When Adobe Dreamweaver was first released in 1997, it was designed as a WYSIWYG web page editor. Over the years, Adobe has evolved Dreamweaver into an all-in-one tool for creating, publishing, and managing websites and mobile content. However, in keeping up with the constant evolution of the web, so many features, panels, dialog boxes, and menu items have been added that Dreamweaver has become a bit bloated and cumbersome, especially for new users.
As the Dreamweaver product manager, I am here to tell you that we, the product team, are hell-bent on modernizing Dreamweaver. We have already simplified parts of the application and streamlined the interface and various workflows. If you haven't opened Dreamweaver in a while, I hope I can entice you to take another look.
In this article, I provide insight into what the Dreamweaver team has been up to, and tell you what you can expect from Dreamweaver CC today and in the future.
As a web designer and developer, I've been using Dreamweaver for years. When I joined Adobe as a product manager in 2012, my first mission involved delving into features I'd previously never used. I was not alone — the entire Dreamweaver engineering team joined in the exercise. We evaluated the product on many levels and came to some surprising conclusions. We also got great feedback from members of our community that played a crucial role in the modernization process.
First and foremost, we were surprised by how much duplication there was. Often there would be several ways to do the exact same thing, which created redundant entry points for various workflows. For example, in the area of font management, there were many redundant dialog boxes just to work with a single feature. It was confusing and interfered with the experience. We needed to streamline the user interface.
With the Dreamweaver CC launch in June 2013, we have streamlined the application by removing 10 panels, 14 dialog boxes, and 62 menu items. A simpler UI means fewer steps to accomplish your tasks and fewer interruptions to your workflow.
Our team also looked at what our customers were actually doing with the product. Based on in-app usage data, we discovered that several features were not being used by the majority of Dreamweaver users.
For example, many of the server- and data-related features were unused by the vast majority of customers. Additionally, many features centered around ways of doing things that are no longer considered best practices. The Spry feature set was built on a proprietary Adobe technology stack rather than on open source web technology, which contributed to the decision to replace it with components from the jQuery framework.
Note: As we remove older features from Dreamweaver CC, we recognize that some customers may still depend on existing workflows or technologies. Therefore, in addition to making Dreamweaver CS6 available through Creative Cloud, we are also providing some alternatives. Read A look at the modernized Dreamweaver CC on the Dreamweaver team blog for more information.
In our ongoing mission to modernize Dreamweaver, our primary goal is to continue to provide new features and improve existing ones to streamline the front-end workflow for designers who rely on visual tooling.
This effort is a combination of keeping up with web standards and working with customers and internal teams to develop a product that is both innovative and relevant.
Speaking of innovation, web standards are all about innovation and are defined by the agreement of W3C members, including Adobe, browser vendors, members of the developer community, and W3C staff.
Within Adobe is the Web Platform team, which exists to drive web standards innovation as well as to support Adobe's products, both current and future.
Our Dreamweaver team works directly with the Web Platform team within Adobe to ensure we are creating a product that enables our users to design standards-compliant sites in an intuitive and streamlined manner. One of the new features in the latest Dreamweaver CC release, rendering pages in Live View using the same rendering engine that powers the Chrome browser, stems directly from our cooperation with the Web Platform team and the work they do directly with browser vendors.
Our relationships with our customers are incredibly important, and our customers play a big role in the direction of the product. We have a very talented and vocal prerelease group. Additionally, we work with customers outside the prerelease group, who fit a slightly different mold and are also avid Dreamweaver users.
We also look at what users are actually doing in the product itself. Using data gathered within the application, we can see which features are being used by the majority of customers and which ones are not. We combine this data with all the anecdotal evidence from customers to understand what should be added, improved, or removed altogether from Dreamweaver.
Dreamweaver CC has a streamlined interface with a combination of new and updated features. Figures 1–8 and Video 1 below give you a glimpse of what you can expect to see. In addition to these updates, Dreamweaver CC continues to integrate with PHP and now supports PHP 5.4.
Video 1. Edge Tools integration has been enhanced to improve use of Adobe Edge Web Fonts, Adobe Edge Animate CC, and PhoneGap Build.
In a continuous effort to reach our customers, we have a comprehensive plan to communicate important information about Dreamweaver through channels such as blog posts, our Learn Dreamweaver CC show on Adobe TV, and YouTube. Dreamweaver users can find many videos on YouTube and Adobe TV that go into great detail on using the features.
We also leverage social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, to drive traffic to the blog posts and videos that provide more detail on the direction of Dreamweaver as well as training resources and information on how our customers are using Dreamweaver in their business solutions.
If you are a Creative Cloud member, make sure to download the latest updates. If you are not a Creative Cloud member, download the free trial and see what we've been working on.
Alejandro Gutierrez is the Dreamweaver product manager and a dedicated web and mobile software designer. After many years as a musician, Alejandro re-entered the software industry at GameHouse in 2006. He later worked for SiriusXM and a small start-up before joining Adobe in 2012. Alejandro's work centers on realigning and redesigning web and mobile products.