If you have video content available online, you or someone on your team probably uses Adobe Dreamweaver to generate the Web pages. It’s the standard Web page editor, no matter how large or small your site might be. This latest version has several new features that will be of particular interest to video professionals.

Since its inception, Dreamweaver has had a split personality. There’s a code view for programmers who prefer to write directly in HTML, but there’s also a design view for nonprogrammers who prefer to drag-and-drop elements onto a simulated Web page. Continuing that dual legacy, some of Dreamweaver CS4’s new features are code-oriented workflow improvements, while others focus on media compatibility and ease of use.

Flash Point

An important benefit for video producers is Dreamweaver CS4’s integration with Flash CS4, which now natively supports H.264 encoded video in tandem with the recently released Adobe Flash Player 10. Using the Adobe Media Encoder (included with the CS4 versions of Premiere, After Effects and Flash), you can render to the new H.264-compatible FL4 format, as well as opt for two-pass variable-bit-rate encoding for improved video quality. You can then easily embed your video into a Web page using Dreamweaver.

Previous versions of Dreamweaver let you drag-and-drop Flash-based SWF files onto your Web page design. Now, when you drag-and-drop a SWF file in Dreamweaver, two external files and some additional code are automatically added to the page. When someone visits your site to stream the Flash video or animation, the page will check to see which version of the player is installed. If the player is an older version, it can then automatically upgrade the player to the required version. For nonprogrammers, this helps eliminate the complex coding needed to deal with incompatible versions of the Flash Player.

Hands Off

Another cool new feature is InContext Editing. It lets you lock out parts of a Web page from being edited by others. This could be useful if you design Web pages and want to restrict your client from changing some of the code. Or you may be a content creator who wants to alter certain content – with everything else reserved for the Web designer. Adobe describes the current implementation as a free preview. Be warned: It may evolve into a subscription-based service sometime in the future.

I’ve only skimmed the surface of features that might be relevant to Studio/monthly readers. Dreamweaver CS4 is a fairly substantial upgrade over Dreamweaver CS3 and is well worth either the upgrade price ($199) or initial purchase price ($399).