Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium review

Price when reviewed

For many years Dreamweaver and its bitmap-based graphical partner Fireworks (included but not updated) have led the way in terms of state-of-the-art website creation, but the previous CS5 release was criticised for its lack of HTML5 support. Many claimed Adobe was soft-pedalling browser-based standards in favour of its own player-based Flash format.

Dreamweaver CS5.5 is designed to put such doubts to rest, starting with new coding support for HTML5 and display support for its video> and canvas> tags. Support for the other open web standards that come under the HTML5 umbrella has also been improved, most notably for CSS3 via enhancements to Dreamweaver’s CSS Styles panel, code hinting and Live View. Thanks to rendering based on the latest WebKit engine, Dreamweaver CS5.5’s Live View also supports SVG and the @font-face attribute.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5

Rich and robust scripting is essential to HTML5, and Dreamweaver CS5.5 seriously boosts its JavaScript capabilities with full integration of the industry-leading jQuery framework. Enhanced code hinting here is key, making it easier to select DOM elements and do more with them.

Dreamweaver CS5.5 also lets you use jQuery objects such as layout grids and collapsible blocks and provides jQuery starter layouts for mobile projects. With PhoneGap integration, including the ability to add device-specific functionality such as multitouch and geolocation support, you can now build native iOS and Android browser-based mobile apps directly within Dreamweaver CS5.5.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5

You can also apply CSS-based media queries to alter your layout and design based on the screen size, changing the number of columns and font size, for example. To ensure that your browser-based content works well across all mobile devices, Dreamweaver’s Multiscreen dialog box lets you see quickly how your project will look on different screen sizes. Media queries are also now supported in Live View in real-time.

Flash Professional CS5.5

CS5.5 embraces HTML5 and state-of-the-art browser-based delivery, but it’s significant that the former Web Standard suite edition hasn’t been resurrected. Adobe is still determined to push its own cross-platform technologies in the form of the online Flash player and the out-of-browser Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR).

The major focus of Flash Professional CS5.5 is support for the latest smartphone and tablet devices. When you create a new project, you can choose from a range of suggested document types, which set the appropriate target player and ActionScript version. Crucially, the options on offer now include AIR-based output for both Android and iOS.

Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5

Flash Professional CS5.5 also makes it easier to produce output for different screen sizes. When you resize your project’s canvas there’s an option to automatically scale all content. There’s a number of easy-to-apply code snippets, including multitouch and accelerometer support, and to improve CPU, battery and rendering performance on mobile devices you can choose to rasterise vector symbols, either permanently or on export.

Other general enhancements include auto-saving and file recovery, incremental compilation and improved handling of bone-based animation. However, it’s mobile delivery that defines this release. Developers can run and debug content directly on any AIR-enabled device connected via USB, and now that the ban on third-party development tools has been lifted, even output apps for iOS.


Software subcategory Graphics/design software

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