While there are plenty of new features, this is still the familiar Dreamweaver, so it's easy to upgrade from CS5 or CS5. If you're working with HTML5 or with sites that need to deliver to multiple devices, then you're going to want to upgrade. Other users may find it harder to justify, but we'd recommend upgrading just for the improvements in CSS support - as technologies like CSS Transforms and Fluid Grids will help deliver the modern designs users are expecting.
The web doesn't stay still, and new browsers and new technologies mean changes to your sites. With the explosion in mobile browsing, those changes are now bigger than ever before. Even so, Dreamweaver CS6 is still the familiar app with the same mix of design and code, and support for just about any web authoring technology you can think of.
The challenge for Dreamweaver CS6 The return of the browser wars has accelerated the development of the web. Building a modern web page requires a mix of design and programming skills, and Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 needs to support a diverse audience of both designers and developers.
That's a hard task, as both have different needs, and both work in very different ways. If you've used earlier versions of Dreamweaver, you'll find CS6 very familiar, with its large design surface and palette of tools UI and experience in Dreamweaver CS6 Open up Adobe Dreamweaver CS6, and you're straight into the familiar Dreamweaver experience.
Designer or developer, you're going to need to edit code. There are some interesting little UI touches that make it easier to build a custom experience that suits the way you work. For example there's the option to switch between coloured and monochrome icons. Layouts and code don't show how a site will look to your users. Dreamweaver's Live View is a built-in WebKit engine that renders and runs ages and scripts Improved layouts in Dreamweaver CS6 Developers keep their code-first view, while designers get improved layout tools that work with a range of modern web technologies.
The result remains flexible, and it's easy for designers and developers to share a workspace. However there's still little or no support for code repositories and other team working features. Fluid grids are an important combination of CSS3 features that allow you to use media queries to deliver flexible layouts that automatically adjust to deliver content appropriate to different classes of device. Adobe is currently supporting common smartphone, tablet and desktop resolutions with Dreamweaver's fluid grids, which give you templates to layout pages for each of the three screen resolutions.
There's also the option of cutting and pasting code and creating your own additional grids for different screen resolutions - perhaps adding views for TV screens or home media consoles, or for pages that handle tablet screen rotations. Creating Fluid Grids that work on PCs, tablets and phones is now as easy as choosing a layout and defining the columns used Dreamweaver handles the media queries Working with fluid grids is much like working with Dreamweaver CS6's template tools.
Once you've opened a grid layout, all you need to do is define the appropriate page regions, using DIV tags. Regions are then aligned them using Dreamweaver's column grids, and you can choose which regions display where, depending on the resolution of a user's screen.
If an element isn't needed at a particular resolution it can be hidden, and won't be displayed. It's a surprisingly simple solution to a relatively complex problem - Dreamweaver handles the media queries, and all you need to do is create the appropriate page layouts and designs. Another benefit to using Dreamweaver's fluid grid tools is that they can also be used to create HTML 5 user interfaces for Windows 8 Metro applications. With fluid layouts, you need to be able to preview your work without publishing it to the appropriate devices.
Dreamweaver CS6's WebKit-based Live View tools now include a resolution switcher, to quickly change from smartphone, to table, and to desktop browsers. Pages can also be tested in a standard desktop browser, just resizing to get the appropriate views. You can use transitions to display pop-ups, or to accentuate actions, or just to draw attention to a link or a menu.
There's no code needed, as it's all handled by CSS. You can test your transition effects in Dreamweaver's Live View, using the built-in WebKit browser to display the CSS effects without leaving your design, and Transitions make it easy to add effects to a page. CSS Transitions simplify adding special effects to a page. Where once you'd have had to write code, you can now quickly configure CSS and apply it to page elements Mobile development and site hosting The mobile web isn't just about browsers, and Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 adds tools for working with PhoneGap , Adobe's tool for packaging web applications into apps that run on the major phone platforms.
Instead of publishing to a web server, mobile applications can be delivered to Adobe's PhoneGap Build cloud service. You can control which platforms you're building for using the PhoneGap Build panel in Dreamweaver, which reports on build status for each platform you're targeting.
Once a build is complete, all you need to do is download your app from the PhoneGap site for testing, and eventual publishing on an app store. There's even the option to use a QR code to load an app straight to a device from the PhoneGap Build site, and you can use one to send clients to a public page for their app approval.
Adobe's PhoneGap Build service wraps web applications as native mobile applications. Just sign up and publish to the cloud jQuery Mobile elements Mobile developers also get access to a set of jQuery Mobile elements, so they can quickly build interactive sites without having to spend time getting a code framework in place.
Components can be dragged and dropped to pages, and themes can be applied on the fly. You can apply these elements to a whole site, or to an individual element. There's also the option of creating your own themes in Fireworks CS6, and delivering them as theme swatches of CSS and sprite sheets.
If you're building a mobile site, Dreamweaver 6 includes support for JQuery Mobile, with a library of components that can be added to any page Business Catalyst and Dreamweaver CS6 If you need to show your clients live site designs, Adobe has added support for its Business Catalyst site hosting service. You can use it to host sites with their own domains, using the built-in CMS and ecommerce tools. Dreamweaver supports Business Catalyst's modules, dropping the appropriate tags into your pages.
A free trial site is available for Dreamweaver users, and gives you somewhere to test sites, as well as quickly sharing prototypes or completed sites with clients. We're still not sure about Business Catalyst as a tool for most developers, who are likely to have their own staging servers or hosting relationships - especially as it uses custom code that's not particularly portable.
For details on where to buy, please visit the Adobe Store. Quick links to our other CS6 reviews: