By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2005-10-17 Print this article Print

Dreamweaver has held the top spot among Web developers for a few years now, and it has been our preferred tool for Web site development for the same amount of time. However, the product hasnt been without its shortcomings, especially when it comes to dealing with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Dreamweaver 8 finally addresses the previous CSS weaknesses—in fact, with these improvements, Dreamweaver 8 is now quite possibly the best tool for creating and editing CSS.

The most notable improvement in this regard is the inclusion of a CSS Styles panel. Using the panel, we could easily attach a style sheet to a page and then access and apply rules through menus and by double-clicking. The old cascading menus are still around for those who like them, as is the option for working strictly in code.

Developers who prefer to work in the code will see welcome improvements as well. One particularly useful option in the code view let us highlight sections of our code and then collapse them to a single line, cleaning up our view as we worked on other sections of code.

In Design mode, CSS editing has been boosted with new visual enhancements that color-code CSS elements and borders, making it much easier to view changes and positioning .

Developers building sites that deal with Web services or other XML-related applications will also benefit from several new features in Dreamweaver 8 that greatly enhance its ability to work with XML, XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) and XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations). We used these features to easily deploy XML into content, to preview data integrations, and to work with XSL and XSLT in much the same way we worked with CSS.

Among the many other noteworthy features in Dreamweaver 8 are improved zooming capabilities and more detailed element positioning.

Next Page: More Flash.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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