FOTD 11: Dreamweaver & Flash 8 – Mac Tabs

This will definitely be a quicker FOTD post than Friday’s- but for those on the Mac platform, quite likely a long-awaited one. Tabbed documents are now available on OS X, in both Dreamweaver 8 and Flash 8! That’s right- it’s not a Windows-only UI convention anymore- and should help out immensely in managing your Dreamweaver and Flash workspaces.


Here’s a trimmed, scaled screenshot of the top of the document windows in both Dreamweaver 8 and Flash 8, showing the new Document Tabs prominently:

dw_tabs.png
Dreamweaver 8 – Document Tabs
fl_tabs.png
Flash 8 – Document Tabs

Let’s highlight a few specifics of this feature so you can really dive into it when your copy of Studio 8 ships. First up, Command + ` will cycle left-to-right through your currently-open tabs (for those of you, like myself, who don’t always have your hand on a mouse). To reverse direction (right-to-left), just use Command + Shift + ` – the combination of the two provides a very simple way to jump back and forth between documents like, say your (X)HTML docs and the related CSS stylesheet without multiple windows cluttering your screen.If you have more tabs open than the width of your window will support, an ‘overflow’ menu will appear at the right of the tab bar, allowing you to select any of the tabs that are offscreen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut noted above to navigate through these, as well.Joining the ‘Cascade’ and ‘Tile’ functions in the ‘Windows’ menu (which will ‘explode’ a tabbed view into the old ‘multiple-window’ views accordingly) is a new menu item – ‘Combine as Tabs’. If you’ve ‘exploded’ your documents into separate windows with either ‘Cascade’ or ‘Tile’ (or don’t have your preferences set to display tabs at all), this simply combines them all your open document windows into a single window, with tabs for each document. You can specify whether you want to use tabs at all in the ‘General’ section of each application’s Preferences panel- Flash also provides the option to open the test player in a tab, as an additional bonus.I can’t imagine browsing without tabs in Firefox and Safari, and pretty soon you’ll be feeling the same way about document windows in Dreamweaver and Flash. In my opinion it’s just a far better way to manage my workflow and workspace- and now it’s a universal experience, no matter which platform you’re working on. Sorry for the Mac-specific focus today- but in the interest of parity between the two platforms, this was an important update to note. See you again for tomorrow’s Feature of the Day (which will definitely be a cross-platform one).

12 Responses to FOTD 11: Dreamweaver & Flash 8 – Mac Tabs

  1. Jason Brown says:

    Finally, some news & screenshots on the Mac versions. Thanks for the small feature and keep it coming. Hopefully the Mac version of Dreamweaver 8 is more stable than the current crash happy version of MX 2004.

  2. Thanks, Jason!In my opinion- absolutely, Dreamweaver 8 is much more stable than Dreamweaver MX 2004, and speedier at most tasks as well. Now I really never had tons of crashes with DWMX 2004 on my machines, but would definitely recommend you check out the DW8 demo when it becomes available to see what difference it makes on your own system.

  3. Mike Bianco says:

    YES! This is one feature I will love! Especially since Flash MX2004 doesn’t even expose windows right; you have to click twice on the window for it to come into focus.I have to wonder though, those tabs look VERY similar to the tabs on skEdit, and the shirra browser (which use the same code base for the tabs). Did MM use that code?

  4. freaksauce says:

    At last, windows users probably think that this is such a trivial improvement but you don’t realise how much it speeds up your workflow. At the Studio 8 launch in Sydney yesterday we actually got to see Dreamweaver 8 running on a powerbook and although there is still a bit of a refresh lag compared to windows I’m sure it will be a lot faster than previous versions.

  5. Mike- I don’t believe there’s any borrowed codebase for the tabs in DW 8. For what it’s worth, they also resemble the tabs in Safari- IIRC we simply followed Apple’s aesthetic standard, as have many others implementing tabbed document browsing.

  6. Diviner says:

    very interesting content, thank you…

  7. mray says:

    Can you reorganize the tab order? That was always one thing I loved about most other editors that I couldn’t get worked out in Dreamweaver – the ability to re-organize your tabs after you had opened a document.

  8. Woody says:

    Just curious, but why weren’t the Windows and Mac versions in sync in the first place?

  9. mray- Yep, just click and drag to reorder tabs- no modifier keys required. Works great!Woody- I’m going strictly on memory here, but MDI (multiple document interfaces) – which weren’t supported on Macs natively- required more architectural work to implement than could be applied back during the Studio MX 2004 cycle. As Windows has always supported MDI interfaces, it was a snap to implement tabs on that platform then. There were some architectural-level changes in the Mac applications during the Studio 8 product cycles (also necessary for further performance tweaks on the platform), which presented a great opportunity to synch things up even more- so here we are. ;-)

  10. Fred says:

    All the new features sound good, but my question is will there be better bracket matching in Dreamweaver 8? I understand the system now, but I find opposite bracket highlighting to be a rather essential piece that has always been missing. Will this be supported?

  11. Fred- if you mean autohighlighting start/end brackets for blocks of code, then no, it’s not in DW8 (make sure to submit a feature request at the following URL, though: http://www.macromedia.com/go/wish/)However, the ‘balance braces’ feature will let you highlight nested sets of brackets, and visually check for unbalanced sets. Just place your cursor in a block of code and hit the ‘Balance Brackets’ button in the Coder’s Toolbar and DW will highlight what it expects to be the correct open/close section of your block, allowing you to correct as necessary.

  12. Jared says:

    One thing to watch out for on Mac with the Tab windows, at least in Flash 8 in my experience, when you leave Flash to go to another program and come back, your last opened Actionscript file will still be open but you will not be able to move the cursor, select anything, or click anywhere. The only fix I have found is to sselect another tab, then come back to it, and it seems to be fixed. It’s as if the active Tab window loses the mouse input altogether until you select the tab again.