Adobe Dreamweaver's raison d'ĂȘtre is the creation of websites. That's what it's there for, that's what it's good at, and it leads the market. However, it doesn't need to work alone. Because Dreamweaver comes from Adobe, users have the advantage of being able to run the program and build websites in tandem with a host of other applications from the same stable - a wide range of content goes into making a modern commercial website, and Dreamweaver can work directly with software such as Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash, Catalyst and Device Central to ensure that content is of the very highest quality.

Better images

There was a time, in the (very) early days of the internet, when text-only websites were the norm. This may seem implausible today, as distant an era as those of black and white television or computers the size of a house, and your company's website needs to have an engaging and stylish visual appeal; images alone aren't enough, the images need to be attractive to be effective.

Perhaps your business relies on products catching the eye: for example, an online clothing retailer needs every line to look its very best, so needs to be certain that the pictures used are perfect. Given that 'perfect' is not how the pictures will always come off the camera, there's a lot to be gained from improving them with Photoshop - and it's simple to drop Photoshop images straight into a Dreamweaver site, without having to leave the program.

Tailor-made web graphics

However, it's likely that not all the graphics in your website will come from photographs. You may want to create images for banners, or for use in animations, or for web applications. These graphics will usually need to be in the form of vectors rather than bitmaps, which may need a little explaining: in a bitmap, the image is defined and understood by the computer as a record of where each coloured pixel is positioned; a vector, on the other hand, is defined and understood by the computer as a series of mathematical equations recording lines, curves and geometric shapes.

In terms of what you see on the screen, it makes little difference - but as vector files are much smaller, and easier for the computer to manipulate, they're often essential in website graphics and animations. Dreamweaver also works closely with Adobe Fireworks, the latter providing a wide range of tools for creating and editing vectors, and for converting bitmap images into vectors, giving you complete control over the graphics in your website.

Dynamic content

While we're on the subject of animations, working with Dreamweaver and Flash in tandem really isn't an optional extra. Adobe Flash can transform any site, augmenting static text and images, and not only with animations - Flash also provides extra functionality with movies, music, dynamic and interactive content, and games. Your business needs its website to be as engaging as possible, given how little time the average visitor to a site spends before moving on, and bringing Dreamweaver and Flash together gives you the most effective and straightforward means to enhance your business's online presence.

Dreamweaver can also work directly with a number of other Adobe programs that can add their own specific improvements to your site - such as Catalyst, which provides tools to enhance your Flash and Photoshop content, and Device Central, allowing you to see instantly how your site will appear on many different devices, including a wide range of mobile phone displays.

The benefits of using Microsoft Office software together for administrative tasks are well known, and for web design, Dreamweaver and the Adobe software that complements it can have the same impact. A short training course for you or your staff could prove very useful, and you can be confident that you have all the tools you'll need to work the web to your company's advantage.