I was excited to learn that Macromedia Studio 8 would be out soon, and quickly signed up for three free online seminars.

  • Best Practices: A closer look at CSS and XML in Dreamweaver 8
  • Streamline Web Design and Development with Studio 8
  • Introduction to Macromedia Flash Professional 8

The first one took place yesterday. It was conducted by Greg Rewis.

The first half of the hour-long Breeze presentation nearly put me to sleep, as it covered the basics of CSS and XML. But then it got more interesting, shifting to an actual demonstration of how Dreamweaver 8 has been improved to handle CSS and XML. It was cool to get a sneak peak at the layout and functionality. Greg stated the program would come out in September, but that an exact date had not been set.

After the presentation, Greg held a little question and answer session. He answered questions verbally, while two other Macromedia guys fielded questions in a chat session, which I thought was pretty well done.

Anyway, here’s what I learned that’s of note:

  1. There will be no difference between the Mac and Windows interface. To clarify, the Mac version will share the same tabbed document interface as the Windows version. This was a relief to me, as it’s the number one reason I do not like working with Dreamweaver on a Mac.
  2. You can toggle design view to display what your page will look like on different media devices. For example, if you have a print style sheet defined, you can click the print style sheet button and see what your page will look like when printed. You can also turn off all formatting. I thought this was really cool and useful.
  3. CSS block elements will display a dashed border in design view. (And you can zoom!)
  4. There’s a way to instantaneously display a different background color on each block element. This I also think will be useful, as it eliminates my current method of putting erroneous background colors on elements just to see how much space they’re taking up.
  5. DW 8 makes implementing XML and XSL easy. Greg made it look very simple to create an XSL page and pull content from an XML document into an HTML page. This is huge. And I think we’ll be seeing a lot more implementation of XML in Web pages because of this.
  6. Unfortunately, there is no way to clean up HTML for multiple pages simultaneously. I specifically asked this question during the Q&A because I spend a lot of time converting badly coded sites and table-based sites. I was told the best way to remove tags from multiple pages is good old search and replace. At least I learned I’m doing it the best way. Still, it would be nice if sites were easier to clean up. Oh well.
  7. Uploads, downloads, and syncronizing will all take place in the background. This means you will be able to continue working on documents while this activity is taking place. The down side is you can no longer justify napping while waiting for the updates to finish.

In general, I’m pretty excited about the release. Mostly I’m excited about the Mac being the same as Windows, and the easy XML implementation. I’m participating in the latter two seminars later this month. I’ll post what I learn. So, um, stay tuned you renegade reader, whoever you may be.