The return of the browser wars has meant that users expect more and more HTML5 features on the sites they visit. Dreamweaver CS6 is intended to give web designers and developers the tools they need to deliver those sites, adding support for modern CSS3 features like CSS Transitions, along with Fluid Grids that allow sites to be designed once and then delivered to phones, tablets and PCs. There's also improved mobile support, with JQuery Mobile Swatches for themes, and integration with Adobe's PhoneGap service to turn web applications into native mobile apps.
Dreamweaver is in two CS6 suites: Design/Web Premium (£1,509 ex. VAT; upgrade from £298) and Master Collection (£2,223 ex. VAT; upgrade from £397). On its own, Dreamweaver CS6 costs £302 (ex. VAT; upgrade from £95). Dreamweaver CS6 is also available via a Creative Cloud subscription (£38.11 ex. VAT on an annual subscription).
Screenshots: Simon Bisson/ZDNet UK
Fluid Grids are a powerful HTML5 tool, and can simplify building sites that work across phones, tablets and PCs. You start by using Dreamweaver CS6's grid wizard to choose the number of columns in a grid, as well as the percentage of the page used for columns. Grid elements will align to your columns, and you can choose which ones show at which screen resolution. There's no need to add code — CSS media queries handle browser resolution detection for you.
Once you've created a Fluid Grid layout you can add page elements, using DIVs to wrap and group elements. Using Dreamweaver's Live view you can choose which screen resolution you're working in, and then place DIVs appropriately. Some may be in different places and in different sizes for different views, while some may be hidden. It's best to start with the mobile layout first, before working on desktop and tablet views.
If you're building mobile web applications, Dreamweaver CS6's JQuery mobile support simplifies building pages that work across the ever-growing field of mobile devices. Mobile apps need no longer all look the same, as you can now use Fireworks to design mobile swatches that can be used to apply styles to JQuery Mobile applications. Select the element you want to style, pick a swatch and apply.
Adobe recently purchased Nitobi, the developers behind the PhoneGap tools that wrap web applications as native mobile apps. That means that the PhoneGap Build cloud service is now part of Dreamweaver. Sign up for an account and you can upload content to the service, downloading mobile apps ready for testing and for the app stores. There's even the option of getting a QR code for an app, which you can use to load test devices or to share prototype downloads with clients.
Adobe has integrated its Business Catalyst hosting service with Dreamweaver CS6, making it easy to publish sites to the service. There's also a library of Business Catalyst components, which can quickly add extra functions to a site — these are specific to the service, however, and won't work anywhere else. Dreamweaver users get a trial account that can be used to share prototypes and completed sites with clients. A subscription is needed for more permanent use.