Dreamweaver 8 is one of the best in fact the best coding, web design, visual design program for people who have great knowledge in php, html, and all other coding languages. But another amazing thing is that you really don't need to know any of that and Dreamweaver 8 will still full fill you. I have a personal website myself and I created it with Dreamweaver from scratch just pure coding. Every person who has a website should buy this program it is worth it. Also about every good web designer or coder that have big websites have Dreamweaver 8. Of course there are new versions of this program but I have always sticked to 8. Doesn't you as much RAM and no bugs/errors. Dreamweaver 8 is also an FTP client and can manager mySQL databases and test servers. There are so many features of Dreamweaver 8 is the ultimate source for web designers! Also Dreamweaver 8 comes with some basic layouts for you to use. Sure this program is around 500.00+ but trust me its wroth your money. You will not regret buying this program!
Dreamweaver 8 is one of the established tools of choice for Web design, It allows you to create web pages to complete sites or edit existing sites with ease. Even if you know nothing about the code used to create web pages, Dreamweaver writes the necessary code in the background while you concentrate on the design of the page, The code is still accessible and you don't have to worry about Dreamweaver rewriting it if your a programer.
I've been using Dreamweaver MX2004 (Dreamweaver 8 predecessors) for the past 3 years, only on a amateur level to create simple web pages for personal use and enjoyed what I was doing so decided to take it to the next level and start learning to become a pro (hopefully). After a lot of searching and asking questions I found a excellent video tutorial site on many topics including both MX2004 and Dreamweaver 8, Since I was planning on going pro it only seemed right to get the latest dreamweaver 8 tutorial as I would have to upgrade at some point, after watching the first chapter of the tutorial and seen that it taught me so much about MX2004 with such ease I was certain buying Dreamweaver 8 would not be a waist of money as the tutorial also showed me what new features I was missing out on in version 8, I'm glad to say that I made the right choice and I'm certain any one else looking to upgrade will be satisfied as well.
Installing Dreamweaver 8
I was using Dreamweaver MX2004 (Dreamweaver 8 predecessors) and decided to just install Version 8 over MX2004, I wasn't sure if this new version would install over, or alongside the old, as I was never prompted to uninstall or install over MX2004. So after installation was complete I decided to find out, I started Dreamweaver MX2004 and it opened right up, just in case you wanted to keep both versions for some reason you can do so without conflict.
Even though it's a large program, Dreamweaver 8 took only minutes to install. Dreamweaver 8 also imports your web sites and passwords from MX2004, An excellent feature if you have loads of web sites in MX2004.
Dreamweaver 8 interface resembles that of MX2004. Its the same familiar design and code layouts also including some new ones. If you have never used Dreamweaver before its interface of well organized and easy to pick up all the most used options have there own place and identifying symbol in a toolbar which you can customize by putting your mostly used icons in a separate favorites list, personally I don't use it, I did set up my favorites but the tool bar is perfectly set up and just as easy to navigate.
New enhancements in this version allow you to zoom in for more detailed page view, ruler guides make it easier to measure items within a page, it's also possible to drag and arrange tabbed windows in any order you choose, also save and load customized layouts and group panels together through the menu. Simply put you can totally customize your own preferences and save them to load on demand for your preferred working layout.
Version 8 also has a new built-in dual screen workspace option... perfect since a lot of graphics cards come with the dual screen option.
As with the other versions of Dreamweaver you have a built in FTP (which stands for File Transfer Protocol it uploads your finished web sites to your server/hosting provider) but in this version you will appreciate the new background file transfer, which adds the ability to transfer files between local and remote sites in the background while you carry on working on the page content, before you had to sit patiently for the upload to finish however that was a good excuse to take a break and put the kettle on.
If you're a coder, there's a new formatting toolbar which gives you the ability to collapse code, allowing you to show or hide select sections of HTML and other code. This allows for much faster navigation, and it allows you to get an overview of the web page. A new approach to tag completion keeps tabs on the tags, as you start the code, it will close the appropriate tag for you. it may be a small feature, but it makes coding just a little bit easier.
Dreamweaver has support for nearly every Web technology, including XML, CSS, PHP, WebDAV, ColdFusion 7 MX, and Flash 8, Dreamweaver also has an option to fix HTML code from Microsoft Word and other web design programs, I witnessed it clean over 200 lines of unnecessary code from a word document and it actually improved the look of the web page.
A new Paste option lets you retain formatting of text and tables from a copied source, I'm in split decision about this option, if I ever wanted to replicate something exactly I could, most time I just want content to format as I please, but options are there for you to choose what works best.
CSS which stands for Cascading Style Sheet allows you to make a single rule for all your web pages to follow, for example the text size and font, background colour, headings styles will all be the same on each of your pages by making and attaching the Cascading Style Sheet, this makes it a lot easier to alter your web pages by simply changing the single CSS page it will apply all the changes to every web page the sheet is attached too, instead of having to go through all the pages separately, which is a big time saver if your have 50 pages you want to change.
The CSS functions now have their own panel for easy access, and also has a colour-coded view option which give the various codes there own colour in design view, I don't really find the colour coding that helpful but it might be for others.
Dreamweaver 8 is definitely worth the upgrade. The stability is good. There's really nothing about this latest version 8 that isn't great. If you're a coder, you'll be pleased that this version is finally a tool that's worthy of a coder. If you're a designer, it's still a great tool, made even better by its much improved CSS handling and layout.
If your a beginner or know nothing about building web pages/sites this is probably a bit pricey to get into, you will probably need to buy additional learning resources which can start costing as much as the program, A good video tutorial is by far superior than most books on the market and it shows in price. There is a Getting Started guide in Dreamweaver 8. Tutorials are detailed, although more screenshots or some animation would have been better. Dreamweaver 8 includes an huge help file, plus access to an online support center, with well-written FAQs and tutorials, as well as forums with other users you can chat with.
I would suggest to beginners to look at MX2004 as a starting point, it will be a lot cheaper since the release of the new version and still holds all the abilities to make a professional web sites and you can still purchase and use version 8 tutorials with MX2004. The cost of version 8 varies a lot from anywhere upto £200 for an update from a previous version to almost £400 for the full version from the main web site, Just shop around at different stores I have seen the full version for £250 at one place then £300 at another, store's probably get a bulk buying discount thats why they undercut each other by so much, just bear that in mind if you decide to buy any Dreamweaver software online
Although I've tried my best to keep this review easy to read and understand to all, a basic understanding of how web sites are made and work may help with some of the terms I've used, I found it unavoidable for some parts but explained the most relevant terms hopefully in a way for all to get to grips with.