Dreamweaver CS3 is the first release of this powerful web-design program under the tutelage of its new owner, Adobe. It's also the first version to run natively on Intel-based Macs. Dreamweaver CS3 offers useful new tools for designers and provides a preview of how integration with the other programs in Adobe's Creative Suite can benefit Dreamweaver users. (Find out why Adobe dumped GoLive from CS3 in favour of Dreamweaver).

What's new

Dreamweaver CS3 offers new features in three key areas: integration with other Adobe products; new features for creating, managing, and fixing CSS (Cascading Style Sheets); and a new set of JavaScript-driven tools for building pop-up navigation menus, advanced form validation, and displaying data in an interactive table.

If you use Photoshop and Dreamweaver now, you've probably grown tired of the number of steps required to get an image from Photoshop to Dreamweaver (and all of the steps you have to repeat whenever you edit a Photoshop file). Dreamweaver CS3 now supports direct copy-and-paste from Photoshop.

In Photoshop CS3 you can select a single layer, "slice" or even draw a marquee around one area of a document and copy all layers in that section. Then you can copy that selection, switch to a Dreamweaver document and paste. (You can even skip all of this and just drag a PSD file directly onto a Dreamweaver page.)

The new image optimisation window lets you apply compression settings directly in Dreamweaver (no more, "Save for Web" from Photoshop), save the file into your website, and place the new optimised image into a web page.

Even better, you can launch Photoshop and open the original image file for editing directly within Dreamweaver. After making any changes you want in Photoshop, copy the layer, slice, or portion of the Photoshop file you want, then paste the new, edited image back into Dreamweaver and replace the older image.

All the optimisation settings applied previously are remembered (including the optimised file's name) and re-applied, making edits fast and painless. Unfortunately, Dreamweaver isn't completely integrated into the suite so you won't find support for smart-objects or a similarly simple workflow for getting Illustrator files into your web pages.

The most glamorous new addition to the program is a set of tools for adding dynamic layout elements and visual effects to your web pages. Based on the "Spry Framework" (a collection of JavaScript programs developed by Adobe), these new features make it easy to add pop-up navigational menus, validate HTML forms, include complex, animated, visual effects, and add interactive data tables.