Editors' note: Shortly after this review appeared, Adobe changed its technical support policy, and we have made the appropriate changes to our review. For details, please see our corrections page.
For years, Adobe GoLive has been locked in a tough fight against Macromedia's , and although GoLive CS offers many new Web-site creation features, this latest version feels like the least revised of the Adobe Creative Suite family. If you currently work extensively in Illustrator and Photoshop, GoLive CS's ability to import Photoshop, Illustrator, and PDF files with layers intact will simplify your life. And GoLive CS's Smart Objects, which allow you to prep and update objects in your preferred application, integrates well across the entire suite. But outside the Creative Suite environment, GoLive CS isn't yet compelling enough for you to forsake Dreamweaver in its favor.
If you're familiar with basic software installation options, GoLive CS is a relatively painless operation. Unlike, GoLive CS does not require that you activate it within a month of installation.
GoLive began life as a product called GoLive CyberStudio from a German company called GoLive. Years after Adobe purchased it and renamed it GoLive, much--perhaps too much--of the original application remains. In fact, of all the Creative Suite applications, the GoLive CS interface looks the least Adobe-like. There are still the tiny, eyestraining, original GoLive icons, the Pick Whip (the rubber-band-like thing that enables linking to pages by dragging an animated line), and the near-pathological categorizing of every possible element of a Web page and the tidy layout grid. That said, GoLive CS should be familiar to anyone who's used Photoshop CS,, or .
With GoLive CS, you can place text comments within a file.
GoLive CS runs on Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 or later or Macintosh OS X.
GoLive CS offers better design tools and multimedia access as well as better integration with other Adobe applications within the Creative Suite environment.
Prime among GoLive CS's new features is a Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) editor, which supports both the Level 1 and Level 2 W3C standards. As browsers evolve and support standards change, design tools like this will become more vital. The inclusion of BBEdit-like features such as a tag editor, colored syntax, and code completion are also nice. GoLive CS can open and edit most QuickTime files, even MPEG-4 movies, without leaving GoLive CS. Again, Adobe hasn't made any revolutionary changes here, but this inclusion will speed your work flow.
We also like GoLive CS's greater integration with other Adobe apps. For example, InDesign CS's new Package For GoLive feature collects and preps all graphic and text assets for GoLive and, where necessary, will import only updated assets. In our various tests, Package worked well, though some text layouts still needed manual tweaking. Through features such as Smart Objects (proxies of source files owned by other applications), you can manipulate an item without altering its source file. There's also improved PDF support and the ability to preserve layers in imported Photoshop files, but similar or parallel functionalities currently exist in Macromedia's Dreamweaver universe.
Color-coded HTML makes coding easier in GoLive CS.
Perhaps the biggest enhancement to GoLive CS is the inclusion of Version Cue, Adobe's suite management system. You can now use Version Cue to set password-protected work spaces and check in and out projects and artwork within GoLive or any of the other Creative Suite apps. Though we were unable to test it in a true production environment, Version Cue's ability to save versions of a file and move back and forth between them while using a single filename promises to be useful. Also, you can use Version Cue to append comments to files. However, all this comes at a performance cost: enabling Version Cue requires 128MB of RAM.
Of all the Creative Suite applications we reviewed, GoLive CS was the least happy on our 700MHz iBook. Previewing pages-, especially when previewing them as PDFs, produced long waits. Working with QuickTime movies and Version Cue also caused delays longer than a busy professional could stand. To be fair, Dreamweaver also faced performance problems on the same hardware.
Beginning in February 2004, Adobe will offer complimentary free tech support for GoLive CS installation and product defect issues over the lifetime of the product. The call isn't toll-free, however, so you will have to pay for any long-distance charges. For all other issues, there's Expert Support available at $39 per call or $159 per year for unlimited support calls. Additional Expert Support programs are also available for various price options.
One free option is Adobe's online user-to-user forums, which are monitored by competent support staff and offer a good track record. Another is Adobe's technical documents, which are, as of this writing, kept well up-to-date.