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  Fireworks 3/Dreamweaver 3 Studio

 I had originally written two seperate reviews for this product. One for dreamweaver 3 and another for Firworks 3. Then I thought, even though the two are available seperatly, they work so well together it didn't make sense to split them up.

Today's Web Sites are more complex than just a year or two ago and many are being put together by larger teams of developers using a large variety of software. In order to boost productivity, Web building teams need tools that will integrate with a company's entire set of Web development resources. Both Dreamweaver and Fireworks work well for large development teams, easily managing files originating in Microsoft Word, Excel and Access, Adobe Photoshop, digital cameras and scanners.

Dreamweaver and Fireworks can both be customized to create custom work environments using JavaScript, HTML and XML. Many of the common Web graphics tasks can be done right from within Dreamweaver. The photo album script that ships with Dreamweaver 3 is a great example. It takes images placed in Dreamweaver, resizes them automatically in Fireworks, and then returns to Dreamweaver and creates a full photo album Web site. I tried this with a folder of about 40 images and the result was an index page with 40 thumbnails and a seperate HTML page for each image including navigation links. Impressed? Just wait .... it took a grand total of about 70 seconds!

Property Inspector

Since reviews of all the previous versions of Dreamweaver can be found elsewhere in this magazine, I will list what's new in Dreamweaver 3:

· Quick Tag Editor--Add or remove a tag around current selection from within the Document window.
· HTML Styles--Define styles using standard markup or CSS.
· Improved HTML Inspector--Dockable HTML Inspector now numbers lines. Select entire lines of code from the margin.
· Native Macintosh Codebase--Entirely native code for MAC version.
· Check In and Check Out--Check in or out directly from the Document window.
· Synchronize Files-- Synchronize remote and local versions of a site.
· Launch and Edit Media--Define multiple editors for file types.
· Expanded Object Palette- New objects for Generator, Flash and more.
· Clean Up Word HTML--Another personal favorite, this cleans up Word documents that were created using "Save as Web Page".
· Inline Image Maps--Edit image maps directly in the Document window.
· Insert Fireworks HTML--Automated insertion of Fireworks HTML.
· Tabular Data Object--Excellent for users who need to display spreadsheets and databases in HTML tables.
· Design Notes--Keep notes about a file for other developers on the team and keep the note with the file. No need to e-mail abck and forth about a prcertain aspect of a project.
· Roundtrip Server Markup--A must for ASP, CFML and PHP users.
· History Palette--Photoshop users will be happy with this one! Repeat one or many steps and save a step as a command. Saving no longer clears the Undo list.
· Increased Extensibility--More than 300 new API functions in version 3.
· Customizable Menus--Now the entire menu system is defined in an XML file.

Fireworks 3 focuses on the challenges inherent in Web graphics production and closes the gap between graphics software and authoring tools. It offers new graphic design features for the Web, such as optimization of rollover effects within the workspace and live preview. There is also a new Library that enables storage of original artwork within the authoring environment, allowing the automation of graphics workflow. Fireworks 3 is also great at integrating with other graphics packages and HTML editors (such as Photoshop and GoLive!). Adobe Photoshop files keep their editable text, layers and effects layers within Fireworks. It can output virtually every standard Web graphics format, including Macromedia Flash (SWF). It integrates very well with Dreamweaver and other popular HTML editors and can output HTML code specific to those editors. Yes, even Microsoft Frontpage.

It works well with Dreamweaver, as Dreamweaver 3 contains new objects that can add Fireworks HTML(which is really dreamweaver HTML anyway), graphics and navigation elements with just one click. There are many new features that just may convert a good many die-hard Adobe users (although it's print capabilities may not equal Photoshop, it certainly surpasses Photoshop in Web Graphic creation):

· History Palette--Automate redundant tasks and create Commands from any step.
· Symbols Library--Easily re-use graphics and interactive buttons.
· Preview In Workspace--Preview all your work in the workspace, including rollovers and optimization.
· Increased Adobe Integration--Import Photoshop files while retaining layers and effects, and export vectors to Illustrator.
· Visual Roundtrip Editing--Speed up Web graphics workflow and HTML process.
· Color Correction--New brightness/contrast, levels/curves and hue/saturation filters allow real-time color correction.
· Export to SWF--Export as .swf for easy integration with Macromedia Flash projects.
· View Third Party Filters as Live Effects--Use Photoshop, Alien Skin and other third party filters as Live Effects.
· Macintosh and Windows Gamma Preview--Easily view graphics using both Macintosh and Windows Gamma.
· Button Creator and Link Wizard--Quickly create buttons and use the Link Wizard to apply image optimization, link and target.

Dreamweaver 3 and Fireworks 3 together make a very complete and powerful web authouring tool. Again, that is why I decided to combine the two in one review - it just makes sense.

As they are so extensible, the possibilities with these two new products are really endless. And because the Studio is so feature-rich, beginning users will find it a bit hard to use at first. But once you get to know what this suite can do for you, you will wonder how you did without it.

Review ID Number: 362
  Product Details
Review Date: 2001-04-19
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
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