Opening Dreamweaver MX 2004 for the first time, you are greeted
by the new Start page. This new welcome screen is in all the
new versions for 2004. It isn't in Freehand (listed on my Start
Menu as FreeHand MXa), since this is the version previously released
in Studio MX Plus.
From here you can choose to work on a recent document, create
a new blank document or create a document from a template. You
can also reach the Macromedia Exchange to look for new extensions,
take a Dreamweaver tour or do a tutorial. If you don't want to
see the screen again, tick the "Don't Show Again" box
at the bottom of the screen.
Automatic Site Importing
My first very pleasant surprise was that my sites
from DWMX had been imported, all on their own, with no input
from me. DWMX 2004 quietly and swiftly retrieved them from my
DWMX folder and placed them in the Files panel.
As you open a site, DWMX 2004 searches for new and updated files,
and this takes a few seconds depending on the size of the site.
I have noticed one disturbing trend: one of my sites is quite
large, and contains numerous folders for the various parts of
the site. Trying to work on files from this large site resulted
in DWMX 2004 searching for new and updated files but crashing
quite often during the process. In the end I deleted the site
and made separate sites for the various areas of the website.
Sometimes the sites will appear to have no files until chosen
from the popup site menu again, and then they reappear in their
I have also noticed that my panels and toolbars don't always
stick and are sometimes missing when I open Dreamweaver. Whether
this is specific to windows machines I don't know.
My second pleasant surprise was that finally the default color
mode has changed since DWMX, and now comes set not to use websafe
colors. It is a great pleasure to choose to use #FFFFF6, and
not have DWMX change it to white. I think this is a step forward;
websafe colors have their place but in this day of larger monitors
and 16M colors, less stick to the websafe rules anymore. If you
prefer them, you can easily change it in the color picker options
by checking Snap to Websafe.
Customize your Workspace
The first time you open Dreamweaver (Windows only) you will
be asked to choose a workspace: Coder or Designer. If you prefer
Coder you will get the Homesite View with code and folders. With
the Designer workspace, the What You See Is What You Get view
helps new designers see what they are designing, and it lets
experienced designers test the look of the design.
You can switch views at any time by going to Edit > Preferences > General and
clicking the Change Workspace button.
Or for those who prefer a bit of hand coding with
their WYSIWYG, the split view showing both Design and Code view
in a split window will be just the ticket. I typically work this
way, so I can change code in a flash and see the results in Design
Want to create your own keyboard shortcuts? You
can do that too. By hiding, grouping, and floating panels you
can create a work area customized to suit the way you work.