Top 3 New Features in Adobe Dreamweaver CS4

So what has changed from Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 to CS4? Here’s a list of the top three features you should pay attention to.

1. Smart Objects

Photoshop integration, which began in Dreamweaver CS3, has been enhanced in CS4 to offer the use of Adobe’s Smart Objects technology. A Photoshop file can be imported directly into Dreamweaver and will automatically come in as a smart object.

Photoshop images are can be inserted using the same techniques as inserting any other image file: Insert – Image; dragging from the Files panel; dragging from the Assets panel; or using the Insert toolbar. A Photoshop-style Optimise window automatically appears and you can choose the settings appropriate for that particular image usually GIF, JPEG or PNG.

The fact that the image is a smart object means that if we resize it in Dreamweaver, it will automatically be re-optimised and a new version of the image will be generated with the new dimensions. (In previous versions, resizing an image would mean that the browser was responsible for resizing which led to poor image quality.

2. CSS Improvements

HTML is a notoriously sparse environment which relies on files created with other technologies to add functionality to web pages. Typical examples of related files are server-side includes, CSS, JavaScript and XML. Dreamweaver now includes a feature called “Related Files” which enables you to edit the content of such files, without having to open them separately, and to instantly see the effect of your changes on the main file.

Whenever you open a file which contains linked files, Dreamweaver displays each of the linked files in the Related Files Bar. To access a related file just click on its name. If you make any changes to a related file, an asterisk appears next to its name in the Related Files Bar to remind you to save your changes. When you do, the impact of the changes are immediately visible in the main file.

3. Related Files

The Property Inspector can be used to change the attributes of any element you select on an HTML page. In previous versions of Dreamweaver, changing the attributes of highlighted text would cause the program to create CSS classes with names like “Style1”, “Style2”, etc. in the head area of the current page. This random creation of styles was often responsible for getting new web developers into bad habits.

In Dreamweaver CS4, the Property Inspector contains buttons which allow you to switch between HTML and CSS options. When working in the CSS options, you can now target a specific CSS rule before choosing an attribute or, if necessary, create a new rule.

The writer of this article is a developer and trainer with Macresource Computer Solutions, an independent computer training company offering Adobe Dreamweaver training courses at their central London training centre.

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Category: Web Design

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  1. daniel doak says:


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