Adobe GoLive 5.0

Each document is broken down into a series of tabbed windows covering layout, frames, source code, outline and a final preview screen. Alongside this are two smaller default windows: a Tools palette, from which components can be dragged onto the screen; and a Properties Inspector, from which a component's attributes can be changed.

There is a logical workflow to the program - most objects and components are simply dragged and dropped into place - but this logic has to be learned. Once you know which palette to use, the Properties Inspector changes to match your selected object. Simple tasks, such as changing the background colour of a page, were infuriating with previous versions, but this is much less of a problem with GoLive 5.0.

The most important change from the previous version, and the one deservedly flagged by Adobe, is support for dynamic database design. In addition, GoLive 5.0 includes an enhanced link and site manager, while the page layout can now be controlled down to the pixel level.

There is excellent support for DHTML and other elements of dynamic design, like cascading style sheets. Dragging and dropping smart components - such as expanding menu bars or pop-up layers - generates the appropriate script behind the scenes, without designers needing to get their hands dirty writing code. What is less common in editors of this class is support for Microsoft's ASP (Active Server Pages) through its Dynamic Link palette.

Future versions will offer support for JSP (Java Server Pages), but Adobe has seen the current demand for ASP and rightly decided to fill the gap, placing GoLive in direct competition with Macromedia's Dreamweaver UltraDev.

Put simply, GoLive's Dynamic Link features enable Web designers to connect to a database by designing a page with relevant fields which are then bound to a database. This enables information to be searched and served dynamically, depending on the calls made by the browser. Increasingly, this is what Web design is all about, with static pages incapable of meeting the demands made by e-commerce and rapidly changing media such as online news.

Other new features are less substantial, but still helpful to designers. Image tracing speeds up page design by allowing you to trace over a template (this has been available to Dreamweaver users for some time). The History palette enables multiple undos. Streaming media support is better than any equivalent software, with what amounts to a built-in audio-video suite from which you can edit QuickTime and Flash files.

For quick and dirty Web design, GoLive is not (and does not intend to be) the answer, and we still prefer Dreamweaver in terms of workflow. Nonetheless, if you are involved in any form of database or e-commerce design, particularly if you have used previous versions of GoLive, this release is the most sophisticated editor for producing ASP pages. For that reason alone, GoLive deserves to be considered.

Adobe GoLive 5.0

Price: Full $665, Upgrade $213

Supplier: Adobe

Phone: 1300 550 205

URL: www.adobe.com.au

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