Dreamweaver Task Force

The WaSP Dreamweaver Task Force was created in 2001 to accomplish two tasks of vital importance:
  1. To work with Macromedia’s engineers to improve the standards compliance and accessibility of web pages produced with Macromedia Dreamweaver, the market-leading professional visual web editor and development tool. Detailed objectives are listed below. This part of the group’s mission was largely fulfilled with the release in May 2002 of Dreamweaver MX, though the Task Force will continue to work with Macromedia as the company fine-tunes subsequent versions of its product.
  2. To communicate effectively within the online Dreamweaver community, raising awareness of web standards and helping others discover how their tools can be used to create standards-compliant, accessible sites. This work will continue indefinitely and is a key component of WaSP’s developer education outreach program.

Rachel Andrew and Drew McLellan have spearheaded both efforts, interfacing with Dori Smith, Tom Negrino, and Zeldman. Rachel and Drew were chosen because of their knowledge of web standards and accessibility, their esteemed positions within the Dreamweaver community, and because they said yes. They put in a phenomenal amount of work on behalf of the design and development community, as did Macromedia’s engineers, whose responsiveness to the Dreamweaver Task Force and its objectives has been remarkably open and accepting.

Listed below, exactly as they were originally written, are the objectives that guided the Task Force’s work with Macromedia’s engineers. These are followed by an assessment of the standards compliance and accessibility of Dreamweaver MX and a short list of improvements we hope to see in future versions.

Initial Objectives

The WaSP Dreamweaver Task Force has set out a number of primary objectives. These are the main, fundamental points Dreamweaver should attain in order to be a useful tool for creating standards-compliant websites:

Primary Objectives

The Task Force believes that a designer should be able to use Dreamweaver to create valid hypertext documents by default. Additionally, Dreamweaver should, at the very least, properly render pages laid out with CSS, if not create those layouts from within the tool. Importantly, Dreamweaver should not distress imported CSS layouts created in other tools or by hand.

The WaSP Dreamweaver Task Force has an additional list of objectives, secondary to those listed above. These lie somewhere between “must-have” and “wish list:”

Secondary Objectives

Working with the Dreamweaver Community

An important part of the Task Force’s work is to be active within the very strong community of Dreamweaver users, promoting web standards and providing education in their use. Activities include:

Release of Macromedia Dreamweaver MX

Macromedia released Dreamweaver MX in May 2002, offering vastly improved standards compliance and accessibility over previous versions. On the following page, The WaSP’s Dreamweaver Task Force assesses the product’s compliance with web standards and discusses a few areas that might be improved in future releases.