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Dreamweaver is the result of a collective effort by many people. Leading the endeavor is a core of dedicated software engineers who, with great skill and passion, design and implement each new version. To honor them and their work, I offered the Dreamweaver engineers a chance to voice their thoughts on the past, present, and future of Dreamweaver. Here is what they—the ultimate weavers of dreams—had to say:

Heidi Bauer Williams

Team Lead, Site Setup, New Document Dialog, Tag Inspector, XML Support

For me, Dreamweaver MX is the most revolutionary release since Dreamweaver 1.0. For the first version, no one believed we could build a visual tool that was appealing to hand-coders, but we did it. For MX, we had the impossible task of making one product appeal to hand-coders, designers, application developers, scripters, and technology gurus alike, but we’ve done that, too.

With Dreamweaver MX, web teams are even more efficient and productive because every team member can use the same tool to get their work done. The number of features added to this release is astounding, but they all come together in one unified workspace for more power and flexibility than you can possibly imagine. But be warned—once you use it, you can never go back!

Winsha Chen

Insert Bar, Snippets, Image Placeholder

Dreamweaver MX is jam-packed with some amazing features, and the new workspace makes it a great environment for everyone: hand coders, designers, and web application developers. The clean workspace hides the complexity inside. Dreamweaver simplifies the process of creating HTML and web applications. As a team, we really try to understand the issues that users encounter in their daily work and then build the best darn product to help them create amazing web sites. There have been a countless number of nights where some engineer has worked extra hard to squeeze in that last feature or fix that bug users keep running into.

Robert Christensen

JavaScript Extension Development. Tag Editors, Server Behaviors

Every release since its inception, the Dreamweaver development team has been challenged to provide innovative features that offer timesaving solutions to complex problems for its customers. It is our hope that Dreamweaver MX release, which includes more than 100 new features, has answered this challenge and that we’ve succeeded in providing useful and usable features for all types of Dreamweaver users (from application developers hoping to work with web services to providing better CSS support for designers). Please keep those feature requests coming by sending an email to wish-dreamweaver@macromedia.com. We read every one!

George Comninos

Site Management, FTP, Mac OS X Port, Flash Integration

Combine all the great design-oriented features of the previous versions of Dreamweaver with all the web application development features of UltraDev, and throw in a whole slew of new features for every type of user, and you have Dreamweaver MX. I’ve been with this team for more than four years, and this has by far been the toughest release; but the end result is also the most complete web development solution available anywhere. With this release, I think we’ve addressed all areas ranging from a vastly improved workspace to becoming a true coding environment for the hand coders. A big thanks to all our customers, who in the end are the ones who really make Dreamweaver a success. And, of course, there will be a lot more to come, [so] please keep the feedback coming.

David Deming

Product Manager

There are a couple of things that I really wanted to accomplish with the Dreamweaver MX release: I wanted to give every web developer out there easy access to building web applications. Those skills have been locked away in ivory towers long enough. I wanted to open up that world to a new class of people. At the same time, I wanted to make Dreamweaver into a more integrated development environment. People love writing code by hand, whether HTML, JavaScript, what have you. When I hear of people using Dreamweaver MX almost entirely in Code view, I smile because no one would have thought of using Dreamweaver that way in the past! Finally, I wanted to regain that cutting-edge feel of the product. We took a few risks with forward-looking technologies that aren’t really in mainstream use today (ASP.NET, Web Services, CSS2, and XHTML come to mind), but I think they’re important for developers to learn and expand their skills. I want people to feel like Dreamweaver will grow with them. Basically, in the end, I wanted a tool that all sorts of web developers would be happy to sit in front of all day, every day, as they go about their job of building the Internet.

Randy Edmunds

Server Model Extensibility, Code Coloring Extensibility, Database Panel, Extension Manager

I am excited to see Dreamweaver grow from a web page tool to a web application development platform. Every new feature of Dreamweaver has extensibility built in from the start, so the user can tailor the product to fit most any need. I can’t wait to see how our users will extend Dreamweaver further than the developers ever imagined. Thanks, Joe, for helping to make that happen.

Nick Halbakken

Quality Assurance Manager for Dreamweaver MX

One of the major challenges in building Dreamweaver, especially Dreamweaver MX, has been balancing the needs of the variety of users and user knowledge levels. Technologies like CSS and ASP are good examples of where this challenge comes up. We strive to build a tool that can allow someone who has little experience with these technologies to successfully use them to create and enhance web sites, while also providing convenience and power for a user who is very familiar with the technologies. We’ve put many hours of thought into this difficult problem, and will continue to make improvements, such as the optional MDI-style interface introduced with Dreamweaver MX.

Russ Helfand

ASP.NET, Runtime Code, ColdFusion Components, Code Trust, Parser/Formatter

During the year and a half it took to build Dreamweaver MX, I imagine nearly every engineer was touched by inspiration at least once. It may seem crazy, but that one moment, or just the potential for such a moment, is enough to keep you going when it is 3 a.m. and your eyes are burning and the screen has become a hideous blur of garbled characters and unintelligible icons. In that moment, when inspiration strikes, your vision seems so clear, your hands (that were shaking from caffeine) grow steady, and in a sudden rush you “understand.” Some of those moments of inspiration led to the features you’ll come to love in Dreamweaver MX. Sometimes they ended up as low-level algorithms or chunks of obscure architecture that few people will ever stop to notice but are essential to the Dreamweaver MX machine. It doesn’t really matter. The feeling, in the end, is the same. The accolades and recognition, which may or may not follow, are immaterial, really. It is my sincere hope that Dreamweaver MX will be a vehicle to inspire others—that it unleashes your potential, your creativity, and your genius.

Noah Hoffman

Installers; Build Environment

I think the most amazing thing about being a part of the Dreamweaver team is the quality of people I work with. This is without a doubt, the most enthusiastic, fun, creative, and dedicated group of people. It’s a team that cares about honoring everyone’s input, fostering individuality and working together to design the best software we possibly can. There are people on this team with years of industry experience who say this is the best group they’ve ever worked with, and I can believe it. But the best thing is that people really love what we make. I’d like to think this is in part because the spirit of the team somehow comes through when people use the product.

Lori Hylan

JavaScript Engineering; Pop-Up Menus, Objects, Tag Editors, Commands

From an engineering point of view, this release cycle was our longest and toughest yet, and about halfway through I wondered if it was worth it: Did we have enough compelling features? Would people actually want to use this product? As a former web developer (and current maintainer of two personal sites), I was able to answer that question for myself when I made the switch from Dreamweaver 4 to Dreamweaver MX a few weeks later.

The new interface alone would make me upgrade.

That’s just the shiny red paint on the new car, though. Under the hood are all kinds of features that make building and maintaining sites so much easier than it was last year (and don’t even get me started on what it was like seven or eight years ago): better templates, better CSS support, a new Insert bar, better code editing, you name it… and I haven’t even gotten to the web application building options. It’s very gratifying to see the wide range of customers that Dreamweaver MX is serving, and serving well. I guess the hard work and sleep deprivation were worth it after all.

Narciso Jaramillo (nj)

Helped design the Dreamweaver MX Workspace; General UI Kibitzing

When we started working on Dreamweaver 1.0 in 1997, we wanted to create a tool for both designers and coders, but we knew coders weren’t comfortable with visual web editing tools. Web application servers were just starting to enter wide use. Many people were still hacking CGI scripts and building database connectivity with ad-hoc tools, and the phrase web services hadn’t yet been coined. CSS was gaining traction, but it didn’t work well across browsers. DHTML and “push technology” looked like the next big things, and XML was still just a gleam in the W3C’s eye.

A lot has changed since then! The Dreamweaver MX team took on the challenge of reinventing the product from the ground up and produced a truly revolutionary release, one that both reflects the changes in the web landscape and points the way forward to the future.

I didn’t play a large role in this release of Dreamweaver, but I did see how hard the team worked getting MX out the door—on time, and with more features than anyone imagined. I’m especially impressed with the way the team worked together with the ColdFusion and HomeSite teams, which joined Macromedia just at the beginning of last year, to produce a truly integrated application development suite. Many kudos to the whole team, and all the teams that worked together to make MX a reality. Now they just need to get some sleep!

Sho Kuwamoto

VP of Product Development, Dreamweaver Products

I remember interviewing with the Dreamweaver team right as the project was first starting back in January 1997. I entered the interview a bit skeptical. Could a web authoring tool really be flexible enough to meet the needs of professionals? During the interview, I started getting more and more excited. One thing I remember saying was that “This tool should be like emacs. The top layer of the tool should be built in a language that people have access to so that they can customize it to do whatever they want.” The person I was interviewing with agreed wholeheartedly, and we kept talking about this and that, getting more excited the whole time. Shortly after, I joined the team and never looked back.

So, as you (probably) know, we built Dreamweaver to be almost ludicrously extensible and customizable, and this has served us well. I’m continually surprised at all the things power users do with Dreamweaver.

With Dreamweaver MX, we put a great deal of emphasis on the power user. We vastly improved our support for standards, added powerful new features for hand coders, and beefed up the extensibility model (again). It’s amazing how much effect this is having already. People who I had never imagined would use a visual tool are telling me that they’ve switched.

Given this renewed emphasis on power users, I’m especially glad that Joe is writing this book. If it’s anything like his other books, I’ll learn things that I myself didn’t know about the tool!

David Lenoe

Quality Assurance Management

Our goal on the Dreamweaver team is to revolutionize web development, and I believe we’ve made a significant step in that direction with the Dreamweaver MX release. In the course of the development process, we also conducted some interesting sleep deprivation experiments, but that’s another story. Since our focus is making you, the Dreamweaver user, productive and happy, please keep the feedback—be it good, bad, or ugly—coming! With your help, we’ll make the next version even more amazing.

Josh Margulis

Tag Chooser and File Browser

My goal for this release was to improve the experience for hand coders and app developers. Hand coders had little help in previous releases to quickly put tags onto the page; this is no longer true with the addition of so many coder features in Dreamweaver MX. The Tag Chooser and Tag Editor dialogs let coders quickly find the sets of tags they want to use and the appropriate attributes they want to set. The File Browser was a much-needed feature; a lot of our customers like to get at files from other projects they’ve worked on, and now they can do this from within Dreamweaver.

I’m very proud of what the Dreamweaver team was able to accomplish in one release. The product is leaps and bounds better than Dreamweaver 4 and addresses problems for so many designers and developers.

Jeff Schang

CSS Rendering and User Interface, JavaScript Debugger; also reviewed Extensibility Interfaces for consistency

Dreamweaver has always been focused on helping web developers get their job done and not interfering with the code as much as possible.

Dreamweaver MX puts a lot of emphasis on working with standards, such as CSS and XHTML. We look at what the people ahead of the curve are doing. A developer can use Dreamweaver to expand his skills without being forced to adopt a different way of working.

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