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Part III: Extensions > Beyond JavaScript: Interfacing with Dreamweaver Through ...

Chapter 10. Beyond JavaScript: Interfacing with Dreamweaver Through C++

Around the time of the Beta release of Dreamweaver 2, Macromedia had begun to realize that the JavaScript extensibility architecture built into Dreamweaver was bumping up against its limits. Developers were asking for features that standard JavaScript simply didn’t support, such as access to the local file system on a user’s computer or the Windows Registry. Some developers also had code that they wanted to protect from prying eyes due to trade secrets or other confidentiality needs. Macromedia’s development partners, such as Apple and Nokia, needed ways to integrate Dreamweaver with existing proprietary systems, which was out of the reach of the native capabilities of the JavaScript language.

Macromedia could have solved these problems by adding proprietary extensions to the JavaScript language to handle things such as file access, HTTP networking, Design Notes, and so on. Instead, true to form, the Dreamweaver team took the extensible approach—allowing developers to create their own extensions to JavaScript (called JSExtensions) by writing directly in native C++ code. These new features became natural extensions to JavaScript by manifesting themselves as objects within the JavaScript namespace. For example, if a developer creates a C++ library for file access and calls it DWfile, then a new object named DWfile is suddenly available to all JavaScript developers and Dreamweaver users who install that library in their copy of Dreamweaver.


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