Dreamweaver Reference Panel

I’ve been doing a lot of CSS/ColdFusion development on my laptop lately, and find myself using Dreamweaver’s built-in reference panel far more than I had previously. A question for the blogosphere- are you using this feature in Dreamweaver on a day-to-day basis? If so, what are your impressions? Please leave a comment if so, I’m interested to hear what your experiences have been. I can definitely say that I do love not having to tote my O’Reilly books around as much… ;-)

15 Responses to Dreamweaver Reference Panel

  1. I wish it was more code-lookup friendly. I’m dying for a built-in search feature, since I have a pain trying to scan between two dropdowns back and forth looking up a function.I have been hooked on a great PHP Help extension (http://www.tecnorama.org/document.php?id_doc=49), even has user comments from PHP’s online function reference site.Flash’s help/reference has always been better than DW’s, and I always wanted DW’s reference panel to get an upgrade, please.

  2. PaulC says:

    I find the reference bar a bit clunky, especially if not running DW fullscreen.The biggest problem I’ve faced is that the scroll-wheel doesn’t work in the content area, it scrolls through the style pulldown. I make this mistake constantly and interrupt myself while reading.Nothing beats paper for me. You can highlight, underline and dog-ear, all while saving screen real-estate. I’d suggest picking up O’Reilley’s pocket reference guides in addition to the big books if they’re getting a bit heavy.

  3. Steve Ray says:

    I just got hit by that same scroll-wheel weirdness myself, while perusing the O’Reilly stuff for Oracle. I use the CF Function and CFML references often. They are helpful. I’ve always thought that many of the code examples within the CFML Reference were useless, but that’s another issue.

  4. John Gardner says:

    Web development requires us to remember tons of stuff and our brains are better used remembering things that we can’t quickly look up in a reference book/screen. So, I use the reference panel all the time, especially for CSS, Javascript, and HTML. I prefer to use the ColdFusion help pages for ColdFusion. Code hints are also great for jogging the memory. Finally, the scrolling issues are a pain for me too. Basically, I’d love this feature to be a bit easier to use. Something like Flash’s would be great.

  5. flashape says:

    yes, i do use it regularly, and i definitely agree with the commetns above about being searchable and the scroll issue.

  6. Trond Ulseth says:

    It’s very handy to have the reference righ there when you code, but in the adition to the already mentioned issues I’ve got a couple to add:I’m on a laptop with a resolution of 1600x1200px. On my screen the font size in the reference panel is to small. Specially the example code font is close to unreadable.Also I find it anoying that I cant mark any of the text to copy.A minor issue is that I’d like it to have word wrapping as it’s a bit anoying to resize the panel, or scroll sideways when looking for something very basic.To sum it up, I’d like to be able to set the text size, turn word wrap on and of and be able to select text.

  7. Scott Fegette says:

    Awesome- thanks for the input, all (and keep it coming if any other ideas pop to mind)! I use the reference panel detached from the ‘panel stack’ personally, so the size issues haven’t gotten in my way nearly as much as the select/copy and scroll-wheel behavior.

  8. R. Boulanger says:

    This app into dreamweaver is far from appreciated. The thing I am wondering for my side is… Is it possible to add new books like XHTML reference… They are not quite verbalistic about adding such reference into their pannels.Of course, I remarked that I cannot search easily through the functions… If only a search capability could exist :)As a programmer too… my brain’s also full of thing to think about while coding and the thing that is hard to deal with sometimes is to dont remember the name of the function, or how do we call a function (or command) that do this and this… so, sometimes searching through only function names aren’t sufficient.

  9. ramesh says:

    when we press CTRL key and scrolling up or down the mouse wheel, text size on the page is not increasing or decreasing.please guide us that how can we change the size of the text on the web page by pressing CTRL and mouse scroll up and down, do we need to make particular changes in the web page html coding.

  10. Teckie says:

    …You guys do realize that you can RIGHT CLICK and select the font size?I’m pretty annoyed at how CS3 did nothing for us in new reference capabilities. Perhaps the next version will bring some new stuff to the table. I’d appreciate a function name or keyword search function, the ability to copy text, the ability to install additional reference libraries, and maybe even a bookmark function.I don’t understand why it won’t allow us to copy text, there’s no logical reason why everything else can be copied, but a reference of all things isn’t function inclusive.Oh well, I’m sure there’s a few things Adobe has to learn that Macromedia never did, we need better functionality. Although I still use the reference regularly.

  11. Ryan says:

    I definitely echo the comments about the reference materials and a search function. But even so, I still use the reference quite a bit. Dreamweaver help is nonexistant when it comes to anything code related, so it’s nice to have the reference handy. Anyone else use these extensions? I use them extensively and cut my development time way down: http://www.webassist.com/professional/products/productdetails.asp?PID=110&WAAID=649

  12. josh says:

    The PHP Pocket reference (O’Reilly) included with Dreamweaver CS4 is way outdated.. It still shows PHP3.Any ideas how I can update this to the latest PHP version ?

  13. Hi, Josh- right now we don’t have license from O’Reilly for updated PHP reference material, so there’s no easy way to drop it in, sorry. Looking into our options for future releases of DW now, however.That being said, the reference itself is HTML-based and lives in your DW installation directory under configuration/Content/Reference/PHP/*, so can be easily hacked, too. ;-)

  14. Brian says:

    I’m with Ryan and would like to know how to update the reference panel. I might use it more if it didn’t have so much outdated material in it. Just installed CS4 and you’d think it would have a bit more current documentation in it.

  15. Brian says:

    Oops. I guess i meant Josh. These comments aren’t styled very well to quickly see who posted what. It’s a bit confusing.