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Product Review - Macromedia Studio and Dreamweaver MX 2004

Whether you are an amateur or professional, Macromedia Studio MX and Dreamweaver MX 2004 can be used to develop both websites and web applications.

Only a few years ago, there were two very distinct methods for creating webpages and websites. One method was to hand-code the HTML and the other method was to use a WYSIWYG program to generate the HTML code for you. There seemed to be no middle ground. When the hand-coder tried to use the WYSIWYG program, the program reworked his hand-coded HTML. Times have changed. Now, MacromediaR DreamweaverR MX 2004 can do both without conflict. With the built-in HomeSite+R, hand-coding an entire website is possible. On the other hand, you can use the Design View in Dreamweaver (WYSIWYG) to create the same website without the need to work with any HTML code. With the Split View, it is possible to do it both ways.

The complexity of websites has increased considerably over the past few years and there is more to a website than basic HTML. Dreamweaver MX 2004 can help.

  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is replacing table tags as the accepted way to control the layout of a webpage. Whether you code your own styles or use the Design View to generate CSS, Dreamweaver will automatically check your work for cross-browser support and alert you to any problems.
  • Basic web graphic editing can be done within Dreamweaver using the built-in FireworksR features. You don't need to open a separate image editor to perform simple tasks such as adjusting brightness, contrast and cropping. You can also optimize your gif and jpeg images directly inside Dreamweaver.
  • With the increase of web surfers that have broadband access, FlashR is becoming a staple for a website. You can add Dreamweaver's built-in Flash elements or import your own flash elements.
  • Website owners are realizing the need to advertise both online and off the web. Coordinating the print and digital marketing materials is easy with Dreamweaver. After you create your print materials in MicrosoftR Word or Excel, you can simply copy and paste that same material directly into Dreamweaver and the program will maintain the same formatting and layout.
  • Dreamweaver's built-in FTP and ContributeTM features make updating websites a breeze. You can upload or edit webpages directly from Dreamweaver and the files will be securely encrypted as they are passed to the remote server. For large websites that require several people to maintain and update, you can use Contribute to control access to only certain parts of a webpage or website. This will keep the other areas of the website secure.
  • For those websites that require back-end web applications, Dreamweaver has a great UltraDevR environment that supports several programming languages such as ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, JSP and PHP. The built-in HomeSite+ includes Macromedia ColdFusionR Studio. You can also configure Dreamweaver to work with a server that you have installed on your computer. For example, I use Dreamweaver with the Sokkit Webserver Toolkit to write and test my PHP applications.
Studio MX 2004 System Requirements

600 MHz Intel Pentium III processor or equivalent
Windows 98 SE (4.10.2222 A), Windows 2000, or Windows XP
256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
800 MB available disk space

500 MHz PowerPC G3 processor
Mac OS X 10.2.6 and later, 10.3
256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
500 MB available disk space

Dreamweaver MX 2004 System Requirements

600 MHz Intel Pentium III processor or equivalent
Windows 98 SE (4.10.2222 A), Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003
128 MB RAM (256 MB recommended)
275 MB available disk space

500 MHz Power PC G3 processor
Mac OS X 10.2.6 and later, 10.3
128 MB computer RAM (256 MB recommended)
275 MB available disk space

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