Dreamweaver CS4 Beta: Comprehensive TUAW Review

Widely recognized as a robust integrated development environment, Adobe Dreamweaver serves both seasoned professionals and beginners who are steered towards it by recommendations. While hardcore programmers may prefer other editors and IDEs, this review focuses on Dreamweaver’s capabilities as a WYSIWYG HTML editor, which is where it excels.

The latest update, Dreamweaver CS4, was unveiled in a public beta release earlier this week. Here, we delve into what sets this new version apart and whether it merits an upgrade.

Let’s explore further.

Firstly, the sheer size of Dreamweaver CS4 is notable—it’s a substantial 509MB download, compared to the 366MB of its predecessor, Dreamweaver CS3.

In contrast, alternatives like Coda and TextMate are significantly lighter, weighing in at 52MB and 30MB respectively. It’s hard to justify the additional 200MB in CS4, which hopefully includes non-essential code that will be removed in the final release.

The user interface of Dreamweaver CS4 remains largely unchanged from its predecessor, maintaining its customizable nature. However, the Insert palette has been relocated to join other palettes rather than floating above the workspace.

A new, small toolbar above the workspace now conveniently displays linked documents like stylesheets and scripts, making them easily accessible.

Before my switch to Coda, I had been a long-time user of Dreamweaver, from its third version through CS3. Over time, as I shifted towards more hand-coding, Dreamweaver’s role as a text editor became more apparent, especially with the enhancements seen in CS4.

However, features like Coda’s terminal integration and visual CSS editor would be beneficial additions to Dreamweaver.

Another new feature in CS4 is the Code Navigator, which pops up to show CSS properties for a selected item, eliminating the need to switch to tools like Firebug for this information. An enhancement that would make this feature even more useful is indicating which styles are being overridden by others.

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited feature is Live View, which offers a preview mode similar to what you’d see in browsers like Safari or others that use the WebKit engine.


Anthony is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest news and insights about Apple products. With a keen eye for detail, Anthony covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates on the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex tech topics accessible to everyone. When he’s not writing, Anthony enjoys exploring new features on his iPad and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of Apple technology.