Free! - Introducing Dreamweaver 8

This article is a sneak preview of the new Dreamweaver 8 e-book that will be released this month.


About the e-book

On 8/8/88, oops, 8/8/2005, Macromedia announced the coming of the next generation of their wonderful Studio and in particular, award winning HTML editor, Dreamweaver.  No longer stuck in alphabet soup, this series of 15 articles will detail and teach you how to use the new features of Dreamweaver 8.  There is a whole lot to talk about with this amazing new product and we will not only talk, but we’ll create a site utilizing the power of the program to its fullest extent.  From the Unified CSS panel to the integration of XML to the quick and easy Code Collapse, Dreamweaver 8 is chock full of goodies to make the designer’s life a whole lot easier and web sites a whole lot quicker to create.


But we’ll do a lot more than just talk.  Beginning with Part 3, we’ll create a web site that utilizes the new features and show you the nuts and bolts of how to use this new beast.  By the time we reach Part 15, you will be ready to throw out the old version forever.  So grab your copy of Dreamweaver 8 (trial available at if you don’t own it yet) and get ready to be amazed.

Ready, Set, Install!

Okay... that's the overview... so without further ado, point your browser to and download the 30 day trial of Dreamweaver 8 if you haven't already upgraded.  Once you've done that, double click the installation icon and the program will install as it has in the past.   The most frequently asked question at this point in time is whether it will still be possible to run Dreamweaver MX 2004 while getting used to the new program.  The answer is yes, it will.  Dreamweaver 8 will install into a new folder called C:\Program Files\Macromedia\Dreamweaver 8\ and will not interfere with your use of Dreamweaver MX 2004. 

Once installed, open the program and, now as in the past, choose whether you wish Designer (panels on the right) or Coder (panels on the left) workspace.  That is a first time choice that can be easily changed with more options than in the past.  But don't go looking for Edit/Preferences/General to find the Change Workspace button.  It's not there!   In Dreamweaver 8, go to Windows/Workspace Layout and you will see the original two default Designer and Coder options, but you will also see another option for those working with Dual Monitors.  Neat, eh?  Keep looking... there are two more choices, Save Current and Manage.  We'll look at these in the next section.

Let's take a look around the workspace a bit.  The first thing you will undoubtedly notice is that the CSS panel has grown up in the last year and now occupies nearly the entire panel space when opened.  You're looking at the new Unified CSS panel and we'll go into it in great detail starting with Article 4 (I think 4 right now).  For now, notice that you have the ability to view all your CSS from an external sheet (or the head) or just the current selection and you can see everything applied in one glance, as well as make changes right from the CSS panel that are immediately reflected in the document.  It's a huge time saver and we'll spend a good deal of time getting acquainted with it.

You will also notice that Snippets has now been grouped with Files and Assets, although anything other than the Tag Inspector can be changed or regrouped.  And you will notice right away that Reference is gone.  Gone?  Not at all.  The Reference Panel has now joined the group in the basement... I mean Results Panel and it's a wonderful place to have put it.  Now, when you open a Reference page, you can actually read it without pulling your workspace all out of whack.  Great decision, Macromedia! 

If you 're my kind of designer, now that you've seen how Macromedia wanted things to work, the first thing you'll want to do is make things work like YOU want them to.  The answer has been given to you in Dreamweaver 8.  You could always move things around, but now, you can move things around as many times as you want and save them.  I currently have a custom workspace called NancyHTML for working on design and HTML only sites and another called NancyASP that is set up for my dynamic work.  One click of the button and I can switch and you don't even have to close and reopen the program to do it.  Let's explore how this is done.

Nancy Gill

In early 1996, Nancy Gill picked up her first book on HTML and permanently said goodbye to the legal field. She has been busy ever since developing web sites for businesses, organizations and social groups in Central California and occasionally beyond. Nancy has served as a member of Team Macromedia since late 2001, first with UltraDev and then moving to Dreamweaver when the programs were consolidated in 2002. She also serves as Assistant Manager for the Central California Macromedia User's Group.
Nancy is the co-author of Dreamweaver MX: Instant Trouble-Shooter and technical editor for several Dreamweaver and Contribute related books, including the well-known Dreamweaver MX 2004: A Complete Reference. She also penned the first ever Contribute article for Macromedia's Own Devnet "Getting Up to Speed with Contribute in 10 Minutes".

Nancy has three children, two in college and one in high school. Offline, she enjoys various sporting activities, is a wild NFL football fan and sings in the church choir.

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