My name is Donald Booth and I work on the Dreamweaver Quality Engineering team here in San Francisco.
The DW blog hasn’t seen much action lately. But now that CS4 is out the door and the team has had time to straighten our collective desks, I thought I would start a mini-series and discuss the new features of CS4: explain how they work and the thinking behind them.
For the inaugural CS4 post, we will talk about the probably the best new feature in CS4: Live View.
We long knew that the Edit > PIB > Edit > PIB cycle was central to the DW web development workflow. (PIB is Preview in Browser. F12, of course)
But that constant app switching was tedious, as any constant app switching is. Thanks to the open source movement in general, and Web kit in particular, we can help solve it.
For CS4, we integrated the Web kit rendering engine into the product. This is the rendering engine used by Safari and is being used more and more in other products.
What this gives us is the ability to actually run and render your page right within DW’s Design View. This allows you to see the rendered code directly, without having to PIB.
To enable Live View, simply click the new Live View button on the Document toolbar, just next to the Design button.
Your page will switch to Live View. Usually it is subtle, but the page is now live and working. If you are in Code View, you will notice that you can still scroll and work in code view.
You can type in Code View and clicking back in Design View will update the page with the changed code.
But it gets better. When you turn on Live View, the Live Code button becomes enabled. Live Code shows the generated source of the page, even as you click. (Switching to Live Code also switches to Split View, since it makes sense.)
If you are building dynamic pages, DW will use the Testing Server info (from the Site Definition) to process the page for Live View.
Once you get into using Live View, you will find yourself spending a lot less time switching to Firefox.
The Web kit integration also allows us to make more dynamic interfaces. The Spry Data Set wizard being the most prominent of them in CS4. We can render live data in the dialog and provide a much richer UI. But that is a topic for another post…
Web kit integration was a big project and now that we have it, we are looking into how we can expand its functionality to handle more complex workflows and provide even more insight tools within DW.
So that’s it for this week. As always, feedback, comments and feature requests are always welcome!