ISSUE 565: New economy- Aug 22 2000
The high-tech office
Similarities of online page-making
programs means small touches make all the difference
high-tech world thrives on competition, with Microsoft and its
competitors grabbing most of the headlines. But not all high-tech
rivalries involve the Seattle behemoth. Another long-standing rivalry
is ongoing between Macromedia and Adobe.
The two companies face off with a pair
of programs aiming to satisfy graphics designers looking for artistic
control over online pages: Macromedia's DreamWeaver and Adobe's GoLive.
Beginners will find both programs too
complex, while programmers will prefer software that lets them get
their hands right on the raw HTML code. Like other programs from both
companies, these aim at graphics and page designers.
There are lots of similarities be-
tween the two programs. Both are available, for about $400 to $450, in
editions for Mac and Windows. Both offer interfaces laden with multiple
palettes and floating windows, and provide similar feature sets
supporting all the latest Web page standards -- HTML 4.0, Cascading
Standard Sheets, dHTML, blah, blah, blah. Both make it easy to create
templates for consistent page design. Both offer site management
features, to check for and repair broken links, upload and synchronize
entire sites from a local hard drive to the Web, and more. Both work
best if you start off thinking about an entire site rather than a
DreamWeaver, now with version 3.0, is
available on its own or bundled with Macromedia's Fireworks Web graphic
program. Like recent versions of Adobe's PhotoShop, DreamWeaver
features a History palette, making it possible to back up to any
previous state of your work. You can also use it as the basis to
automate a repetitive series of commands --- just select a series of
History steps, Save As Command and the macro will appear in the
DreamWeaver is totally customizable, in
from the company's Web site and can be used on both Mac and Windows
versions of the program. Advanced users can make their own.
DreamWeaver creates clean HTML code and
can clean up imported code. It can, for instance, remove Microsoft
Word-specific code, cutting page bloat (and download times) by as much
as 50 per cent. Other options allow users to turn HTML 4.0 layers into
tables needed to work with earlier generations of browsers.
A Quick-Tag editor pops up the relevant
HTML code for anything on the page, allowing those of you who are
HTML-aware to make quick fixes as needed. If you need more access to
the raw code, a copy of Allaire HomeSite (for Windows users) or BBEdit
(for Mac-oids) is included in the box.
New from Macromedia: Dream-
Weaver UltraDev, to build pages connected to large corporate databases.
Adobe purchased GoLive from CyberStudio.
Version 4.0 is the company's first version, with 5.0 expected soon.
Among its strengths is pixel-level control over placement of text and
graphics. Though this can result in some pretty complex HTML code, it
gives the user precise control over where everything on the page ends
up, which is usually lacking in Web page design. Users start by
dragging a grid onto a blank page, then dropping in placeholders for
various elements. This is similar to working with page layout programs
and makes for a comfortable experience for designers more familiar with
the printed page. Users can see how their designs will look in various
versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, for both
Mac and PC, even without having all those browsers installed.
A basic QuickTime video editor, while
no replacement for a full-featured program, allows the creation or
editing of video clips. GoLive Actions resemble DreamWeaver's Commands
customize pages. However, GoLive lacks DreamWeaver's total
customizability. Unlike DreamWeaver, the Mac and Windows versions of
GoLive cannot exchange project files.
Version 5.0 promises improved im-
port and export of code between GoLive and HTML text editors, and drag
and drop between the program and other Adobe graphics programs, among
100 promised new features.
While some will prefer GoLive's precise
control over everything on the page, DreamWeaver offers a more
intuitive (though still complex) interface and better support of
advanced functions, at least for now.