Dreamweaver is back for us, coders.

When I started with web development 13 years ago, I used Dreamweaver to write my code. It was one of the few editors that had helper utilities and great syntax highlighting and it came for free with my Creative Suite bundle. As beginner, I valued the integrated visual editor, the integrated FTP-client and code-generating functions.
But soon I realized that the UI is very distracting for a professional coder and I switched to other editors — first, Sublime Text, then Atom which both offered more flexibility, blazing performance and are easy to customize.

I think this is not a unique story but many of you will find themselves in this. Over the years, Dreamweaver threw itself into a corner by adding tiny features instead of caring about the most important things in an editor for coders:

  • Fast startup time
  • Great performance, especially with RegEx searches
  • Clear, intuitive user interface that is fully customisable

And this is why editors like Brackets, Sublime Text, Atom and other editors succeeded over the last years. Even vim and emacs are still a thing for people and newer ‘bigger’ editors like Microsoft Visual Studio Code or WebStorm have followed this approach to offer the best of both worlds: A clean and flexible UI while offering the advantages of an IDE. Only, everything about Dreamweaver remained silent and people even discussed if the product is dead now, since Adobe has Brackets out there.

Instead, the team seems to have worked very hard on the application. In March, one of the product managers contacted me if I’d be open to meet with a small group of people to discuss a new product and give feedback.

I agreed, and got presented an entirely new Dreamweaver. It was still in its very early days but I could already see that they effectively had re-built the entire UI to make it consistent and clean again, offering both dark and light code themes and a hell of a lot features that made other editors unique.

I love the fact that the product development team went out there to ask people from the industry, working with different products, to get feedback and in fact, they listened and incorporated a lot of this user feedback. 
It’s great to see that the focus is professional developers now again while designers and hobby-coders are not excluded (but yes, certain visual drag-and-drop tools are not available anymore).

Here are some features the product team announced:

  • New, cleaner code editor view
  • New, modern editor engine
  • Git integration
  • Integrated Code/Website Preview
  • PSD Composition Conversion
  • For Creative Cloud users, it has improved CC libraries and Adobe Stock integration

The new Dreamweaver, which is currently in public beta, has a dedicated “Code View”-editor workspace you can choose. This is a reduced workspace that then deactivates a couple of tools to declutter the UI from panels that are intended for users seeking for UI-supported editing. The new coding workspace simply focuses on code, and is intended to please professional coders who don’t want to use the visual tools and prefer a basic code editor with some context-helpers.

Now, let’s have a look at the new interface:

This is the new default code editor interface of Dreamweaver. If you ask me, this looks lovely. Clean, organized, and with the most useful tools available with one click.

By the way: Adobe again follows an approach that they already used for their Adobe XD product: An open beta version for everyone. This means, as long as the product is beta, you can grab a copy for free and use it.

In summary, seeing the Dreamweaver changes and the open beta is something many people have eagerly been waiting for and is a clear sign that Adobe re-focuses on our industry: professional coders.

Of course the new Dreamweaver won’t be the first choice for everyone. There are still a ton of arguments for using bigger IDEs or a basic text editor like vim. In the end, it’s our choice but I’m glad Dreamweaver can be considered as editor of choice again for developers.

You can check out the beta and give feedback there or just vote at uservoice for wanted ideas like Git integration.

A good example of feedback can be seen here: “Straighten/declutter the file tree”.

And now, please let me know what you think of the new Dreamweaver and share your most wanted feature with me. :)

— Anselm