“Dreamweaver MX is a tremendous new release, especially for the Mac community,” Macromedia Vice President Adam Berry, told MacCentral. “We’ve taken the core Dreamweaver visual design capabilities and have extended that functionality by adding very robust support for editing and hand coding, and for application development.”
In expanding the features of Dreamweaver, Macromedia has taken pieces of its other applications and integrated them into Dreamweaver MX. While the layout of Dreamweaver remains the same and will be familiar to longtime users, Macromedia has added the web application development features of both Dreamweaver UltraDev and ColdFusion Studio, and the code editing support of HomeSite — only available as part of the company’s Windows only application before this release.
“We’ve done a lot of things in Dreamweaver that make it a solution for building, not just rich applications, but everything across the spectrum of Internet solutions from Web sites to Web applications,” Berry said.
With many of the features of Dreamweaver UltraDev included in the next release of Dreamweaver MX, Macromedia will discontinue development and sales of UltraDev, the company said.
Dreamweaver MX also supports emerging standards and new web technologies with support for XML, web services and extensive accessibility compliance to retrofit existing sites and build next-generation applications. Dreamweaver MX offers complete support for new ColdFusion MX features including enhanced code editing and development capabilities, integrated debugging and visual layout and prototyping.
NPD Intelect’s February 2002 sales report shows that Dreamweaver currently holds approximately 80 percent of the professional web development tool market, which equates to more than 2.4 million web professionals, according to Macromedia.
Even though other Web development packages are already available for Mac OS X, Macromedia doesn’t feel they have lost any ground with their users by waiting to announce the next version of Dreamweaver.
“I think the Mac community knows our commitment to OS X — FreeHand was one of the very first professional tools to come out for Mac OS X,” said Berry. “This release of Dreamweaver took longer for us to build to any previous release. Our customers really wanted to be able to take what they were doing to the next level, so we put additional time into the schedule to deliver the kind of functionality that we have. What you see now in Dreamweaver MX is a product that’s going to make the Macintosh community incredibly excited.”
Macromedia Dreamweaver MX is part of the new MX product family that includes Macromedia Flash MX, ColdFusion MX and Fireworks MX
The marriage of Flash and Web applications makes a lot of sense, according to Randy Souza, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. Interactive Web applications right now are “anemic,” he said, but Flash “allows you to put together some pretty compelling and, most importantly, some pretty responsive applications.”
Along with making these sorts of Web applications responsive, Macromedia has also helped to make them easier to develop, Souza said.
Macromedia has a history of “(making) it easy for developers to understand new and emerging Web technologies,” he said, citing the releases of Dreamweaver and ColdFusion as tools that allowed users who weren’t sophisticated programmers to adopt new technologies. The company is “continuing that with MX,” he said.
While he doesn’t necessarily agree with Allaire that this is Macromedia’s broadest and most significant announcement to date, Souza did see Monday’s news as making “a ton of sense.” Bringing the various products that form Dreamweaver MX together, along with outlining a strategic direction for the company, makes for “a line of products that is very compelling,” he said.
For that line and the vision that accompanies it to succeed, however, Macromedia will need to convince developers of the importance of the user experience, demonstrate the power of the MX series and stick to their core focus of front-end applications, he said.
Priced at US$399, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX is expected to ship in May. Upgrades from previous versions of Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver UltraDev and ColdFusion Studio are $199. Dreamweaver MX is also included as part of Macromedia Studio MX, which is also expected to ship in May. Dreamweaver MX will be available for the English language in May; French and German in June; and Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish in July.
Dreamweaver MX will require a Power Mac G3 or better; Mac OS 9.1 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.1 or higher; Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer 4.0 or later; 96MB of RAM (128MB recommended); 275MB available disk space; 256 color monitor capable of 800 x 600 resolution (1024 x 768, millions of colors recommended)
Macromedia has confirmed that the tabbed document windows, available as part of the integrated workspace, is not available for the Mac. This is due to the multiple floating windows in the Mac version of Dreamweaver MX.