Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 review: Adobe Dreamweaver CS4

Dreamweaver's new Live View shows stuff otherwise tricky to spot in JavaScript running in a browser, such as image rollovers. For instance, you can freeze a view of the rollover state while you're working with code in Dreamweaver. And Live Code view lets you preview how JavaScript works in your HTML pages. Thoughtful shortcuts include Dreamweaver's autofill suggestions as you look for items in JavaScript libraries. In addition, Adobe has added enhancements for building complex Web forms without deep developer knowledge by using the Spry framework.

There's more cooperation among the Creative Suite overall. For instance, you can drag and drop SWF files into Dreamweaver pages. With Photoshop Smart Objects, you can drop PSD files into Web pages without losing track of source files. Dreamweaver also allows the option of altering selected images in Fireworks.

With each Creative Suite upgrade, Adobe expands options for exporting content to a variety of platforms, such as with interactive preview skins of Dreamweaver designs on the latest mobile phones. And developers of Web-tied desktop Adobe AIR applications can now use Dreamweaver for the HTML and JavaScript.

Service and support
Getting Started help for installation issues and other speed bumps lasts for 90 days. Adobe's comprehensive, self-serve tech support options include embedded and online look-ups, tutorials, and videos. The new Adobe Support Portal requires an Adobe log-in and password. Newbies would be wise to get up to speed with the interactive tutorials and maybe even third-party books and Web sites. Web-based forums with other users, as well as the Community Support in beta testing, may be the best bargain for getting hands-on advice.

Don't bother trying to seek extra help without a registered serial number; the days of "borrowing" copies of heavy-duty Adobe software from friends are long gone. Help with a live Adobe representative continues to be expensive. Each year we find the pricing options harder to find on Adobe's Web pages. The Bronze level of support, for five prepurchased incidents, is $175. Unlimited Silver support costs $1,200, three times the cost of Dreamweaver itself.

The $399 price of Dreamweaver hasn't changed since CS3. Users of earlier versions can pay the $199 upgrade fee. That's steep, even for the upgrade, if you're already happy with an earlier edition of Dreamweaver. Unless you've been tearing your hair out over hard-to-find or tricky-to-fix dynamic coding in CS3, this upgrade isn't necessary. However, more so than the introduction of CS3, this Dreamweaver update offers more progress with practical tools as well as cohesion within the Creative Suite. Professionals who might save time and money from the coding conveniences and added integration with Photoshop and other CS4 applications will find Dreamweaver CS4 a worthy treat.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 packages with Dreamweaver CS4

Creative Suite 4 Master Collection
$2,499 $899 (from CS3); $1,599 from other CS3 suites; $1,199 from two older suites

Creative Suite 4 Design Premium
$1,799 $599 (from CS3); $599-$799 (from Studios or CS 1-2)

Creative Suite 4 Web Premium
$1,699 $599 (from CS3); $599-$799 (from Studios or CS 1-2)

Creative Suite 4 Web Standard
$999 Special upgrade pricing available

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Where to Buy See all prices

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4

Part Number: 65013483 Released: Sep 22, 2008
Low Price: $2,995.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep 22, 2008
  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC