Spry and Dreamweaver

Hi Spry:team,

I know I say this every time, but it has been a while. Spry 1.6 has been out for 2 months and change. The Spry team has been a bit distracted with Dreamweaver work, but we will have a new widget to preview in the near future. Lots of other exciting things are happening in our widget world, but at this point I can only tease…

So there is still some confusion on the relationship between, Dreamweaver, Spry and the Spry Updater for Dreamweaver. I am going to take this time to try to clarify the 3 ideas.

The Spry framework is a free javascript library(s) available for download on Labs. It contains the core javascript file, samples, demos and documentation for all the features with the library. Spry has a wide range of features, including data, widgets, effects, DOMUtils, form submission, etc.

Spry is developed independently of Dreamweaver, although the Spry team is technically part of the Dreamweaver team. Since Spry is a much simpler project compared to Dreamweaver, that means that the Spry team can put out releases every few months, much faster than Dreamweaver’s 18 month cycle. This means that the feature set of Spry will always be well ahead of Spry feature IN Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver CS3nsupports Spry authoring in a few ways. It has support for creating XML Data Sets and implementing Spry regions/repeats. Widgets are rendered as they would be in the browser, making for easy styling. Spry Effects are implemented in the Behaviors Panel. Code hinting and coloring make navigating through Spry pages easier.

Dreamweaver implements Spry behind the scenes like this: There is a set of Spry files within the DW Configuration folder that are used in DW’s design view. These are the ‘design-time’ files. They are stripped down and modified so that DW can use them while building Spry pages in Design View. These are the files that allow the widgets to render in Design View and allows the panels to open and close on the Accordion, for instance. These design time files are only used by DW for it’s design work.

There are also copies of Spry files that are copied to the users folders when they add a Spry component to their site. These are the same files that you will find in the Labs download. At the time we were building DW CS3, Spry 1.4 was the current version and this is the version of the javascript and CSS files that DW outputs.

There are these 2 versions, design time and regular, for this reason. We wanted to be sure that the design time experience was separated from the regular Spry files. This would allow us to update the regular Spry files without possibly breaking Dreamweaver. The design time files will keep working no matter what version of the regular Spry files are there. This will allow periodic updates to DW so that Spry users can have the latest regular Spry files without affecting the performance of Dreamweaver. (If DW used the real Spry files for its design time work, we would have to rigorously test any update of Spry in DW. Having 2 versions saves us that trouble.

So, how to update DW to use the latest Spry files. Well, for the first few months, it was some tedious copy and pasting. It was a matter of finding the regular Spry files in the Configuration folder and just replacing them with the new ones. But the design-time files needed to be left alone. Some users were copying the Spry zip into the config folder and things were breaking left and right.

In the mean time, we were working on the Spry Updater for Dreamweaver. This is an extension that automatically updates the file in the Config folder for you. It also provides an interface (Site > Spry Updater…) that helps you copy these new files to your site. It also updates the code coloring and hinting for the new features.

But here was also another point of confusion. The Spry Updater does not add any new Spry features (widget, etc) to the Insert Panel. It simply updates the existing DW files to the latest versions. So now the Spry 1.4 accordion is now Spry 1.6. Since the HTML didn’t change, just the javascript, adding the new js file means that the accordion is automatically up to date.

It takes a lot of work, months actually, to add a new Spry widget to DW. That means that it is difficult for us to keep DW on parity with Spry. Spry has 16 widgets. DW CS3 has 8. Spry now has 5 datasets, DW has one. We are looking into ways to fixing that disparity…

So again, the updater doesn’t add new features to DW (except that command). It updates the existing features to the latest version. They only change is the version of the js and css files in the Config folder.

I should also mention that the Updater itself is a nice piece of work. It started out as a simple command for updating files and it is now a robust extension that can be used for updating site files for many things. Right now it is packaged as a Spry Updater, but extension developers can tune it to their own needs and make other kinds of updaters. It was a great effort by our Romanian team.

I hope this clarifies things a bit. Keep an eye out here for the widget preview!


13 Responses to Spry and Dreamweaver

  1. Danilo Celic says:

    Hey Don,I’d be interested in learning more about the updater capability, especially how a command UI is opened up on start up to let the user know about the installation and updates available.

  2. Nathaniel B says:

    Hey Don,Many thanks for the needed clarification, especially in regards to Spry and its features being synced with Dreamweavers’ Integration of Spry.

  3. Terry says:

    Well what can one do to get the widgets and other items into dreamweaver then?

  4. Permana says:

    Spry is very good, very easy to use. But there are no rich text editor in spry. i think rich text editor is very useful.

  5. Fred Klopper says:

    Hello,Do you have a roadmap or is Spry dead (like developer toolbox)? No news, no blog posts, no nothing…Too bad, I did like the Spry framework.With best regards,Fred

  6. Jeff says:

    I am using spry 1.6 an updater in dreamweaver cs3. It is a great step forward and I use it everyday.I am having some issues with PHP includes and Spry and I am hoping someone can blog on that here.Even with my Dreamweaver site definition pointing to the Spry assets location, I can’t see the spry widgets correctly in design view.

  7. Claire Storey says:

    Hi-I think the new Spry feature is great, except everytime I try to change submenus i get a jav script error and Dreamweaver crashes. I’ve tried updating Spry- but no luck. Any suggestions?

  8. werbeagentur says:

    At first Thanks! Can you post more about the updater capability? It will be useful for me. By the way, spry and dreamweaver works great for me – using Dreamweaver CS3 and Spry 1.6

  9. Many thanks for all the great Informations. Very usefully and interesting 4 me… Greetings from Germany

  10. Hi Doni m new to spry framework & i m doing one website for my client & i m using tabbedpanel …i m inserting two tabbedpanel in same html page but i want different color scheme for both tabbedpanel i tried all the aspect as per my knowlegde ..so can u tel me the solution…thanks

  11. Webdesign says:

    It would be nice if you can post us more Informations. it´s very interesting and usefully :)many thanks and Greetings from Germany

  12. I am researching frameworks and am interested in Spry and jQuery. I do have some concerns about Spry, however.Frankly, I don’t see a community developing around this framework. I have done google searches and there’s just so little being done by non Adobe employees.In short, where’s the community? if you have one, it is not visible from Google.It would really put my mind to rest if the folks at Adobe (you?) were to:1. post a roadmap2. explain the level of long-term commitment Adobe has to Spry – like are you going to use Spry internally? How many engineers for how many years?You guys are all over the place with Spry, Air, Flex and Flash. Frankly, it’s a massive mess and I think it is reasonable to wonder if someone at Adobe is going to wake up one morning and realize that some of these technologies compete with one another and starts pruning the product line.It is so much easier to evaluate open-source, community driven projects. I just look at the amount of community excitement and I know that this product won’t be abandoned.But, when a commercial company pushes a framework, I am extremely aware that their motives are not community well-being. After all, they are a for-profit organization. So, there’s needs to be a big win for them to continue. Otherwise, the product gets killed, or resources diverted to other projects.Like, where are Spry demos from non-Adobe employees? I see the same 5 demos all over the place. Where are benchmarks? Where are the shootouts and direct comparisons with other frameworks?You guys don’t seem to exist on Ajaxian.Is Spry used on commercial sites? If so, where’s the list?What the heck is the Spry team working on? Are you guys still working on Spry or have you all been diverted to Air?Is Spry Abandonware?

  13. Eran Thomson says:

    Hi,I’ve got CS3 and have just downloaded the Spry files and updater from the Adobe site. The files are now on my desktop and I don;t know where to put them so that I can start experimenting with Spry.I’ve run the updater, but still all the Spry options are greyed out in the DW menus.Thanks for the help.