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Macromedia Dreamweaver 8.0 review: Macromedia Dreamweaver 8.0

Macromedia also improved Dreamweaver 8's internal rendering engine so that your design more closely reflects how the pages will appear in a Web browser, eliminating potential alignment problems. In our tests, the design pages mimicked exactly what we saw in Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Dreamweaver's code window introduces a toolbar that lets you collapse and open views of code.

No upgrade would be complete without more power under the hood, and Macromedia has added or improved support for nearly every Web technology, including XML, CSS, PHP, WebDAV, ColdFusion 7 MX, and of course, Flash 8. Missing is support for AJAX. Macromedia fixed the way Dreamweaver imports HTML code from Microsoft Word and Outlook, more accurately rendering documents without truncating tables or adding other glitches. A handy new Paste Special option lets you retain formatting for text and tables.

Though broadband users might not notice, dial-up users will appreciate the new background file-transfer function; you won't waste time staring at a busy icon while you transfer files to and from your Web site. Alas, it's still not possible to transfer files while the cursor is in the Properties box--one of our longstanding gripes.

The thorough Getting Started guide of Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 tailors instructions to your skill level. Tutorials are detailed, although we'd appreciate more screenshots or some animation. Dreamweaver 8 includes an extensive help file, plus access to an excellent online support center, with well-written FAQs and tutorials, as well as free forums where you can chat with other users. But telephone support can get pricey in a hurry, so we suggest that you read the manual before you dial. Macromedia lets you call tech-support for four "getting started" incidents, but after 90 days, you're left with prices that would faze Donald Trump: a single incident costs $99 and extended support plans start at $449 per year.

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