Dreamweaver CS5 Wish-list

Adobe will announce the new version of Dreamweaver and the whole CS5 Suite of products on April 12th. I know I am so very, very late on a wish-list; but I have been using Dreamweaver a lot lately and find the following points fresh in my mind -and worthwhile repeating. Note the wish list is in the order easy to much harder to do.

1)Show balancing parentheses, quotes, brackets, and HTML tags immediately and all the time – easiest way is to change the background or text color [see how Notepad++ does this]. Balancing <div> and brackets “{}, []” is the number one problem in turning out clean Web 2.0  code. I know that Dreamweaver automatically creates the balancing close tag but <div> or </div> can get  erased or displaced in extensive copy and paste operations.

2)Support more of the JavaScript frameworks beyond Adobe’s own Spry jQuery, EXTjs, and DHTMLx would be on my shortlist. Support all equally with design wizards, auto-complete, and templates. The widgets and components available from jQuery, EXTjs, and DHTMLx  a)really put Spry to shame and b)are vital parts of Web 2.0 and mobile Web development.

3)Support the top  4 blogs with direct post/page creation and editing – Drupal, Google Blogger, Joomla and WordPress have such divergent  full screen editing, Dreamweaver would be a godsend as a common editing tool for the major blogs. This is again a Notepad++ feature.

4)Improve the accuracy and fidelity of the Design preview of a Web page – the Design Preview is now much worse than the IE browser in showing what a web page is going to look like.  Yes, there is the Preview in Browser Dreamweaver command; but no,  its not as convenient and quick as viewing in Dreamweaver itself.

5)Provide version control integration to CVS, Subversion and GIT – Not 3rd party  extensions but first class Dreamweaver commands/tools.

6)Provide a full JavaScript Drag-and-drop GUI Layout designer – all 3 popular JavaScript frameworks JQuery, EXTjs, and DHTMLx have more than enough common components and widgets to make this a feasible design and code enhancement in Dreamweaver.

7)Provide a web page debugger on par with Firebug – this would be especially effective with http://localhost type debugging; but would also help in full web connections. I know ther is Venkmann but the integration is tawdry and the need is great with evermore Web 2.0 development. Breakpoints, Watrches and step by step debugging is fast becoming essential for debugging Web 2.0 GUI and data integration apps.

8)Take advantage of and support localhost development more fully – The JavaScript GUI Designer could be extended to support PHP and/or JSP/Faces in a localhost context. Ditto for server side debugging of PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Web Services, etc.

9)Provide more Wizards and Coaches – these are tools that walk developers through tough widget creation, editing, and debuggng processes.

10)Reinvigorate the Dreamweaver extensions franchise – it does not take a rocket scientist to see whatiPhone apps have  done for Apple. More support for extensions  with prebuilt  examples of  Wizards, templates, and other generators would help to

It is acknowledged that this wishlist is late and the Dreamweaver codebase is getting long in tooth. But the need for change is getting more urgent. As one can see from the screenshot, I have already bypassed Dreamweaver CS4. And the likelihood is that I will bypass Dreaweaver CS5 if not at least 3-4  of my admittedly tardy wishlist items are not in CS5. The pity is that I am likely not alone.

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