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These views work well, although response time can be sluggish; sadly, other new features are hit-and-miss. The Related Files bar (providing single-click access to a page’s source code and linked files) and Code Navigator (a means of jumping to an element’s code sources via an Alt + or Cmd + Opt + click) both sound great, and they work flawlessly with a ‘typical’ Dreamweaver website.

However, if you work in a modular fashion, adding linked components through an include block, both features fail miserably – the Related Files bar displays the include but not the linked files within, and Code Navigator does nothing when, say, a CSS rule is selected.

Given the manner in which modern web designers work, this is a conspicuous blunder, and along with the useful but beginner-friendly HTML Data Sets (essentially a wizard for creating Spry-driven dynamic sortable content), one wonders whether the application is veering from catering to an increasingly savvy audience to pandering to relative newcomers, or people keen to save time at the expense of doing things right.

We also found the entire Dreamweaver CS4 experience a little buggy. In particular, updates and response times could be better, not least when working with the Live Views. And so, although we applaud the integration of Photoshop Smart Objects, Subversion support, and improved SWF embed code, it’s hard to recommend Dreamweaver CS4 outright as a new purchase or upgrade – especially when sleek, lightweight alternatives such as Coda exist for a fraction of the price, and offer the bulk of important functionality that the modern web developer needs.