Adobe products have long been important to the web designer’s toolkit, from Dreamweaver and Flash to Fireworks and Photoshop. And despite the talk of Flash being on the outs due to Apple’s snub of the program in its mobile and tablet devices, Adobe’s programs still have a lot to offer — and they just got even better. The fresh Creative Suite 5 (CS5) brings some new features to the fore, especially when it comes to creating interactive, multiplatform content. Adobe is also stepping up to embrace open source content management systems.
Here are five web design functions that have improved with CS5.
- Develop for content management systems in Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver felt as if it had fallen a bit behind once open source content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal started gaining in popularity. But now Dreamweaver supports these systems and makes it easy for developers to get accurate views of the sites they’re building as they’re building them — right in Dreamweaver. It can also auto-fill php commands from the content management systems’ command libraries and assists in finding related and linked files to help organize and streamline development.
- Preview your project in multiple browsers. Adobe’s online Browser Lab tool is a powerful resource for designers wanting to get quick views of their projects in multiple browsers, including different versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. Now Browser Lab is integrated with Dreamweaver, making cross-browser development less tedious and part of the design process from the start. Adobe has also integrated its online Review tool to help seamlessly manage project reviews.
- Publish your content on multiple platforms. Flash now gives you more options for publishing as it properly codes your content for the platform you need, from web and mobile sites to Air apps. Adobe originally intended to let users publish iPhone Apps from Flash, but as of press time Apple does not support apps created with Flash.
- Develop interactive content quickly. Flash Catalyst takes the complex coding work out of using Flash and lets users unfamiliar with ActionScript turn Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks files into interactive content with buttons, scrollbars, and other interactive features. Flash also has new improvements when it comes to ActionScript with the addition of Code Snippets, which provide a library of frequently used scripts that gives designers a great base to start from and allows them to add their own scripts as needed.
- Create better web images. In CS5, Illustrator has enhanced anti-aliasing features, allowing for even crisper, pixel-aligned designs, and Photoshop’s 3-D engine has been upgraded to create more realistic and complex 3-D shapes. The selection tools, smart fill tools, and brushes all have upgrades, as well.