May '11

Best Tip Ever: Using Online CSS3 Tools In Dreamweaver

One of the coolest things about the development of CSS3 is all of the experimental sites and online tools being created to help us all learn the new syntax, properties, etc. There are literally tons of great ones like, John Allsopp’s  westciv tools,, and many more. In fact, even Microsoft has gotten in the game with their test drive site for IE 9 (and Preview Release of IE 10). But even with the great enhancements to Dreamweaver CS5.5, using these tools still requires bouncing out to the browser, using the online tool and then copy/pasting the generated code back into your CSS in Dreamweaver – or does it?

Actually, one of the best features of Dreamweaver, Live View, can be used in a way that you might not have thought of. We know that Live View allows us to see the page, rendered by the embedded Webkit engine, exactly as it would appear in Webkit-based browsers. But there is also an interesting text field that becomes active in Live View at the top of the document window – an address field – just like in a browser!

The address field in Live View

And yes, you can type any URL into the field. Dreamweaver, just like the browser, will load the page in Live View. If you are in Split View mode, you might notice that the actual HTML from the page you are viewing is not there because Dreamweaver is still showing the code of your original page.

Live Code displaying the generated source

But click the Live Code button, and Dreamweaver will display the generated source of the page you are looking at — complete with all the corresponding CSS and Javascript files appearing in the related files bar. It’s a great way to learn from what others are doing.

To get the most out of this feature, I have simply created a “tools page” with links to all of my favorite online tools. In order to interact with your local tools page, you will need to choose “Follow Link” or, even better, “Follow Links Continuously” from the Live View Options menu.

The follow links continuously command

So now, when I start Dreamweaver, I immediately open this page, turn on Live View, enable the Follow Links Continuously option and then go about working on my projects. Any time that I need a gradient, transition or anything more complex that I don’t want to “think about” how to create, I switch to my “tools page” tab where all my online friends are ready to help. I can then easily copy their code into the stylesheet that I am working on.

Live View rendering Colorzilla's Gradient Maker

Let me know what you think about this – or if you have an even better “Best Tip Ever”!


Apr '11

Dreamweaver CS5.5 — Wickedly Evolved!

Like the sun rising in the east, every time a new version of a product is rolled out, the marketing machine proclaims this to be the “best version ever”! Well, having had the luxury of being involved with Dreamweaver since the very beginning, I can honestly tell you that Dreamweaver CS5.5 is not just a point release on top of CS5 — it truly is the best version ever! Along with addressing bugs (face it, every piece of software has bugs) the Dreamweaver team has taken on the challenge of keeping up with the evolving web industry, specifically around enhanced HTML5/CSS3 support, and the move toward multi-screen authoring, both from a “mobile optimized” approach using CSS3 media queries, as well as embracing the jQuery Mobile framework. Finally, the ability to wrap HTML/CSS/JS up into a native iOS and/or Android application using the Phonegap framework is sure to be a “crowd pleaser”.


For those that missed it, shortly after the release of Dreamweaver CS5, the team released an update on Adobe Labs which provided initial code-hinting support for HTML5 and CSS3. This was later baked into an update to the core product. With Dreamweaver CS5.5, the team has updated the code-hinting database to reflect the current state of the HTML5 elements, as well as updating the WebKit browser engine embedded into Dreamweaver’s Live View. This means that things like native HTML5 video can be “seen”, but also interacted with while you are designing your page.

Live View of Native Video

For the CSS3 aficionados, you might remember that the HTML5/CSS3 update last year added support for vendor-specific prefixes. This meant that you could type a dash, and Dreamweaver would codehint “-moz-”, “-o-” and “-webkit”-”. Choosing one of the vendor-specific prefixes would then in turn display a list the list of CSS properties that that specific prefix could be used with. Dreamweaver CS5.5 not only continues this functionality, a fourth vendor-specific prefix has been added, “-ms-”, because now Internet Explorer 9 has adopted its own prefix.

Code Hinting Vendor Prefixes

Additionally, the CSS Panel has been updated with a couple of very nice enhancements. First, the dropdown list now includes all of the new CSS3 properties and any vendor-specific properties that you may have added to your rule show up in the assigned properties list for easy editing. Second, new fly-out dialogs have been added to allow you to quickly specify values for box shadow, text shadow and border radius. Finally, the color picker has been updated to support the RGBa and HSLa color spaces — and even translate between hexadecimal values and these new color spaces.

CSS3 Support in the CSS Panel

The Multiscreen Preview which was added with the HTML5 update, has also been improved and now eases the process of creating media queries and their attached stylesheet files. But taking the idea one step further, the Window Size manager (a long forgotten Dreamweaver feature) now includes the ability to change the Design View and Live View to reflect only the desired stylesheet. Yes, this means that you can continue to work, modifying HTML, CSS and Javascript, while looking at the way the page will actually look under various scenarios! If you are serious about targeting multiple screen sizes/dimensions with CSS, this feature will have you cheering!

jQuery Mobile

And if you are into targeting mobile devices, the jQuery Mobile framework helps ease the process of creating mobile-optimized pages that actually “feel” like a native application. As a proud sponsor of the jQuery Mobile project, the Dreamweaver team has been actively contributing back to the framework. And Dreamweaver is all the better for it, as Dreamweaver CS5.5 adds a jQuery Mobile widget section to the Insert Panel, allowing you to easily add UI widgets from the framework to your page — and getting started is just as easy with the new jQuery Mobile starter layout. Use the Window Size manager to set your Design/Live View to the size of a mobile phone and it’s as if you are almost working on the phone itself.

And speaking of jQuery in general, Dreamweaver CS5.5 builds upon the enhanced Javascript code-hinting introduced in the previous version by providing intelligent code-hinting for the full jQuery framework.

Insert jQuery Mobile widgets directly into the page


Having spent the last six or so months attending conferences featuring talks about native application development with HTML/CSS/JS, I can personally attest to the popularity of the Phonegap framework. This simple, yet powerful, framework is there to solve one simple problem, the actual packaging of your HTML, CSS and Javascript into a native application for iOS and Android devices. And Dreamweaver CS5.5 includes built-in access to the framework — meaning, once you have your application looking and functioning like you want, a simple command in Dreamweaver can pass the entire “site” off to the Phonegap framework, packaging it up for deployment, or, if you’re in the middle of development, you can interact with your application using the iOS or Android simulators included in the respective platforms’ SDK.

Native Apps with the Phonegap framework

Read more, see more

I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to finally being able to show this wickedly evolved version of Dreamweaver off in public! And, that’s what I will be doing quite a lot over the coming months. Together with my good friends and colleagues, Terry White, Jason Levine and Paul Trani, I will be on tour around the world throughout the rest of April, May and June. You can see dates in the right hand column of this blog — or, read more about the tour and get registered on our Creative Suite Evolution Tour page. If you can’t make it to one of our tour stops, I’ve also recorded a series of videos showing off all the shiny new features.

Of course, this release is not just about Dreamweaver — there’s new stuff for Flash developers, video and audio professionals, as well as some wickedly cool developments in the InDesign world. So, be sure to check out Terry’s blog to get up to speed on publishing from InDesign to tablets. Jason will be spreading all of the new video and audio love (any Audition fans out there on the Mac platform?), and Paul will be sharing all the new developments around Flash and how this version is raising the bar on multi-screen development for applications and games.

As always, be sure to visit Dreamweaver’s home on for a complete list of features, as well as pricing and upgrade information.


Oct '10

HTML5 Video – Another Take

As I’ve been getting more and more into HTML5 and thereby also native video, I’ve come to realize that it’s a lot easier said than done. Of course, we all know about the need for multiple encodings in order to provide for the variety of browsers that proliferate the market. But even after encoding H.264, Ogg and WebM, we’re still left with the need to provide a fallback for our Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 users – which means using Flash.

There are several approaches to provide this fallback, but the “recommended” way to do this is as follows. We begin with the <video> element, and then a list of <source> elements providing the multiple encodings. Of course, you have to remember to list the MP4 file first, because iDevices are so damned arrogant that they won’t look further if they don’t see their desired format first. (more…)