Adobe Dreamweaver

Web Design & Development Guide

Adobe Dreamweaver


Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 under Mac OS X.
Developer: Adobe Systems (formerly Macromedia)
Latest release: CS3 (9.0) / March 27, 2007
OS: Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Genre: HTML editor
License: Closed source
Website: www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver/

Adobe Dreamweaver, or simply Dreamweaver, is a web development tool originally created by Macromedia (now Adobe Systems). Initial versions of the application served as simple WYSIWYG HTML editors but more recent versions have incorporated notable support for many other web technologies such as CSS, JavaScript, and various server-side scripting frameworks. [1] The software is available for both the Mac and Windows platforms. Dreamweaver is currently owned by Adobe Systems, which acquired Macromedia in 2005.


As a WYSIWYG editor, Dreamweaver can hide the details of pages' HTML code from the user, making it possible for non-coders to create web pages and sites. A professional criticism of this approach is that it produces HTML pages whose file size and amount of HTML code is much larger than they should be, which can cause web browsers to perform poorly. This can be particularly true because the application makes it very easy to create table-based layouts. In addition, some web site developers have criticized Dreamweaver in the past for producing code that often does not comply with W3C standards though this has improved considerably in recent versions. Dreamweaver 8.0 (the version prior to the recently released 9.0 within CS3) performed poorly on the Acid2 Test, developed by the Web Standards Project. However, Macromedia has increased the support for CSS and other ways to lay out a page without tables in later versions of the application, with the ability to convert tables to layers and vice versa.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS3
Adobe Dreamweaver CS3

Dreamweaver allows users to preview websites in many browsers, provided that they are installed on their computer. It also has some site management tools, such as the ability to find and replace lines of text or code by whatever parameters specified across the entire site, and a templatization feature for creating multiple pages with similar structures. The behaviors panel also enables use of basic JavaScript without any coding knowledge.

With the advent of version MX, Macromedia incorporated dynamic content creation tools into Dreamweaver. In the spirit of HTML WYSIWYG tools, it allows users to connect to databases (such as MySQL and Microsoft Access) to filter and display content using scripting technologies such as Active Server Pages (ASP), ASP.NET, ColdFusion, JavaServer Pages (JSP), PHP, and more without any previous programming experience.

Dreamweaver 8.0 also included support for WYSIWYG XSLT editing, with CS3 extending on this functionality to introduce support for converting static HTML to XSLT and performing fragmented XSL transformations on the server-side.

Dreamweaver can use "Extensions" - small programs, which any web developer can write (usually in HTML and JavaScript). Extensions provide added functionality to the software for whoever wants to download and install them. Dreamweaver is supported by a large community of extension developers who make extensions available (both commercial and free) for most web development tasks from simple rollover effects to full-featured shopping carts.

Syntax highlighting

Dreamweaver MX 2004 running on Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger
Dreamweaver MX 2004 running on Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger

As of version 8, Dreamweaver supports syntax highlighting for the following languages out of the box:

  • ActionScript
  • Active Server Pages (ASP)
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • ColdFusion
    Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML)
    Extensible Markup Language (XML)
    Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT)
    JavaServer Pages (JSP)
    PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP)
    Visual Basic (VB)
    Visual Basic Script Edition (VBScript)
    Wireless Markup Language (WML)

It is also possible to add your own language syntax highlighting to its repertoire.


Dreamweaver CS3 running on Microsoft Windows Vista
Dreamweaver CS3 running on Microsoft Windows Vista
  • Dreamweaver 1.0 (Released December 1997; Dreamweaver 1.2 followed in March 1998)
  • Dreamweaver 2.0 (Released December 1998)
  • Dreamweaver 3.0 (Released December 1999)
  • Dreamweaver UltraDev 1.0 (Released June 2000)
  • Dreamweaver 4.0 (Released December 2000)
  • Dreamweaver UltraDev 4.0 (Released December 2000)
  • Dreamweaver MX [Internal version number: 6.0] (Released May 2002)
  • Dreamweaver MX 2004 (Released September 10, 2003)
  • Dreamweaver 8 (Released September 13, 2005)
  • Dreamweaver CS3 (Released April 16, 2007)

See also

External links

List of HTML editors
Adobe Dreamweaver
Microsoft FrontPage

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