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Dreamweaver MX 2004, Take 2

Dreamweaver MX 2004, Take 2

As many of you know from my editorial a few months back, I made the official switch from Homesite+ to Dreamweaver MX 2004 shortly after it was first released. The new product took some getting used to and the transition stretched out; it wasn't until I uninstalled Homesite+ entirely from my machine (and was no longer able to sneak back in when no one was looking) that I finally got myself into the habit of using Dreamweaver, and really began to explore its plethora of features. It took that extra push to fully delve into the ins and outs, and once I did, I was surprised and pleased with the switch.

Just last week, I was over at a Dreamweaver-less friend's house doing some collaborative development. While helping him with some programming in Homesite+ I really began to miss my new IDE of choice. It's amazing how quickly I'd developed my little habits and quirks for programming in Dreamweaver. I'm sure many of you are the same in that while you can pick up and learn most software, your productivity is certainly the highest with what you know best. Avoid separating a developer from his home environment - or else!

For those who dabble in Dreamweaver - and those who have made the full leap - things recently got even better with the release of the 7.0.1 product updater. The biggest "fix" is that Macromedia boasts performance improvements of 50% on Windows machines, and up to 70% on Macs. I don't know that I'd put the number that high myself, but it's visibly snappier - and who knows what I can do with all those newfound minutes that I'm saving up by day's end.

In addition to improving the performance of Dreamweaver 2004, they've improved the stability as well, which so far has resulted in 100% uptime on my laptop with it open an average of 10 hours a day. Both of these are very welcome additions for software that many of us spend our days, nights, weekends, and holidays developing in. In addition to these major updates, there's a slew of smaller ones, all of which you can read about on Macromedia's Web site while waiting for your updater to download.

An update to the ColdFusion Reference help was released as a separate DW 2004 download. "The new reference fixes a problem with section introductions that contained only a heading and no links to the section topics. It also fixes a problem where the standard reference subheadings (Description, Category, Syntax, and so on) were not displayed." This isn't bundled into the 7.0.1 updater because of its file size, and the low percentage of Dreamweaver users that are CFers as well, I assume, but it's available separately, and worth plunking in while you're there.

So now Dreamweaver can do nearly everything for you, except design all of your pages while you sit back and relax with a cup of coffee, but perhaps they'll include that in an upcoming version.

I'm going to end this month's column with a short rant of caution, based on a general observation that I've made of many sites I frequent that have recently undergone redesigns. It's important to remember that just because most of us are on broadband now, it doesn't mean that each and every bit of the pipe can or should be clogged up by your site. Easy access to information is what users need. That's something to remember - no matter which IDE you use.

More Stories By Robert Diamond

Robert Diamond is the founder and editor-in-chief of BroadwayWorld.com, the premiere theater site on the net now receiving over 100,000 unique visitors a day. He is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media - a leading designer of entertainment and technology web sites. He is also the lead producer on BroadwayWorld.com's consistently sold-out Joe's Pub concert series, and Standing Ovations benefit concerts. Diamond was also named one of the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by Folio magazine. Robert holds a BS degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Visit his blog at www.robertdiamond.com.

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