Product Review: Page (1) of 5 - 02/25/04 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Adobe GoLive CS

Web page layout and site management application By Kevin Schmitt
I'll freely admit that I'm doing this review for somewhat impure reasons. You see, I started my second flirtation with Adobe GoLive only because my usual visual page editor (you know, the one named after that cheeseball Gary Wright song) got the equivalent of some really bad plastic surgery that left it laughably buggy and ultimately unusable. So in my desperate time of need, I turned to the proverbial "other woman" I had only gazed at briefly before (and then, only for the QuickTime editor) in the hopes of finding aid and comfort. How did GoLive CS do? Read on to find out....

The basics
In a nutshell, GoLive is a visual page editor (or "WYSIWYG" editor, in the vernacular of the mid-1990s). But we've come quite a ways from those long-ago PageMill days. GoLive, now at version 7 (OK, OK, Adobe marketing folk ... "CS"), is a complete, integrated environment for designing, authoring, and publishing Web content. And maybe I was a victim of lowered expectations here, but GoLive simply impressed the expletive out of me. And it's not often that I get the expletive impressed out of me, especially not by a program that spits out Web pages, of all things.

The first thing you'll notice when firing up GoLive is that the interface is a little more in tune with the rest of the Adobe product line, especially those products that share the CS moniker (fig. 1). That's intentional, of course, as Adobe would like nothing better than to have you pony up for the entire Creative Suite Premium Edition and never touch any product from any other vendor again. But I digress. If you're familiar with Photoshop or Illustrator, it's not hard to get the hang of how things are set up in GoLive.

Fig. 1: GoLive's interface is a little more Adobe-esque these days.

Once you're in, you can basically work as you would in a word processor. Type stuff in, drag and drop images, create tables, etc. Nothing too groundbreaking there. The real fun comes once you move past the basics. For example, GoLive CS gives you the ability to resize and/or crop images on the fly (fig. 2), meaning that once you've got a source image, you don't have to go to another program to tweak it. This is a huge timesaver, and becomes especially cool once you start factoring GoLive's Smart Objects (more on those later, though).

Fig. 2: Resizing and cropping existing images can be done directly in GoLive, while still retaining excellent image quality.

Newbie to expert
In addition to being an easy tool for HTML novices, GoLive CS really reaches out to those who are decidedly on the other end of the spectrum. I realize that it may be taboo in certain circles for any self-respecting HTML expert to effectively "slum it" by using a program like GoLive instead of hand-coding in a text editor, but for those who throw pride out the window (as I routinely do), GoLive presents a pretty tight environment for the more geeky among us.

For the newbies, it might as well be the PageMill days again, albeit with a lot more options. You never have to see a single character of HTML code if you so desire, since, as I mentioned, you can use GoLive as you would a word processor and be done with it. Adding HTML tags is as easy as drag and drop (fig. 3), and the Inspector palette makes it simple to edit the attributes of your code without having to know syntax or other such nonsense (fig. 4). GoLive CS also ships with a ton of ready-made page templates (fig. 5) as well as a pretty sizable library of CSS styles, code snippets, and even section 508-compliant designs that make accessible pages a snap. Even adding content designed for plug-ins such as Flash or QuickTime is ridiculously easy ? drag the object from the toolbar to the page, set a few properties, and all that nasty Object and Embed code is inserted for you (fig. 6). The bottom line here is whether you're genuinely code-adverse or just like shortcuts to make things easier when writing HTML, you're set.

Fig. 3: Drag from the toolbar, drop in the Layout. Code inserted.

Fig. 4: The Inspector lets you add attributes to your code without really having to know what you're doing.

Fig. 5: If you need help getting started, GoLive ships with a ton of page templates.

Fig. 6: Here's some ActiveX code you don't have to know about, since GoLive lets you drag and drop plug-in objects right into the Layout.

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Related Keywords:Adobe GoLive CS, Web page layout, site management, design

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