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on January 16, 2002
If you have used Dreamweaver before, you know its possibilities. However, if you had a brief adventure with Adobe GoLive, or have been a longtime user of Microsoft FrontPage, and finally if you are new to HTML, you might consider reading this review, which is tailored for you.
REMARKS FOR HTML NOVICES
There are many ways to learn HTML, and you probably heard that there are programs which allow you to construct web pages using a visual, graphical interface, instead of monkishly writing the code. Whereas you can start from scratch, purchase a HTML compendium and then use a pure text editor to write your own code, it's not the most efficient way of doing things. Dreamweaver offers you a powerful interface, which combines all possible ways of doing the same thing. First of all, like many editors out there, it has a mode of workspace, which allows you to write the pure code. If something is wrong, it will highlight the erroneous tags and text commands you have typed. It offers tools, which clean up the code you wrote. Whatever you coded, you can always switch to 'visual' design mode, where you see what you designed. In other words, if you drew a table, the design mode will show you a table as it will look on the web, and then you can click the "code" button to see how Dreamweaver used HTML to write correct information about that table. This way, you can quickly and efficiently learn HTML, because you see it at work, and can stop at any time to see why this was coded in such and such way. The uniqueness of Dreamweaver is that it offers you the third mode, combining both the design mode and code mode. Clicking the third button, your screen is split horizontally into two windows, and in one you see the code, in another you see the real thing. In the code window, Dreamweaver simultaneously codes whatever you do in the visual window. In effect - you see the changes made in real time, which is even better for learning HTML. That's not all! The latest version of software offers a small panel, a little window, which can be hidden and shown at any time, using the launcher, a small set of icons on the status bar. There, you can look at any HTML tag, and get a full explanation (Reilly Reference) of what it does, and all possible switches and parameters used for a given tag. Also, any option called from the menu of the program has a handy HELP button, which will take you directly to the part of extensive help system of the program, where you are presented with all explanations, including screenshots. This means you will not have to search yourself, since as a novice, more often than not you won't know what you're looking for. Dreamweaver makes it easy. There is no user-friendlier program for novices that Macromedia's Dreamweaver. It's also inexpensive.
PALETTES and ERGONOMICS: Dreamweaver offers incredible set of tools for a seasoned web-designer. The same thing can be done in many ways, depending on your level of proficiency. Just like Adobe's GoLive, Dreamweaver uses floating, customizable palettes of tools - but where the two programs differ, is the actual ergonomics of palettes. In GoLive, it's very hard to work normally, unless you have two-monitor system. If the palettes are hidden, you have no way of using them, since many commands are not available elsewhere. Wherever you push the palette, it jumps back when you switch from code view to design view. In Dreamweaver, palettes stay where you want them to stay, and each palette has tabs, which save space, offering different set of tools depending on a tab. They take little space, and can be called into the screen in many ways, not to forget the always-present launcher at the task-bar.
CSS, LAYERS, OBJECTS, EXTENSIONS: Dreamweaver offers incredible integration of HTML with CSS. Instead of formatting each paragraph by hand, you can specify a set of settings once, and then simply attach a CSS file to your document, and everything will be formatted according to the specification. You need to do this once, and then updating a 300-page website requires... changing a small text file, which you can do by hand, or using a very easy CSS edit tool. If you think of expanding your site from a one-page site you wrote in FrontPage, you will find it extremely useful. Sophisticated code can be virtually "drawn" in Dreamweaver, using layer view. Drawing a table with a mouse, adding an overlapping table with pictures, scrolling text areas, and many DHTML goodies is a snap. The program will translate your drawing into proper code. Using a palette, or a menu, you can insert objects of any type, including applets, JavaScript, Flash movies, Flash buttons, encrypted email links, and images. Dreamweaver includes a special extensions manager, which installs numerous extensions available via the Macromedia website. This allows a user to add commands, tools, scripts, objects, templates, and many other tools.
VERIFICATION: The program forces you to write good code, and if you work in design view, it will generate excellent HTML code, which will be hassle-free for any browser. You also have a wide array of verification tools, including HTML cleanup, World Wide Web specification verifier, and last but not least, browser compatibility tool, which allows you to double-check cross-browser compatibility. This way you can ensure that everyone will see what you intend them to see. That's what past FrontPage users will find invaluable, since they are probably used to complaints that their FrontPage-generated output is messy, error-prone, and incompatible. Another verification tool is the site management menu, which can be accessed directly, or via the launcher, which opens a separate window, where you can modify the navigation, check and modify the links sitewide, replace links, text and anything.
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on December 23, 2000
While it seemed web design using Macromedia Dreamweaver 3 could'nt get any better, Dreamweaver 4 comes along and has managed to improve on a program that was already near flawless!
Dreamweaver 4 simply is a must buy (yes even if you have 3), it features very fluent fireworks/dreamweaver integration, a very convenient source code & design simultaneous view ability, the ability to create flash objects right within dreamweaver, improved layout, a customizable interface, and a continuous wealth of extra's that make complex web design with dreamweaver 4 almost completely automated!
Anyone who has even begun to consider this product as a web editing choice should definitely go ahead and purchase this product because it has so much quality to offer that there is literally no room to go wrong.
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on September 27, 2001
Dreamweaver has possibly one of the easiest interfaces that you could ask for in a webdesign program. I have been using DW since version 3 came out and i have not had one complaint about it. This program is leaps and bounds ahead of MS Frontpage 2002. If you still have doubts you are in luck because this is a macromedia product and as with almost any macromedia product you can download a full version as a 30 day trial to see if you like it.
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on November 5, 2001
This is it. People who have been using it for years know it, and people who are just discovering it are realizing: Dreamweaver is in a class by itself. Version 4 is the best yet, much better than it needed to be considering there wasn't any competition as it was. From beginning web-designer to experienced coder, this is one POWERFUL program. Combine it with Fireworks 4 (Macromedia's much better version of Adobe's Image Ready) and you haved it all.
Dreamweaver allows you to: -meticulously organize your sites, make master templates for page uniformity, use Cascading Style Sheets to easily customize and format various page elements, the ability to convert the CSS atributes to HTML tags for use in older browsers, update entire sites with one click, view your page in html code view OR wysiwyg OR at the SAME TIME (you can drag open a table let's say and watch the code get written like x-ray vision, OR, conversely, edit the underlying code while watching the effect on your page in front of your eyes), covert tables to layers and back again, edit graphics in Fireworks without having to enter Fireworks and re-export your work (a VERY VERY VERY timesaving feature), insert frames, tables, Flash buttons, rollovers, swap images, and other JavaScript behaviors with a simple "drag and drop".
Dreamweaver will automatically clean up messy HTML (deleting extra font tags for instance) as well as debug JavaScript behaviors. The code that version 4 writes is MUCH cleaner than version 3, and any ...programmsers have TOTAL access to the code to customize it how they see fit. You can preview your work in as many browsers as you have on your computer, and then FTP to your server right from Dreamweaver in the best FTP interface on the market. Dreamweaver automatically keeps track of all updates to any page or graphic and asks you if you would like to update other pages. For sites that will be worked on by a team there are many features to organize the work flow such as "Check In/Check Out" that keeps track of who did what to what part of the site as well as leave comments for other parts of the team. There really are too many features to list here.
Fireworks 4 has a new "button editor" that makes it ridiculously easy to generate rollover buttons or the currently trendy "dropdown menus". I personally don't like them, but they are there to use. Included are a bunch of really useful effects such as bevel and glow. The best part about this program is that vector graphics REMAIN as editable vector graphics EVEN AFTER YOU APPLY EFFECTS. You don't have to permanently convert your graphic to a bitmap first. This alone is worth the whole program. You can also set the program to use all your Photoshop plug-ins (although using SOME of them DO require you to do the evil conversion from editable vector to bitmap). Fireworks also feature "selective" JPEG compression for optimizing certain parts of the SAME image with a different JPEG compression setting (let's say 30% for a background and 70% for a detailed foreground). What other program does that? Fireworks is also THE animated GIF software. You can make them as many frames as you want as well as set the duration of each frame. Overall I think that Fireworks 4 is not as totally developed as Dreamweaver 4 is, but it does what it is supposed to do, and works flawlessly with Dreamweaver.
I can't even tell you how easy they have made it to produce 100% professional sites. The bottom line is: this package is the ABSOLUTE best web development software in existence. There is no equal. And for all you hand-coders who swear by BB-Edit or "anti-WYSIWYG" programs, you CAN entirely hand-code in Dreamweaver too. Just use code view. There is no reason to not use this program. Once you do, you will NEVER use anything else. You'll see.
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on April 6, 2002
When you think of the title of this software a certain song may go through your head; fortunately the song is ok.
Agreeing with everything superlative that has been said before, but with one complaint that I am reporting more for Dreamweaver's benefit (hoping they read these reviews as they design the next version of Dreamweaver) than for you. When working with tables, often a column or row will collapse if you haven't promptly placed some content within it. Due to this, it is essentially invisible on screen, and only after you start getting weird effects do you realize that somewhere, some invisible part of the table is messed up. However, this quirk is the only aspect of Dreamweaver that I find fault with - and even with the difficulties, I find I am using tables quite often, and effectively.
Before I upgraded to Dreamweaver, I was using a very simple WYSIWYG editor called Adobe PageMill 3.0. Although Dreamweaver's interface looked formidable in comparison (and there is much to discover in it!), it was in fact easy and intuitive to use, and now I can use java scripts and dynamic html and even, if I ever learn how to use Macromedia Flash (a distinct program available seperately), then I'll be able to import Flash content easily. In short, Dreamweaver enables everything you need to stay competitive (short of Flash, that is).
Also, the guidebook that comes with the program is extremely well written and I suggest everyone take it to bed. Once you've read it, and gotten a sense of what Dreamweaver can do, I assure you that you will rarely IF EVER need to consult with the book or with the Help menus again. It is intuitive, but reading the book will let you know what Dreamweaver is capable of, an important prerequisite.
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on December 28, 2001
This has to be the best Web Design program yet made. Simply outstanding, allows even the novice to learn how to create outstanding web pages. I used to use FrontPage 2000, and I can honestly say that I will never ever go back (and I am a die-hard MS lover). Dreamweaver kicks FrontPage's butt on ease of use and design.
A killer program, honestly.
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on January 21, 2004
Get Macromedia Dreamweaver 4. They have turned this once great web design package into a hybrid cross of something that looks like Netscape/Flash and called it Dreamweaver MX 2004.
I used Dreamweaver MX 2004 for a month, uninstalled it and went back to Dreamweaver 4. It really is that terrible and the work space is terribly cluttered making it very hard to work within.
Bottom Line -- Get Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 instead if you can find it. Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 is a very good web design package that knocks Dreamweaver MX 2004 for ten. You will simply hate Dreamweaver MX 2004 when you install it on your system. I nearly barfed after a month of using that *new* completely hostile and non-user friendly piece of unstable and slow excuse for a web design software program.
Get this instead ... if you can find it...
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on April 28, 2001
Dreamweaver 4 has layout view as well as standard view facility. This software makes you create web sites with hundreds of possibilities like animation, showing and hiding pictures, many java script's behaviurs and that too withou writing single line of script. If you have used FrontPage 2000, initially the interface of Dreamweaver look different and little confusing. But keep on trying, you will be master of this product in no time. My suggestion is to go to "tutorial" folder of this software and complete "Compass" site available with the product. This site gives you confidence of using Dreamweaver 4. Best software among all web designing tools available in the market. If you are quite familiar with FrontPage, you will be surprised to learn that with Dreamweaver you can not create Forms/Frames as easily as FrontPage. Specially form need much configuration....
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on November 29, 2001
Now Macromedia has been known for their web design software but dreamweaver BLOWS all other web design software out of the water.(Yes even Frontpage)Dreamweaver is the best tool for anyone who wants to create a professional website in a couple days. Now if you want to make a small website about your dog then I wouldn't buy this program. It does have quite a high price but compared to the other web design softwares it's cheap. I have tried Coffecup,frontpage,hotdog,coolpage, and a whole list of others but dreamweaver is the best. The new split view allows you to edit in HTML and WYSIWYG! Who WOULDN't buy this product? Another Great Product from Macromedia(If you still don't trust this review let me tell you something. I am a fifth grade student and I still find dreamweaver one of the easiest to use programs on the planet. Now will you buy it?)
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on December 31, 2015
So far so good and I have Windows 7. It says not to use with this OS but thought I would try anyway for $20. Did not come with manual, but did have a manual on the disc and I bought DREAMWEAVER for DUMMIES, which is great. I am not a coder, so it will take a while for me to learn this product, but want to build a website, AboutKnittingMachines.com, then just park it on a hosting site.

Right now GO DADDY not only hosts my site, but I also use their website builder and I find it very limiting and does not allow me to change the templates much. When I do make changed it tends to revert back to it's original font, format and colours. I do not know a ton, but I do know enough to understand how to customize. So I pay monthly to park it and use their templates that are very finicky. Some said use WordPress, but I did not like it, so decided to try this option, just had to find something I could afford. Current versions of ANY website builders run $300 and up!!

Some said the this version they had issues with anything OS that was Wndows 7 and newer, I have not. It loaded fine, took the serial number and everything seems good so far. As I learn it more and use more of the options, only time will tell if I run into issues with W7.

I also own Corel Website Builder, and it is no longer supported or distributed and made by Corel, so when I saw this and the remarks at how easy it was to use I just could not resist for $20. I will update this review if things change over time.
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