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Adobe continues to throw every idea it can think of at its Web-publishing tool, and version 6 features a slew of new functions and tools that should appeal to even the most jaded Web designer. GoLive 6 is the most feature-ridden Web-development tool around, and it’s mostly a good thing. Web design is a broad church to Adobe, and all are welcome. There’s something here for everyone, from designers to mom-and-pop-business types wanting to knock-up a quick brochure site, right through to hardcore Web developers looking to amp their latest database-driven community portal with the latest XML gizmology. Whether you can hand-code HTML or wouldn’t know a
tag if it bit you, there’s something here for everyone.
While page-design and HTML-coding are at the heart of GoLive, there’s a lot more besides, including image-processing capabilities, code checkers, site-mangement tools, a new workgroup application for collaborative development, and dynamic publishing and database-integration tools. The user interface (UI) has been given a slight overhaul, and there are a number of options for customizing the workspace. Users can stash palettes to the side of the screen, where they show as little tabs – clicking them slides them out into view. This is great for those starved of screen space. Users can also customize the workspace and most frequently used tools, which is a useful touch, given the diversity of uses for GoLive.
Page-layout and authoring tools have been enhanced – a useful new feature is a split-source option that shows the WYSIWYG Layout view and the HTML Source view at the same time. This saves tedious switching between Source and Layout views, and is something that users of Dreamweaver will be accustomed to. It’s also a useful tool to learn HTML by.
The enhanced CSS editor will be welcome for anyone who has tried to write a CSS template by hand, where a misplaced comma can cause the whole thing to fail. For HTML-standards purists, a syntax checker has been added, allowing you to compare code with the declared doctype or various standards, such as the W3C Strict HTML 4. This is becoming ever-more important with the vast array of browsers and platforms used to access content.
Like Dreamweaver, using the visual layout tool can easily produce dreadful code, especially when table elements are dragged around. To this end, pages can be saved as templates, also called Stationery, which allow areas to be locked and rendered uneditable. Other users can therefore create new pages, being allowed to work only with certain parts of the page, such as text.
GoLive functions as a site-creation tool as well as a page-creation tool, and is especially useful when creating quick mock-ups of sites for client approval, or for determining site structure. The Navigation view window lets you see the hierarchy of the site and its internal links. It also allows pages to be moved within the site structure – automatically changing the links.
The design diagramming tools let you create site diagrams for presentation purposes – adding comment boxes, and tweaking the arrangement of icons, for instance. You can even use this feature when the layout isn’t confirmed, adding pending links between pages before the real ones have been established. The design can then also be printed or exported as a PDF for distribution.
It’s essential to preview sites in a wide range of browsers and versions to ensure pages render out properly on the Web. Pages and sites can be previewed in any number of browsers, which can be set-up through the preferences.
Nested tables seem to be an inevitability of Web design these days, and GoLive 6 improves the navigation and management of them by allowing users to zoom into tables using the Table Palette. Table data can also be imported from an external source such as Word or Excel. However, it would be nice if table structures could be expanded and collapsed within the Source view, helping to make the code more manageable.