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Adobe previews Creative Suite 4.0 with new beta releases

Adobe on Tuesday offered a sneak peek at the next release of its Creative Suite design bundle by releasing limited public betas of new versions Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Soundbooth.

The San Jose-based software developer said the Dreamweaver beta for Web design and development, the Fireworks beta for prototyping, and the Soundbooth beta for creating and editing audio, demonstrate a new direction for Creative Suite in which new features and technologies will simplify and streamline design and development workflows across all media types.

“Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Soundbooth are the major applications we’re unveiling as public betas before the next release of Creative Suite,” said David Burkett, vice president of product management for Adobe Creative Suite. “This early release software gives our loyal customers a taste of the radical workflow enhancements that we have in store, as we redefine how designers and developers collaborate to deliver stand-out digital experiences.”

Dreamweaver CS4

Adobe said the Dreamweaver public beta includes a new Related Files Toolbar and Code Navigator feature that allows users to dive deep into complex pages that include HTML files, links to JavaScript documents and integrated XML data. Users can see related files in the Related Files Toolbar and with Code Navigator make changes to code that appears in various parts of a document just with one update.

CS4 Preview

The update to Dreamweaver also features a new Live View Mode, which is based on the open source rendering engine Webkit from Apple, and enables users to see content in real-world, real-time environments without having to leave Dreamweaver to preview in a browser. The feature also gives users the ability to freeze JavaScript language to debug interactive pages as well as view and interact with Flash content.

Fireworks CS4

Meanwhile, Adobe said fresh features in the Fireworks beta include a new user interface that is now consistent with other applications within the Creative Suite, making it easier for users to switch between applications that now have a universal look and feel. In addition, Fireworks beta now allows users to export design comps as high fidelity, interactive, and secure Adobe PDF documents for enhanced client communication.

CS4 Preview

Fireworks beta is also now compatible with Adobe AIR, HTML, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex Builder so users can create their design once and deploy to whichever application platform is required by clients.

Soundbooth CS4

For its part, the Soundbooth beta showcases a host of new features aimed at allowing creative professionals to complete their audio production tasks more efficiently, including the new multiple track support which allows users to edit multiple audio clips on a number of tracks, and the new ability for users to match volume levels across audio files.

CS4 Preview

Also included is the capability to preview MP3 compression settings before saving them and a new speech recognition technology that lets users create transcripts of dialogue tracks quickly and search them for words and phrases within a timeline.

How the betas work

Adobe says the three betas, once downloaded and launched, will be active for 48 hours after which time only CS3 customers will have extended access. Existing CS3 license holders will be able to use their CS3 product serial numbers to unlock the betas and use them for free until the next version of Creative Suite becomes available.

Adobe added that the betas will give users an opportunity to deliver feedback to the company, via Adobe Labs, for future product development.