Price: 335 . 135
Pros: Improved interface and integration with other Adobe apps. Easy to use, especially if you’re familiar with InDesign.
Cons: No key improvements over GoLive CS2. Inferior to the competition. Some of the code output is dire.
GoLive appears to be living on borrowed time. Adobe’s own literature and Web site seems to suggest migrating to Dreamweaver is a good idea, and GoLive was recently unceremoniously ousted from Adobe’s various software bundles, replaced by its triumphant and smug ex-Macromedia rival. So, we were keen to see what would be served up in the latest version.
Despite the fact that GoLive is now a standalone product, there are few compelling reasons to upgrade. Sure, the Mac version is now a nippier Universal Binary, but the lack of tools for working with dynamic Web sites is still irksome, as is the perceived lack of interest in Web 2.0 technologies.
In fact, the most readily apparent change to GoLive 9 is its interface. Along with CS3-style trappings, GoLive now wants to be InDesign for the Web. InDesign users will feel like a pig in muck, but others may feel nonplussed with the changes.
After extended use, we found the interface divisive: certain aspects are highly useful – for example, the ‘Style Apply’ palette previews introduced with GoLive CS2 still appeal, and the new method of organizing and docking palettes is efficient and flexible. However, the Web was never supposed to be print, and putting together Web pages, especially standards-compliant ones, in GoLive 9 is often a trying, awkward experience.
The counter-intuitive nature of the Control panel is particularly disappointing – working with it results in your underlying code being littered with superfluous mark-up. In 1999, we could have forgiven this, but when Dreamweaver and even Microsoft (via Expression Web) are both able to provide tools that output standards-compliant code, but also enable
the user access to primarily visual interfaces for crafting Web pages and messing around with layout, we’re unsympathetic.
It’s not all bad news. Integration with GoLive’s former Creative Suite buddies is strong, and you can drag content between InDesign and GoLive, with styles automatically translated. Smart Objects are still a draw, providing flexibility for updating assets, and the application’s Preview remains superior to Dreamweaver’s Design view, although the working preview now lags behind that of its rival.
The Tools palette also offers handy features, notably the Link tool, which highlights all links on a page, ready
for editing, and the excellent Deep Selection tool, which enables you to select any element – whether nested or covered – from any position on the page. However, the potentially useful Styledropper tool, which should enable you to copy a style to an object from one elsewhere on the page, appears compromised by being too closely tied to GoLive’s dated and unhelpful built-in style-generation mechanic.
For newcomers, GoLive isn’t remotely worthy of consideration – look at the other options available.
For anyone considering an upgrade – unless you’re a GoLive die-hard, you’d be better off biting the bullet and starting the inevitable transition to Dreamweaver right now. If this update is evidence of how GoLive will continue to evolve, it’s soon going the way of the dodo.