Dreamweaver 3 allows semi skilled computer users to develop a simple or technical webpage with ease. I am familiar with HTML code, but tables have always been a mystery to me. When I purchased Dreamweaver I was very pleased to see a "format table" option which allows the user to specify colour settings to spice up the tables. Also cells may be merged and adjusted at the click of a mouse button. All HTML code is generated automatically so users without knowledge of HTML will have no problems at all. HTML is only visible if you want it to be. I choose to display the HTML code as I find it very educational - You insert something at the click of a button then find out the code! The help file is actually very helpfull, so no more reading through heavy manuals! Although the package is user friendly it is recommended that the user is aware of all the features. I produced a web site without exploring everything. The site was outstanding but I could have made it twice as better if I had of explored all of the features. Rollover images also puzzled me, but again these can be achieved easily by specifying two images "Original image" and "rollover image". Once the two images have been specified, the user just has to type in a URL and hey presto! an image which changes when pointed to and a link to another web page! Users familisr with Macromedia products will be pleased to hear that most file formats are compatible with Dreamweaver including Flash, Shockwave, Generator and Fireworks. The package works on a WYSIWYG basic (What you see is what you get). When an image or a block of text is placed on-screen, that is how it will be displayed when the page is published. The user interface consists of "panels" which are basically toolbars which can moved around the work area. These panels can be hidden if you do not intend to use any tools in the panel. It is this flexibility which makes
Dreamweaver 3 the ultimate user friendly web site production software package.
I was checking back over my opinion writing career (Call that a career? - Mrs D) and noticed that I have been contributing my wit and wisdom to the grateful world ever since I first happened upon the Ciao site in September 2000. The first op way back then (in the wrong category - ooops!), I noticed was on Dreamweaver. In the light of anniversary time fast approaching, I thought it may be fitting to present the Greatest Hit of dave27 with an in depth consideration of that epitome of web authoring tools, ladies and gentlemen, the mighty Dreamweaver from Macromedia.... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The days when the mobile telephone was the ultimate status symbol have long since gone. These days, the thing you have to have if you're in with the In Crowd is a website (and a domain name if you can stir your stumps) and if you're serious about building your own site, then you will undoubtedly have happened upon the subject of this evening's op from the skilful pen of the opinion writer laureate, dave27. What DO you mean, "What am I talking about?" You know it's gotta be the weaver of dreams. This splendid series of application programs is now up to version 4, but I thought I'd offer my thoughts on its predecessor, version 3, which was what I was using at the time of that first op. Dreamweaver is a surprisingly easy to use website development tool which allows you to build a page in much the same way that you would write a Word document which includes graphics, and then the program develops the HTML (hypertext markup language) code on which the website is built automatically. You never need to know how to write HTML yourself (although there are advantages if you can edit the code) and I can't emphasis strongly enough how extremely easy and intuitive this all is. There is, of course, one extremely bad aspect of the DW experience, however, and that, as nearly everyone will be able to te
ll you is the price. A new copy of Dreamweaver on its own will run you nearly £270 including VAT, while a package with the Macromedia graphics design program would stack up at around 400 notes. You undoubtedly get extremely good programs for that money, but it's an awful lot of dough to shell out if you just want to mess about and design a few web pages. Conversely if you want to get into websites in a big way or even professionally then DW is virtually mandatory and you can't manage without it. So it's a case of you pays your money, you takes your choice. Version 3 came to the market around March 2000, which was a couple of years after the first version of DW saw the light of the day and it served to bolster Macromedia's monopoly of the high end web authoring market. PC Pro's write up of the new version was fairly typical of the reviews at the time: "For Web professionals and enthusiasts alike, Dreamweaver has been a godsend ever since its introduction. The way it balanced design and layout elements with an elegant interface and a comprehensive set of useful tools has secured it a place on PC Pro's A List ever since." The hype in this particular case is thoroughly merited and I have to say that DW3 is extremely good for both novice and professional alike, as it combines extreme simplicity and ease of use with extremely powerful and flexible features. I cut my teeth on DW2 and learned (in my bumbling, shambolic way) how to design rudimentary, rough and ready web pages with that particular package, which I had as a trial version from one of the freebie disks you get on the PC mags. After the 30 day trial had ended, I was so absolutely dependent on the package that I immediately went and laid out the necessary to get my sticky mitts on the new version and found it truly indispensable and very made to measure. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just a quick note before we go an
y further - when I started producing web pages using DW2, I just slung a load of layers slapdash on the canvas, but quickly got to know that though it may look fine and dandy to you on the monitor you designed it on, it can look a really amateurish mess on other monitors or other browsers. One trick you need to learn to make sure the pages come out in the way that you intended is the judicious and well planned organisation of tables to keep your material set out how you want them to look. DW3 is extremely good at manipulating tables, allowing you to merge and demerge cells exactly how you wish and using nested tables allows you to ensure everything stays exactly where you intended. It's a bit fiddly at first and you need to think about what you are doing, but a little pre-planning is well worth the effort. Okay, back to the script..... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When you open the Dreamweaver package, it closely resembles a graphics package in both style and feel, and once you get used to how everything works, it is probably even easier to use. There are two interface views - the first is the Site View and the main one is the Design View (tricky stuff this!). The Site View gives an excellent graphical display showing how all the pages link together and relate and is good for keeping an overview of how your site is organised. I have to say that I have never really gotten into using this view and have done all my work in the Design View. It hasn't done me any harm, so rest assured that if you want to, you can get along just fine with just the one interface. When you first open the Design View, at first it looks EXTREMELY CONFUSING and COMPLICATED, in common with many of the graphics packages. It has a multitude of windows and tools palettes and unless you can get them organised properly, you can get a very fussy and ugly looking desktop where it's difficult to understand what it all mea
ns. The key palette you need to know about is the object properties window, which allows you to do all stuff like formatting, picture descriptions, URL links, alternate text for your images, etc and if you use it properly this is a great helper with productivity. The way you set up the pages is by the use of layers, and as I've said already the best way to ensure control is the use of tables, so I normally just open one layer, which I anchor at the top left hand corner of the page and then insert a table into it. If you need to insert an image you just Insert Image at the appropriate location, remembering of course that the image will have to be located in the site folder along with the pages. You also need to remember that all the file names need to be completely lower case as capital letters pay absolute havoc with Dreamweaver. One key tip for decent organisations is to dump all your image files in a separate sub folder in your main site file and this can help productivity significantly. To insert text anywhere, all you do is simply type. Another immensely productive tool is the template. You can set up a template and base all the pages in your site upon it in order to ensure a standard look and feel for your site. This can save you an awful lot of time, particularly if you're setting up a lot of pages, but you need to bear in mind that you won't be able to vary the page title, description, keywords and meta tags between different pages without detaching them first from the template. Oh well, a small price to pay for such great productivity, but you will probably come to curse this particular issue. DW3 is excellent for setting up frame based sites, but again I have to say that I've never been fond of frames and normally stick to flat pages. DW3 also gives you the facility to edit the HTML code itself so if you're an experienced programmer, you can make it look even more exactl
y how you want. There is also the option to customise the menus and overall set up if you're of the inclination, although that's always been a step too far for me. Okay, those are the main features and facilities you get with DW3. Now, how good is it? Well, let me tell you, it's BLOODY EXCELLENT, very flexible, powerful and well designed and yet at the same time VERY SIMPLE TO USE once you understand the basic principles and key features. This one gets one of those ultimate dave27 seals of excellence that denotes a best of breed product. But then, it is my greatest hit….
In a great many spheres, there is an industry leader, one product or company which has consistently proved itself the best of the bunch, one which everyone will turn to as their first choice. In vacuum cleaners, it's Hoover, in private medical insurance, it's BUPA. The world of web design software is no exception and here without fear of contradiction I can state that it's Macromedia's Dreamweaver (no surprises there). Macromedia are now pushing version 4 of this program, but I thought I'd focus on Dreamweaver 2 as it's the one that most web designers probably cut their teeth on and in many ways there haven't been very substantial developments since then, although the minor tweaks and midifications have undoubtedly enhanced the product. Dreamweaver was the first product I looked at when I was getting into website design a couple of years ago, and I was alerted to its eminence by .tv's Masterclass programme, hosted by Richard Topping (what a wonderful fellow!) You can use Word apparently, but there seems to be some drawbacks in terms of flexibility there, so I'd urge you to get started on something that is specifically designed for the job and DW is the beast. I managed to get a demo version which had one month's trial available from one of those ubiquitous cover discs and was rapidly so au fait with the program and consequently dependent on it, that I simply had to rush out and but a copy. It doesn't run very cheap, be prepared to spend a couple of hundred quid (at the very least!), unless you want to get the combined package which also contains Macromedia's graphics package, Fireworks, but it is undoubtedly well worth the price and much, much more. The most notable feature of DW is that it combines very easy, intuitive, user friendly ease of use with a great deal of power and flexibility and even the raw beginner can quickly churn out some pretty professional looking r
esults. It's probably worth saying that you get the best results when you use tables and embedded tables as the basic framework of your pages as that ensures the content stays where it was intended - my first few attempts ended up looking like a right pig's breakfast when looked at via a different screen set up from that which it had been designed on. The other thing to note is the efficienncy and labour saving tools incorporated with DW, including, most notably, templates, where you can set up the same look and feel for each page in your site, although this will generally mean each one has to have the same set of keywords, meta tags, etc, although the title can vary. There's lots of other neat stuff here including cascading style sheets, server side includes and frames, but I've found those generally best left to the pros. I want a simple program that's easy to use and makes things look exactly how I want them to and I certainly got that with DW, and I cannot recommend this product too highly, it's absolutely wonderful and Macromedia are to be heartily congratulated. From the reading and research I've done, this seems to be the general consensus of opinion and DW is universally highly regarded. PC Pro has made all of its various versions their A-List choice for some time and I think that speaks for itself. If you are a beginner, do not worry, you will find this an amzingly easy program, although it is also the one of choice for even the experts and professionals. The manuals are all online and the help menu is very informative and well ladi out - it is very easy to quickly become very accomplished.
For those of us who learned to code HTML using good old Notebook this application can seem to lessen peoples desire to learn the various techniques required for successful page building because of its vast array of easily navigable and usable tools. I do not subscribe to this however as I have found this editor to be an indispensable piece of authoring software. Since I started using this software package seven months ago my appreciation for the depth of facilities contained within it has simply increased from one month to the next. The ability to create rollover navigation bars and other such niceties as the ability to use layers put this program head and shoulders its counterparts. The users ability to drag and drop components on the page work surface makes life so much easier when designing the page. Ok, I have to admit I find it annoying when I am editing the script and find the program has inserted extraneous tags but I am willing to put up with this one downer because of what the program can do. Although very easy for an experienced web author to utilise I would certainly say that this is not an entry level editor by any means. The software makes it easy to create basic pages but to use something as powerful as Dreamweaver 3 to do that simple task is an insult not just to the package but also to its designers. I also believe that people are more likely to be concerned with the learning the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface that Dreamweaver utilises rather than bother to learn the basic coding rules but that is something that people like myself will have to accept. Macromedia have, through the release of the Dreamweaver series of products, has I believe constructed a market leading product that will establish new web authoring boundaries.
When you open up dreamweaver for the first time, all the separate windows that suddenly appear all over your screen can initially be a little daunting. But do not fear, it really is a very simple package to learn. The main windows that you will need to use are the "site" window, which shows all your folders and files for your site, an actual page editor window where you can build and edit how a page looks and a smaller window known as the "properties" window, which you will need, to be able to add and change the various properties of the text, tables and images etc within the page that you are working on. It quickly becomes second nature on dreamweaver to edit images, links, add items from the library (such as standard page footers or combinations of images and text, for instance), or add features such as special behavours for a particular link. A very useful feature is the F12 key which instantly pops up a sample browser window of the page that you are working on so that you can spot any amendments that you need to make at an early stage. You can specify whether this will be IE or Netscape. Posting pages to your server is a simple click of the "put" button. If you want to fetch a file from the server this in turn can easily be done through the "get" button. Its that easy! In effect, you can build a complete, fairly complex website on your pc and then post the whole site onto a server, in the knowledge that your site will work properly first time round. So if you get the chance to use it (its not cheap at £300), then take it, you won't be disappointed. It is possible to evaluate it for free for 30 days, but then if thats all you get, you'd miss it once its gone from your pc. It gets a thumbs up!
Dreamweaver 3 is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) program designed to make creating your own web sites as quick and easy as possible. It’s one of those programs that will always take advantage of your particular degree of knowledge, and as such, both home users and professionals will benefit from using it. Upon launching the program for the first time, it may appear daunting – there are lots of windows with small icons and not very much in the way of explanation. A piece of advice (and this goes for using any WYSIWYG HTML editor) for those of you who are dabbling in HTML is that while it’s not necessary to actually know any HTML to use these programs, it does pay to know a bit about what’s used on the internet. If you know a little about Flash, Shockwave, layers, CSS, ActiveX and applets, for example, then things should go a lot smoother for you! There’s no point in me explaining every single detail of what Dreamweaver is capable of doing, or not, as the case may be, but as a person who regards himself to have an intermediate knowledge of HTML and what goes on over the World wide Web, I have to say that Dreamweaver has done everything that I’ve asked of it so far. There are simple controls for inserting rollover images, navigation bars, Flash effects and all the other common web technologies. For the beginner, the help files are very useful, explaining how to do basic things in plain English, and it also has a good tutorial for the first time user. For more advanced users, there are simple controls for inserting SSI, good tools for site management and mapping. It contains all the other tools you would expect from such a program such as previewing in browsers, actual HTML editing at source level. As well as that, Macromedia have provided lots of resources from their web site (go to www.macromedia.com for templates etc
.) where you can also download trial versions of their software for your evaluation. You can also pick up trial versions of their software from internet magazine cover mounted CD’s (.net is usually a good place) or, if you’re particularly lucky, one of them will carry an slightly older version (until recently I was using version 1.2 which came free from a .net cover CD). With Dreamweaver being aimed at the professional, it does make sense that you will gain more by creating larger, more complicated sites than a simpler 6 page one about Moggy your cat, but I have found Dreamweaver to be one of the more user friendly programs on the market, and even though I am currently at the stage where I’m designing “6 pagers” I have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone. The only bad point I can see about Dreamweaver is the price. Unless you are Bill Gates himself, spending £270 on a piece of software to use at home is out of reach of most home users. For professionals though, this must be the tool of choice.
In my line of work as a web designer i often get asked what types of software i use to produce such good well presented web pages. The main two programs that come up are director and dreamweaver! A lot of people have there opinions on both packages but ive been lucky enough to learn how to operate both in my short career and have come up with what i think is the best package to use for the type of web page that is being designed. To start with i think Dreamweaver is the best package to use to make your web page interactive and presentable, it is also very easy to use and get to grips with. On the other side Dreamweaver lacks in animation techniques and exciting behaviours. Director is very good for making a page come to life, because it is a timeline based package it is good to make images and sound activate at certain points and times in the page. If you have experience in both packages then its fantastic to combine them both, bu tif you want to learn just on to produce a web page then choose Dreamweaver because of the interactivity that it offers.
Macromedia's Dreamweaver is pretty much the easiest and most flexible what-you-see-is-what-you-get HTML editor I have ever used. Typing text onto a web page can be done just like a word processor, and inserting images, tables, layers etc. can be done via the Insert Menu - it is as easy as that! The help files give an extensive coverage of all the features and how they can be used. You don't even need to touch any HTML code! If there is an HTML code you'd like to use, just copy it from the source and paste it in Dreamweaver (using the normal cut/copy and paste techniques), and voila, you see the actual layout of the code you just pasted!
Macromedia Dreameaver is THE one and only web-authoring tool. Unlocking the potenial of the site, emphasised when used in conjunction with Macromedia's other great and versatile web utilities (Flash, Shockwave and Director etc). Macromedia is certainly not reccommended ofr the web designer writing their first site, or for those creating minor sites - there are other, much better suited tools for the job; and MUCH cheaper (even free). This is mainly due to the fact that getting to grips with Macromedia Dreamweaver really takes some doing and is greatly helped if you have any previous experience with web-authoring. Once the basics have been learnt though, creating the web's most interesting and best sites is as easy as pie, but you'll still find yourself learning new methods and features for a LONG while. I bet Dreamweaver was used by the Dooyoo site architects! There really is no real point in listing its features as Dreamweaver has the LOT - you name it, it's got it. You'd expect no less for that hefty £300 price tag! If you're venturing in to the world of sitedom, or already have but want something beefier for your big project: why are you even bothering to read this when you should know that you just don't look at anything other than Dreamweaver. Brace yourself! Harry
Macromedia have done it again! Dreamweaver 3 is *the* definative HTML and WYSIWYG web editing program. This is how WYSWYG should be. In my opinion you can keep all your Front Pages and Your Go Lives Im happy with my MAcromedia Dreamweaver! I am using this alongside Flash 4, Flash 5, and Fireworks at the moment so I have the full Macromedia sweet and I couldnt find a better combinatiuon if I tried! Dreamweaver has made my web authoring days so much easier! Instead of having to view a seperate page for the HTML code of my site - poof - there it is right next to it! Macromedia You have done it again!
A web designer will tell you that you can not design a good website by hand, by just typing the bare HTML. You need a tool to help you do it quicker, bigger, better. Dreamweaver is THAT tool. What makes a difference is that the html code generated is not "stupid" as some others software-generated code, so if you need to read it, you're not lost. Plus you can use templates to apply the same layout to all your site. Plus you can see the code at all time, with the wonderful homesite. Plus you can easily integrate Flash. If you're serious about web design, you need that as a friend to your graphic image tool.
Dreamweaver 3 has expanded upon the triumphs of Dreamweaver 1 and 2 in bringing WYSIWYG web design to the masses. Initially billed as a professional tool, Dreamweaver has quickly emerged to be the tool for webpage design. Although its price tag might initally put people off, for anyone seriously considering webdesign, and who uses the web a great deal, this package is nigh on impossible to beat. Firstly it scores points over MS Frontpage, in that it does not spew out proprietary source code into documents, and it will also clean up source code from other programs. This is something that Adobe GoLive5.0 cannot offer. Secondly there is a great deal of development for Dreamweaver 3, and with the easy to install Dreamweaver Extensions, it is possible to make this already powerful package even more powerful. Developers freely submit their extensions and Macromedia, wanting to promote the development of these extensions obliges by compiling a site, and by approving extensions if they are felt to be of a good standard. Thirdly for people working on multiple sites, the site manager functions are a godsend, as not only can you manage multiple sites, but it is also possible to use Dreamweaver as your FTP program, thus simplifying your server upload process. The Site manager also allows you to produce sitemaps and to manage your site in an explorer style environment. Fourthly it is not browser dependent, which partially explains why Frontpage spews out proprietary source code. Dreamweaver has built in parsers so that you can see if your code is acceptable for all sorts of browser. The customisability of Dreamweaver as mentioned above sets it apart from other software, and it recognises that it is not entirely standalone, and in this respect alsos you to customise it to interact with other necessary software, for example setting Photoshop as your default tool for graphics editting. Given the fact that the Macromedia stable boasts a
lot of the most prominent tools in webdesign - eg. Shockwave Flash etc. the seamless integration with these packages is another standard tool which makes life easier for webdesigners. Whilst the pricetag may put some people off, it is money well spent, and a lot more reasonable than the necessary outlay for Adobe GoLive 5.0 and the accompanying software necessary for a complete webdesign solution. I cannot heap too much praise upon Dreamweaver 3.
Dreamweaver 3.0 is an excellent product that is very easy to use and allows you to create professional looking web sites in a relatively short space of time. I have used many other html editors, but none come close to dreamweaver for functionality or ease of use. I have created quite a few websites and the way in which you can create template web pages makes writing multiple page websites a dream! The Help system is very clear and concise and explains how to use the product very well. Anybody that is serious about writing web sites must have this product, it is reasonably priced and can also be bought as a bundle with Fireworks (which is another excellent product).