Adobe GoLive CS2

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GoLive embraces CSS for layout and enhances its mobile authoring credentials but this is an underwhelming release.

golive cs2

The main focus of the Creative Suite applications is on commercial print with the one exception of GoLive which tries to take the same high-impact design-rich approach to the Web. As such, GoLive has long been interested in the design potential of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and with this release it moves centre stage.

For CSS -based type handling there are a number of new features including the option of converting HTML styles to CSS , the ability to specify a default CSS stylesheet and greatly improved site-wide CSS management right down to the ability to see how many times particular classes and identifiers are actually used. The biggest practical difference is the revamp of the CSS Editor which now lets you view the Definitions and Source views simultaneously.

Surprisingly the most fundamental CSS -based changes aren’t concerned with typography but layout. CSS positioning has now been made the default for Layout Grid designs with the former conversion to HTML tables now left as an option. The Objects palette has been redesigned to reflect the new approach with a new tab for dragging on CSS layout objects such as the popular 3-column layout with resizable central column. The palette also now provides a new top section providing access to tools for drawing text-box style layers, for zooming in and panning layouts and even a dedicated Object Selection tool for selecting DIV tags, the core unit of CSS -based layouts.

golive cs2

GoLive CS2 adds a number of CSS -based features.

The appeal of this approach to Adobe is obvious as it makes GoLive look and feel more like the other Creative Suite applications but there’s a strong feeling of padding – for example is a zoom tool capable of 1600% magnification really necessary for onscreen layouts that will always be displayed at 100%? More importantly Adobe has got things the wrong way around. CSS -based layout was added in the Level 2 specification which is not yet fully supported by all browsers. It would be better to concentrate, like Dreamweaver, on the Level 1 typographic capabilities of CSS and, for example, avoid the use of the deprecated and inefficient <font> tag for sizing and colouring.

Another point to bear in mind is that it is a relatively trivial programming task to implement CSS 2-based layouts, so where’s the other new power in GoLive CS2?

The biggest area of development is in authoring mobile content for viewing on handsets. Here Adobe’s commitment to open standards and interest in graphics comes to the fore. A wide range of mobile formats – XHTML, XHTML Mobile Profile, WML, i-mode and MMS – are each catered for with integrated layout and source view editing, the support for CSS @media querying enables dual targeting and GoLive’s Opera-driven Live Renderer now offers a dedicated small screen view. Most impressive is GoLive CS2’s new support for the web vector SVG Tiny (SVG-t) format which is expected to be big in the near future. Here the tie-in with Illustrator CS2 and a new dedicated SVG-t editor, which integrates code editing, layout preview and hierarchical object selection, stand out.

golive cs2

Most attention has been paid to mobile authoring.

It’s impressive power but, for the moment at least, mobile authoring is very much a minority interest compared to traditional web authoring. And here the other advances in GoLive CS2 – the ability to automatically convert an InDesign package to an XHTML website, support for secure file transfer through Secure FTP and Secure WebDAV via both SSL and SSH, and the ability to automate the creation of favicons for different browsers - look much thinner.

Overall GoLive CS2 is a disappointing release and dedicated Web designers are better served by the more streamlined Macromedia Dreamweaver.

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System requirements Pentium III ; 256MB RAM ; 400MB free hard disk space; Windows 2000 (SP3) onwards.

Tom Arah

April 2005

Full Photoshop CS2 review
Full Illustrator CS2 review
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Full GoLive CS2 review
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Full Creative Suite 2 review

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