Macromedia Studio 8

I’ve been using the new [Studio 8]( products for many hours over the past two days, making changes to the [C3]( site and working on another special project I’ll be announcing soon.

So what’s the verdict?

On first glance, it’s not really Studio 8. It’s more like Dreamweaver 7.5. It’s very similar to the previous version, especially on the Windows side which didn’t see the interface overhaul the Mac version did.

But there are subtle changes. Little things that pop up as you’re working after a while.

Biggest difference is in code view. First, you can tie Dreamweaver in with a 3rd party comparison utility to compare files. I downloaded the demo of [Beyond Compare]( a while ago but haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. This may be a good reason.

By far, the number one change for me is the way Dreamweaver 8 handles auto completion when typing code. In Dreamweaver MX 2004 and previous versions, let’s say you needed to type an unordered list from scratch. You would type `

    ` and the software would automatically complete the `

` the moment you typed `

    `. The cursor would be in the middle of the `

      ` leaving you to type the content in the middle. If you’re nesting `

      ` tags, it means a lot of copy/paste or dragging that `

      ` tag to the right place. Trust me, if you’ve done this you know what I’m talking about.

      In Dreamweaver 8, the closing tag is not automatically generated *until* you begin to type it. So let’s say you type this:

      • first point

        The moment you type “ tag, Dreamweaver knows what you’re doing and automatically puts up the `

      • ` for you. Type “, one more “ Makes typing code much, much faster, and you have less chance of overlapping tags in the wrong place.

        One other big change…it’s far easier to jump between code and design view. In DW MX 2004 and earlier, if you selected a block of something in design view, it would be highlighted in code view but the moment you tried to select the *code* the selection would be gone. In order to copy code, you had to *select* code. In DW 8, if it’s highlighted it stays highlighted. Click through multiple areas in design view and you can copy/drag the code around without losing them.

        The new CSS panel **rules** (no pun intended). That’s the reason you upgrade, folks. CSS has never been so easy to visualize.

        I spent 90% of my time today in code view, using design view just to make sure that I was putting things in the right place so I haven’t had a chance to test everything…but from what I saw I’m not sorry I upgraded.

        Did a few small graphics in Fireworks 8. Had to remind myself that I was using a different version. I guess most of the changes are in the Photoshop-py areas of the software, so I haven’t played with them yet. You would think that after all this time, and considering the Adobe/Macromedia merger around the corner that Fireworks 8 would import/open Illustrator files newer than version 8?!? That was what, four Adobe Illustrator versions ago?!? But no. I created a small graphic in Illustrator CS2 because I work faster in that application and I couldn’t bring it in to Fireworks 8 until I downsaved it to Illustrator 8. Silly.