August 1st, 2010 Add Your Comments

OK, Dreamweaver has reused the recordset code for too long, but let’s look at the big picture for Dreamweaver CS5. The easiest front end development tool that exists… period. No one can take that away. In CS5, Adobe has finally stepped up their development game a notch.

As a PHP developer, it’s the changes in Code view that really excite me. When you start typing a PHP script in Dreamweaver CS5, you’ll immediately notice a red marker in the line numbers column and an alert about a syntax error. Complete the line without errors, and the marker and warning disappear. Dreamweaver constantly checks your syntax on the fly. It doesn’t tell you what the errors are, but it highlights all lines with errors, making the debugging process much quicker. PHP code hints have also been improved dramatically. There’s full support for all core functions, constants, and classes (as of PHP 5.2).

Code hinting is also much smarter. Instead of needing to search through code hints alphabetically, Dreamweaver CS5 searches for substrings. This is helpful when you can’t remember the exact name of function or class—just type the part of the name that you remember, and Dreamweaver includes it in the list. You can also work out your own shortcuts. For example, if you press Ctrl+spacebar and type gesi, the code hints take you straight to getimagesize() by recognizing the ge of “image” and the si of “size”. And in case you don’t know how a function or class works, the official manual page—complete with code examples—appears as a tooltip at the bottom of the selected code hint.

For serious PHP developers, it gets even better. Dreamweaver CS5 is capable of code introspection, so it builds code hints on the fly for your own functions and classes, as well as for third-party libraries, such as the Zend Framework. The definition files don’t even need to be directly attached to the page you’re working in. With Site-Specific Code Hints, you tell Dreamweaver where your library files are located, and it scans them for you automatically.

So should you upgrade? Seriously, you’re asking that? YES… it’s the best version of Dreamweaver that’s existed.