San Francisco-based Macromedia's latest release of Dreamweaver UltraDev software targets users who want a visual tool to help them build, preview and edit Web-based applications.
"UltraDev has an open API feature," said Dennis Thomas, Macromedia Web solution evangelist. "If we don't have [a piece of code developers] want to use, they can go out and create one on their own."
Third parties are also embracing this open API trait by compiling a library of API extensions for developers to "drop" into UltraDev. Pooling these resources are sites like http://www.magicbeat.com, which features links to UltraDev extension pages and resources.
Developers seem to be taking to the latest characteristics of UltraDev.
"I think UltraDev is very cool," said Microsoft developer George Young. "The things I find appealing as a hand-coder are, one, the drag and drop aspect; and two, the open API feature that allows you to do some interesting things."
Another UltraDev item that has developers excited is the live data preview. With the live data preview you can actually see what you are doing, as you are doing it. Instead of loading a new browser after entering a record set, UltraDev allows you to visualize what you are doing immediately.
The only groan heard from developers about UltraDev, is its inability to be compatible with PHP.
"The reason why UltraDev does not support PHP is because of its open-source nature and things are changing too rapidly to keep up," said Macromedia Senior Software Engineer Russ Helfand.
Macromedia representatives said their engineers are looking into incorporating the PHP standard.
UltraDev retails for $599.
For more information, extensions and a quick tour of Macromedia's Dreamweaver UltraDev visit http://www.macromedia.com/software/ultradev