Adobe Creative Suite 5: an in-depth guide

Adobe CS5 features new tools to improve your art and mundane but useful productivity aids

Dreamweaver CS5

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The centrepiece of the Web Premium collection, Dreamweaver CS5 integrates with Adobe BrowserLab, one of the new CS Live online services, which provides a preview of web pages and local content with multiple viewing and comparison tools. Also new for CS5, CSS Inspect displays CSS properties when designing web pages. This lets you quickly locate and modify a CSS-based element, including padding, border, and margin, then select the element in Live View to view its corresponding CSS rules and properties in the CSS Styles pane.

Dreamweaver now offers authoring and testing support for designers working with content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal (click here to see how to edit a Wordpress template in Dreamweaver CS5). The Dynamically Related Files feature provides direct access to a page’s dependent files, while Live View renders the page as it will appear in your browsers, complete with dynamic, database-driven content and server- and client-side logic. Meanwhile enhanced Live Code highlights changes as they happen.

Flash CS5

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Flash takes a leaf from Adobe’s typographical tools by offering the Text Layout Framework, which adds kerning, ligatures, tracking, leading, threaded text blocks, and multiple columns. The new text engine also works better when importing from InDesign and other Adobe products.

Improvements to ActionScript editing and the ability to work with Code Snippets make coding for Flash far easier. Animation hasn’t been forgotten, either -- using the new Spring option for the Bones tool, you can design more realistic-looking motion for jointed, flexible objects.

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Alongside Flash Professional are two new packages: Flash Catalyst for designing desktop apps and Flash Builder for coding AIR apps. Click here to see how to create your first app in Flash Catalyst CS5.

Fireworks CS5 continues to develop as a web and interactive workflow tool; many of the bugs that saw the CS4 version get slammed by users have mercifully been ironed out.

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