Archive for May, 2008

Dreamweaver “Stiletto” public beta

Dreamweaver 1.0 arrived in public beta in 1997. It did something radically new: let you see what you were doing as you did it, while leaving your code alone. Changed things in a big way.

To do HTML before Dreamweaver, you had to either code, save, then test in a browser (“the developer”), or else do layout in a visual application which saved data to a special database before “publishing” your HTML (“the designer”). Dreamweaver 1.0 offered a faster roundtripping workflow for both, using the HTML file system for storage, and just leaving your code alone.

I think this next version of Dreamweaver, now available on Adobe Labs, has a good chance of revolutionizing things too:

(1) Any webpage is really made up of interrelated files, includes, references. This version of Dreamweaver directly accesses and unites all these files. You’re editing with the page as a compound whole.

(2) Dynamic webpages change state during execution. This version of Dreamweaver shows you the changing code, as the JavaScript adjusts it, and as the browser executes it.

(3) Troubleshooting is harder when you’re not sure what affects the current selection: “Why didn’t that style change?” This version of Dreamweaver knows how the pieces fit together, so you can directly navigate the code in multiple files.

Any of the three is a workflow-changer — new types of efficiencies make it hard to go back. Put them together, with Ajax code-hinting, CSS best-practices, tight handshaking with Photoshop, publishing to AIR… well, I think this will be a very significant release.

There’s another thing. Creative Suite 3 was very well received. But those tools were in the middle of their development cycles when the Macromedia acquisition closed. Today’s releases start to show what the new integrated Adobe can do with creative toolsets. We’re going to see acceleration from this point.

I’ll update this post with links over the next two days. I’ll open another blogpost for troubleshooting and problem-solving.

Significant release. Have fun with it. ;-)

We’ll always need browsing

Infoworld has an article and editorial suggesting that the arrival of beyond-the-browser technologies like the Adobe Integrated Runtime “spell doom for the web browser”. No way. We definitely need to be able to read the web — to click from hyperlink to hyperlink, to search documents on strange sites — we need to be able to browse the entire web safely. Having a generic shell application which can hold various HTML/CSS/JS presentations will remain a vital need far into the forseeable future. We’ll always need a document browser, so that you can read documents without bothering to trust the document provider. We need to surf. But now we’ve also got technology for network experiences from providers you trust, whether it’s an old-style native-code executable like Microsoft’s WPF, or a separate browser process like Mozilla’s Prism, or a cross-platform desktop application with easy development like Adobe AIR. Desktop applications started adding networking functions back when browsers started adding scripting… there’s a long tradition of both types of client software serving different user needs. Desktop apps convey additional privileges to coding you trust; HTML browsers’ restrictions let you engage with sources you don’t know enough about to trust. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. As Adobe’s Ed Rowe says at the end of the article: “”Adobe has no vested interest in saying all apps should be Web apps or that all apps should be desktop apps. In no way are we anti-browser. As far as the browser becoming more powerful, where that makes sense, that’s great.”

Weblog status

It looks like weblogs.macromedia.com/jd is back up, but I don’t trust it, and will do future blog entries here instead. Comments are closed at the old server, because I got tired of deleting spam which arrived through search engines. I’m not certain how much blogging I’ll do here… lots of stories out there these days are just for greedy, proprietary ad revenue capture… last winter’s Omniture faux-story depressed me greatly, and the trend of using weblogs to bleat rather than converse results in plenty of ongoing repression. I’m active on Twitter, though, and the sidebar here will have quick links found throughout the day.