Following Adobe’s somewhat low-key release of GoLive 9, many commentators are wondering why the software giant has bothered. Given that it now owns the Dreamweaver licence, which has just been updated as part of the CS3 design suite, it does seem rather odd for Adobe to still be flogging a product that enjoys a very small share of the market and which has fallen massively out of favour over the last few years.
Despite the fact that Dreamweaver is by far the most popular and highly-regarded web editor around, Adobe obviously feels confident that there is still a place in the market for its baby, GoLive, which up until the latest CS3 release, was a fully paid-up member of its Creative Suite bundle. Perhaps this stance is not without justification however, as there remain some crucial differences between the two products.
While Dreamweaver has some amazing tools for code-savvy scripters and database developers, its interface still rankles with many designers who prefer a more visual approach. GoLive has always been admired by those from a graphic design background, largely because of the fact that the interface behaves so similarly to Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. What’s more, it’s much easier to take a design from Photoshop and transform it for the web given that you can do things like edit Photoshop text and work with Smart Objects in GoLive.
Despite missing out on the ‘CS’ branding and being made to revert back to plain old numericals, GoLive 9 is far from just a token upgrade and actually includes some neat new functionality. Again, this version is all about WYSIWYG and making it easier for users to turn their designs into concrete web content, highlighted by the inclusion of a visual CSS layout window that lets you develop standards-compliant code and mobile content without any fuss. A new Style options dialog gives you the power to apply character and paragraph styles just as you would in InDesign, only defined in CSS. Devin Fernandez, product manager for GoLive 9 explains:
GoLive gives you a familiar interface and tools for designing for CSS. The new character and paragraph styles make it easy to customize CSS-based content, while Advanced Positioning and Margin & Padding greatly simplify CSS page layout.
With a new ‘Place’ command and improved integration with InDesign, GoLive 9 is indeed a great product for those used to using desktop publishing apps. This is precisely why Adobe has stuck with the product, as it feels there are still lots of designers out there who want to work their magic in a traditional creative environment rather than indulge in a load of mind-numbing coding.
Some will argue that Adobe should’ve spent more time adding greater visual design functionality to Dreamweaver and making the interface more consistent with the rest of the CS3 range. Perhaps the developer wants to keep its loyal ‘designy’ fan-base happy though, and gradually migrate GoLive users to Dreamweaver (a departure which, incidentally, Adobe publicises on its GoLive 9 web page) rather than force them to change right away. I’m sure we’ll see a major overhaul in the next version of Dreamweaver that will make it more designer-friendly and we’ll be getting all teary-eyed over the death of the old-but-loveable GoLive.