Adobe claims that its customers persuaded the company to replace its GoLive web editor application with Dreamweaver (formerly produced by Macromedia) in the latest version of its Creative Suite collection of programs. Adobe claims that it will, however, maintain GoLive as a standalone product.

Adobe purchased rival Macromedia in December 2005. Previously, the two companies competed in both the graphic-design and web-design tools markets – with Macromedia dominant in the latter. The combined company now has no serious rival in the web- and graphics-design tools market, with even Microsoft lagging behind with its forthcoming Expression tools suite.

A major factor in the replacement of GoLive with Dreamweaver was the crossover between Photoshop and Dreamweaver users.

Adobe said that after speaking with its customers it became clear that many designers were struggling with the process of moving content from full-page design mock-ups in Photoshop into Dreamweaver.

With Creative Suite 3 designers can select any portion of a design in Photoshop - even across multiple layers - and paste it directly into a Dreamweaver page. Dreamweaver will present a dialog box where you can specify optimization options for the image, and that’s it - no further work is necessary. If, at some point, the image needs to be edited, double-clicking on the original layered PSD file opens in Photoshop for editing.

“This is just a huge workflow improvement for Dreamweaver users,” Kenneth Berger, Adobe’s Dreamweaver Product Manager, told Macworld's Jim Dalrymple. “When we looked at what was important for this release it was Photoshop because of the overlap of the users - an overwhelming percentage of Dreamweaver users also use Photoshop.”

“One of the things that made me excited about this release is that we attacked the huge problems that customers have in designing for the Web,” said Berger.

Browser buddies

One of the problems affecting all Web designers is browser compatibility. Making sure a Web site works for the Mac, Windows and Linux browsers is often a difficult task, but with Adobe CSS Advisor, the company hopes to solve that problem.

In addition to just providing feedback that there may be browser compatibility issues, Dreamweaver CS3 now provides links to Adobe CSS Advisor, which contains information on the latest issues, offers tips and suggestions and is maintained by and for the user community.

As with previous releases, Dreamweaver CS3 also provides users with sample designs to help get you started with your design.

“What do you do with a blank page — it’s always difficult to start from scratch,” said Berger. “We are not trying to tell you to use our designs, these are just starting points so you can make it your own.”

Managing CSS has also become easier in this release. The Manage CSS feature makes it easier for users to move CSS rules from document to document, from the head of a document to an external sheet and between external CSS files. You can also convert inline CSS to CSS rules, and place them where you need them by dragging and dropping.

Interactive Ajax

The other big integration feature in Dreamweaver CS3 is with the company’s Spry framework for Ajax. One of the new Web 2.0 buzzwords, Ajax is a development technique for creating interactive web applications.

Dreamweaver now allows users to visually design, develop and deploy dynamic user interfaces. Using Spry Widgets, commonly used Ajax Elements are available from a tab in the Dreamweaver toolbar.

Widgets include XML-driven lists and tables, accordions, tabbed interfaces and form elements with validation. Spry Effects is another way to enhance the look of a Web page. The effects allow users to make elements grow, shrink, fade and highlight.

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Standard, and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Standard will begin shipping in April 2007. Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection for Mac OS X on Intel-based systems and for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista platforms will begin shipping worldwide in the third quarter of 2007.

Estimated street price for the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium is £1,409, £1,195 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium, £1,409 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, and £1,969 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection. There are numerous upgrade paths available for Adobe customers.

Macworld's Jim Dalrymple contributed to this article.