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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

  Ultra Dev 4 / Fireworks 4 Suit


"Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4, with all the powerful new features of Dreamweaver 4, is the most efficient way to develop ASP, JSP, or ColdFusion applications. View code and design simultaneously. Easily create libraries of server-side scripts or use the built-in server behaviors and shortcuts. "

- Macromedia


The version being reviewed here is from the UltraDev4 / Fireworks 4 Studio. The two different programs are able to be installed separately. In typical Macromedia fashion, the installation on a PC was flawless not to mention quick. In checking out some newsgroups and other websites, I have yet to come across any major install issues with the full version.

UltraDev 4 installs in it's own directory so it does not overwrite or effect previous installations. Upon installing when previous versions are located, the site manager automatically picks up your previous website settings. I found this to make for a very smooth upgrade. Never missed a beat.

New Features:

Since we have reviewed every version of Dreamweaver since version one in this magazine, I'll cut to the chase and get to "What's New?" in UD4? And is it worth the upgrade/purchase?

I have to admit that before UltraDev came out, I hadn't given too much thought to database driven websites. Now, that is almost a requirement for ease of design/update and content presentation. UltraDev lets you connect directly to a database through your Web application server, instead of defining connections on your development machine and server. This was very smooth even compared to the last version of UltraDev.

Add password protection to sites without writing complex server-side code. The User Authentication Server Behaviors let you validate user names and passwords against a database, and password-protect site pages. This is done all with the click of a mouse ... no hand coding. More importantly, especially for the late night developer, nothing to configure on the remote server.

You can now build typical Web application layouts more quickly. UltraDev includes a set of predefined objects that generate basic layouts and server-side scripts for common actions. These actions including database inserts, database updates, master/detail relationships, Recordset statistics and Recordset navigation bars.

Simple Flash graphics and text can now be developed directly within UltraDev, even without an installed version of Flash. Create editable vector graphics directly in UltraDev with the new Flash Buttons and Flash Text features. By using Flash vectors instead of bitmaps, your graphics are scalable, smaller in file size and look great when printed. Work with Flash designers to create new button styles or download free styles from the Macromedia Exchange.

Here is one I really liked! UltraDev lets you see the Code and Design views simultaneously. New split-pane environment lets you work visually or use the full page Code View—without leaving the Document Window.

Save time and reduce repetitive tasks by recording common Server Behaviors in the History Palette. Replay and record any behavior in UltraDev.

Track all site media in a central location with the new Asset panel. Preview and manage Macromedia Flash, Shockwave, and QuickTime movies as well as images, colors, external URLs, scripts, templates, and library items.

And for the keyboard shortcut designer, all the shortcuts can be customized as can the site manager window.

There is so much more that makes this application great, but given the amount of space available, I think I have touched on the features that I felt were huge or the most useful.

A couple of things I would like to see in future versions is the capability for dockable tool bars and the option to have a tabbed format for multiple open pages as opposed to the current scheme of having each page open in a new window.

Cost Value:

If your serious about building serious web applications, Macromedia is serious about providing that tool. There simply is no better website design tool than UltraDev. You combine this with the ease of integration with other programs such as Flash and Fireworks from Macromedia as well as most other popular and professional graphic tools, you have a very powerful resource at your fingertips.

Then you add to that the very knowledgeable user base in the very popular Macromedia Newsgroups and the extensibility that these end users add in the way of new extensions for UltraDev, it only makes sense to go with the one and only package you'll need to develop some of the most professional sites on the web.

The Cost of Purchase can be made up, with profit, the very first time it is used.

Review ID Number: 356
  Product Details
Review Date: 2001-04-20
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
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