Dreamweaver CS5 review

Dreamweaver CS5 builds on a solid foundation for designing, building and managing websites by adding new tools for PHP programming and inspecting CSS, supporting PHP-based content management systems and streamlining workflow.

The most significant advances are aimed at designers building PHP-driven websites. Unfortunately, if you rely on Dreamweaver to write PHP for you, you won’t find updates to the program’s server behaviors. Many PHP enhancements to CS5 are aimed squarely at those who hand code.

If you do like to hand code, there’s much to enjoy here. Expanded code-hinting lists functions and keywords as you type; select a hint and it writes code so you don’t have to.

Code hints support your own functions and keywords. Define a variable (for example, $theValue) and Dreamweaver is aware of it; type the first couple of letters ($th) and it suggests your variable in the code hints window.

Elsewhere, site set-ups are more refined; Dreamweaver now only initially demands a name and files-folder for a site, enabling you to add further information later. Starter CSS layouts are also improved, and there’s built-in support for Adobe’s BrowserLab service.

Yet, Dreamweaver CS5 comes up short in some areas. While cutting-edge web technologies such as web fonts, HTML5 and CSS3 aren’t finalised, they’re commonly used, and Dreamweaver’s lack of support is disappointing. Adobe offers an extension that adds HTML5 and CSS3 code hints; the former work well, but the latter’s problematic.

OUR VERDICT

Dreamweaver remains an impressive application, but suffers in trying to be all things to everyone. However, for PHP programmers in particular, it remains a good choice and dedicated existing users will find value in the new CMS and CSS tools.

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