Adobe offers sneak peek of CS4 apps

Trials of early versions of the next Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Soundbooth are available for download at Adobe Labs.

Adobe Systems is offering two-day trials of three beta applications from its next Creative Suite package.

The previews of Dreamweaver for Web design, Fireworks for image editing, and Soundbooth for audio editing became available Monday.

Trials expire after 48 hours for most people, but registered CS3 users get to keep using the CS4 betas until the final applications replace them.

Adobe hasn't publicly confirmed its planned shipping date or the name for the next Creative Suite, which we're nicknaming CS4. Adobe Creative Suite 3 was released in March 2007.

We took a quick test drive of the Dreamweaver trial and liked some of the changes. Among the touted enhancements are a Related Files Toolbar and Code Navigator. The Properties panel integrates HTML and CSS coding, which could save time for those who edit dynamic sites. A new Live View Mode, driven by Webkit open-source rendering, previews pages within Dreamweaver, eliminating the need to open a browser. Adobe intends for this feature to make it easier to debug JavaScript as well as to work with Flash animation.

The interface of Fireworks, originally from Macromedia, finally resembles those of other applications in the Creative Suite. Fireworks features compatibility with Adobe's AIR, Flash, and Flex Builder as well as HTML. And users can export design mockups as high fidelity, interactive, and secure Adobe PDF files.

Soundbooth adds support for multiple track editing as well as volume matching across audio files. Users can preview the compression settings before saving MP3s. Speech recognition is supposed to enable quick, searchable transcripts of dialog content.

There's no word yet on whether the next rough draft of Photoshop will be available for a free trial. However, Photoshop's next iteration may become available in widgets, enabling users to mix and mash up some features with third-party content, according to a blog post last week by Photoshop product manager John Nash. We suspect that there will be more opportunities to blur the lines between the desktop, the Web, and mobile platforms within the next Creative Suite.

System requirements for the Windows trials demand a machine running XP or Vista with at least 512MB of RAM, 1 gigabyte of disk space, and a Pentium 4 processor. Mac users must have OS X version 10.4.11 or later on a PowerPC G5 or Intel-based system. Soundbooth, however, won't run on a PowerPC Mac.

 

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