to other tasks while saving a large file. Speed increases also positively affect bitmap and vector operations, according to the company.

Fireworks also includes a new Export to PDF feature, allowing designers to export a document and maintain hotspot linked pages.

Adobe Fireworks CS4 ships in October for $299. Owners of Fireworks CS3, Fireworks 8, or Fireworks MX 2004 can upgrade to Adobe Fireworks CS4 for $149.

All three Web apps—Fireworks, Flash, and Dreamweaver—make up the $999 Web Standard suite along with the Contribute CS4 Web content collaboration program. Those apps also appear in the $1,699 Web Premium Suite, which also features the latest versions of Acrobat, Illustrator and Photoshop Extended, as well as the $2,499 Master Collection suite featuring all CS4 apps.

Updated at 10:56 p.m. PT to include the suite versions that Fireworks, Flash, and Dreamweaver appear in.

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