Adobe's Dreamweaver is pretty much the daddy of web design programs, such is its reputation and influence on all that came after its first incarnation. Without it, the story of website creation would be very different as it was the first software to recognise the importance of custom design and applications.

But does it still measure up to the hordes of imitators and competitors that have followed in its wake? Can it still perform to the very highest level that consumers now demand? Well, with the release of the latest version, CS5, we can properly assess whether Adobe Dreamweaver has still got what it takes.

The emphasis in Dreamweaver CS5 is very much on simplification. Web design has become increasingly accessible over the last few years but the nuts and bolts could still be somewhat awkward and clunky. Dreamweaver CS5 combats this most effectively with its new Browser Navigation Toolbar, which makes navigation between multiple pages quick and easy. It operates with the same features that we are all used to within a browser's address bar - Forward, Backward, Refresh, Home - and greatly speeds up the process of creating and amending your web pages in Live View.

Another plus for Dreamweaver CS5 is its inter-relationship with various Content Management Systems, or CMSs, such as Drupal, WordPress and Joomla! The rise of these web authoring systems has been seen as a sign that Dreamweaver has lost pace with the rapid development of website design so it is good to see Adobe recognising the importance of these systems and working with them rather than against. With Dreamweaver CS5 it is now possible to edit and amend CMS content, a real breakthrough which could have wide ranging implications for web design.

Debugging has been made markedly simpler as well thanks to the new Inspect button. This nifty little feature opens Live View and Inspect Mode simultaneously as well as enabling live code. CSS issues can now be readily identified and any potential bugs and errors swiftly dealt with.

And one of the really fascinating aspects of Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 is its ability to deconstruct live web pages and show you exactly how they were built. Dreamweaver CS5 can examine and break down the coding used in any web page (not just your own) effectively revealing the secrets of the professionals who constructed them. Learning the theory is important but nothing brings it home as much as seeing how it is put into practice by those designers who have gone before you.

There are numerous smaller improvements that have also been made to this latest version of Dreamweaver, making it a genuinely thoughtful and expansive upgrade of CS4. Indeed such are the amount of changes implemented that it would be a good idea to undertake a course in Dreamweaver CS5 so that you can fully benefit from the advances that have been made in this software. Once you have successfully got to grips with them creating web pages will be an infinitely smoother, more accessible experience.