My favorite new feature of Dreamweaver CS 5.5 is a one-two punch in the face.

I only briefly blogged about Dreamweaver CS5.5 the other day and embedded what I thought was a great video of Greg Rewis going through all the bells and whistles of the latest release. He’s got a great blog post on the subject, so I felt like the topic was being covered pretty well.

But I realized, dammit, I love this product so much that I’m gonna go ahead and toss my two cents out there regardless. I think over the next month or so I’m going to try and blog as much as I can about little features, tips, tricks, and particular things that I love about the app that maybe people who are new, or perhaps haven’t dug into it might not be aware of or maybe haven’t had an opportunity to use.

The first thing that I want to point out is what I call, a “one-two punch in the face”. This is the combination that just knocks me out.

I don’t even really need to start a discussion by saying things like, “hey, have you heard? Mobile is big now…” or, “have you seen these ‘smart phones’ that all the kids have these days?”. I think now, all we need to say is, “Mobile is here. Now”. For years and years people have been talking about it and I sat in on sessions at Max in the early part of the “aughts” that predicted this as, “just around the corner” but I don’t think any amount of hyperbole could be used today to describe the impact of mobile on workflows. It’s for this reason alone that I’m excited enough about Dreamweaver CS5.5 to make sure I got my pre-order in the day it was available.

With this release of Dreamweaver, Adobe has added two features that, I know at least for me, are game-changing. jQuery Mobile support, and PhoneGap. Let me be clear, too. It’s not just “support” for the PhoneGap framework. It’s the PhoneGap framework built right into Dreamweaver. We’re talking package your app for app stores and launch the emulators right from within Dreamweaver. Web developers can now call native APIs like notifications, camera, contacts, etc from PhoneGap now within Dreamweaver CS5.5! My friend, Scott Fegette over at Adobe has written an excellent overview piece on how this integration looks in the upcoming release. Check out this money quote:

For Android, the complex process of installing, configuring, and verifying the Android SDK has always been a bit of a chore. Dreamweaver CS5.5 takes all the pain out of this process by providing an “easy install” option, which will do all of the above for you in the background. Although the Apple iOS SDK tools are subject to a different licensing model (and only available on the Mac platform), once you’ve installed the Apple iOS SDK (or Xcode from the Mac App Store), you simply point Dreamweaver CS5.5 to the /Developer directory on your hard drive and you’re ready to go.

Now, I’m not even about to go down a road about how this “replaces app development”, or “now you don’t have to learn Objective C or Java for Android”. Nope. That’s not the case at all. I think those skills are still going to be needed, but what I do see is the ability to deliver mobile content to a wider audience of clients and customers without the barrier of a potentially costly endeavor.  Look, I’ve got clients who don’t need a game. They might not need an overcomplicated app requiring a computer science degree. They’re clients who have an idea or a product they want to expose to the mobile space where a nicely wrapped HTML/CSS/jQuery mobile experience is perfectly acceptable. Both from a cost standpoint and a deliverable experience standpoint. I think there are plenty of opportunities worth exploring for a wide variety of clients who probably haven’t gotten into the app space precisely because of what I’ll call, “the app barrier”. Now, I think it’s safe to say that Adobe and Dreamweaver have significantly lowered that barrier and allowed me to provide tremendous value to clients.

For more information about all of this, you simply MUST go check out the Dreamweaver Channel over on Adobe TV.