However, its something of an apples-to-pears or an oranges-to-lemons comparison, in that Visual Studio is an all-purpose integrated development environment and Dreamweaver, although it has IDE capabilities, is primarily known as a design tool.
And despite its being a design tool, both professional developers and end users use Dreamweaver daily. Grady Booch, chief scientist of IBMs Rational division, told me Dreamweaver is a part of his everyday tool set, and some of my reporter colleagues also use it daily.
Still, Microsoft has produced a video comparison titled "101 Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Features Compared to Adobe Dreamweaver 8," and as the introduction on the Microsoft Web page describing the video says, "The gloves come off in this feature by feature video comparison of Visual Studio 2005 and Dreamweaver 8. Well pull no punches as we take an in-depth look at each winning bout."
However, Microsoft takes into account the Adobe focus on designers and touts its designer-oriented tool set, the Microsoft Expression family of tools.
"Welcome to this comparison of Visual Studio 2005 and Dreamweaver 8," the description of the video says. "Here you have the opportunity to compare features of these products aimed at professional developers. However, Dreamweaver 8 also serves as a tool for professional designers. If you or anyone on your team is a designer, please also explore the designer features of Expression Web Designer."
When Microsoft was in the early stages of working on its Expression tools, the company was very careful about not saying Microsoft was preparing to go head-to-head with Adobe.
Then in July at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston, John Byrum, product manager for the Microsoft Expression tools, said for Microsoft partners who are currently selling Microsoft FrontPage 2003, "which is end-of-lifing," Microsoft Visual Studio or Dreamweaver, "you can cross-sell these Expression products."
Byrum noted that "if youre selling Dreamweaver today, these [Microsoft] tools absolutely compete head-to-head" with the Adobe designer tools.
Microsofts video compares the two products in 22 different areas, including document windows and panels, code editors, components and toolbox, design notes, help features, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) support, help features, database support, XML and XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations), Web services support, debugging, source control and accessibility regulation compliance.
Neither Microsoft nor Adobe was able to provide a comment on the video before this column was posted.