By David Sawyer McFarland Macworld.com | on May 12, 2010
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Pros: Great support for PHP programming; Improved CSS inspection; Simplified site setup; Simplified CSS layouts.
Cons: Limited support for new Web technologies; No new server behaviors.
While Dreamweaver CS5 adds many new features for PHP programmers, other tools are beginning to show their age. The program’s visual, “what you see is almost what you get” editing mode fails to display some complex CSS layouts correctly, and doesn’t display the effects of commonly used CSS properties and techniques such as Web fonts (using the CSS @font-face method), generated content, word spacing, opacity, RGBa color, or many of the CSS3 selectors.
This means that designers are more and more dependent upon Dreamweaver’s Live View to accurately see their designs—unfortunately, since you can’t edit the Live View, your workflow is interrupted by having to turn Live View on and off as you work on a page.
Dreamweaver CS5 has added little support for newer Web technologies like CSS3 or HTML 5. While you can now choose an HTML 5 doctype for a page, there aren’t tools for adding HTML 5 tags (not even code hints). In addition, the program has spotty or no support for new (and some not-so-new) CSS properties.
For example the rule definition window -- the designer-friendly dialog used to create styles -- remains unchanged from last version and still doesn’t provide access to some widely supported CSS 2.1 properties like min-width, max-width, border-space, border-collapse, or RGB colors. Nor, will you find any tools to work with increasingly commonly used CSS3 properties like opacity, RGBa color, or the @font-face directive.
Although neither HTML 5 nor CSS3 are finalized standards, support among many Web browsers for some CSS3 properties is strong and some aspects of HTML 5 continue to make their way onto Web sites. Given that Dreamweaver has historically offered features that were ahead of the curve, even offering workarounds to support all browsers, this timid approach to emerging Web techniques in CS5 is disappointing.