Adobe Unveils Creative Suite 4 Beta, Including Dreamweaver

Public betas of the company's Fireworks prototyping and Soundbooth audio creating and editing applications were also made available at

The public betas are intended to provide Adobe customers and developer partners with a peek at the direction Adobe Creative Suite 4 is taking, an Adobe spokeswoman said. The vendor isn't disclosing any details about the timing for the final release, but the last major upgrade of Creative Suite came out in April 2007 and the product is on an 18-to-24-month upgrade cycle, according to the spokeswoman.

The public betas will work only for 48 hours after they are downloaded and launched. But owners of the current release, Adobe Creative Suite 3, will be able to use the beta applications until Creative Suite 4 becomes available.

New capabilities in the Dreamweaver beta include a related files toolbar for viewing related files and a code navigator feature for working with pages that include HTML files, XML data and links to JavaScript documents. A new "live view mode" feature, based on the open source Webkit rendering engine, lets users preview content without having to exit Dreamweaver and use a browser.

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The Fireworks beta offers a new user interface that's consistent with other Creative Suite applications and has the ability to export design prototypes as Adobe PDF documents. The Soundbooth beta provides a range of new audio production features such as multi-track support, speech recognition technology and the ability to preview MP3 compression settings before saving them.

Adobe markets multiple editions of Creative Suite that also include the company's Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash tools, among others. Adobe did not disclose whether public beta releases of those applications are in the works.