Dreamweaver (updated).

Author:Shank, Patti
 
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Dreamweaver (updated), CD-ROM, 2004, Adobe Systems Incorporated, $199-$399.

This review is based on an earlier version of Dreamweaver, but the basic functionality of the current product is similar For a summary of the new features in the latest version of the product, click here.

For an evaluation of Dreamweaver by a panel of 33 expert users, click here.

Dreamweaver is a very popular general web authoring tool. It's one of the standard tools used by zillions of web developers for developing websites of all kinds. As a general web authoring tool, it is not designed specifically for creators of online instructional materials, but that doesn't lessen its appeal. Adobe has supported instructional web development to a large extent, which is evident in their focus, products, and support.

Please keep one important thing in mind while you read this review. I've been a strong supporter of Dreamweaver for a long time, and it is the authoring tool I personally use most frequently. I like it because of its complete flexibility. I can build whatever I need and it plays nicely with programming, databases, other tools, and other Adobe products for building animations (Flash) and graphics (Fireworks). I count on all of this flexibility for the work I do so this is a huge plus for me.

If you are new to web authoring, I recommend finding and getting familiar with the Getting Started Guide, available from Dreamweaver's Help menu and some good references described later in this review.

Documentation

The primary source of documentation is the embedded Getting Started Guide available from the Help menu. It's a start but not enough if you're a new web developer. The documentation clearly assumes that you will be out there building high-end web applications from day one. Support for newbies is less than desirable, in my opinion.

The content and design of the Dreamweaver Home and the Dreamweaver Developer Center can be intimidating to newbie developers. That's a shame because new developers can certainly use Dreamweaver.

You're likely going to want to use some other resources as well as the documentation and online materials. Try the large Dreamweaver community, which now includes blogs (doesn't everything?). Here are some Dreamweaver basic tutorials sites I recommend to my students and clients:

* It's a Web Thang

* Design On Line

* Webmonkey

I also recommend purchasing the books How to Do Everything with Dreamweaver 8 (How to Do Everything) and Dreamweaver 8: The...

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