If you're on deadlines, switching software midstream is only going to add to your stress level. No matter how proficient you are with your current software, you'll probably need a week or more of commitment-free learning time to gain confidence with it. Order the disks but wait until you're ready to move projects to it.
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The temptation you're feeling to upgrade ASAP is almost palpable in your words.
However, is there any rush to upgrade? Are there any features in CS5 that are must-haves now? If not, continue the current projects with your current software.
Bear in mind that there are no proprietary file formats in web design. HTML, CSS and PHP can be used by any suitable software from a text editor to DW so you're not painting yourself into a corner by using CS5 on them.
There's nothing stopping you downloading the Trials and experimenting. CS5 will install alongside your current software so you'll have access to your familiar tools at all times.
But I would finish what you're doing until the deadlines have passed and you've got some time up your sleeve to learn the new stuff.
Nancy has pretty much offered the answer and I shall assume it took her about a week to get the application neatly seated in her capabilities, which are superior to mine. I figure the "fritter factor" for me is two weeks based on Nancy's comment.
But here's the answer to John's question:
I did not upgrade to CS4 because, after reviewing everything, I didn't see the value. Adobe did not transition any of the applications (then) to Cocoa and Photoshop was 64-bit for Windows only. CS5 has a 64-bit Photoshop (though it is my understanding that there are some pretty horrid issues with it presently that need to be solved before I attempt any install) and Adobe has moved to the Cocoa framework after having taken over 10 years to do so. I don't wish to slam Adobe here because they fell in with the prediction that Apple was a company that was headed for total bankruptcy. Wall Street believed it and the news was full of predictions of Apple's demise. I purchased Apple stock at $14 with a target sale price of $40. I should have hung on to the stock. Obviously, Adobe wasn't betting on Apple.
Here are reasons to upgrade for me.
I use a Mac and I simply do not want to take the very high risk of using Windows. I realize Microsoft has done a really good job on Windows 7 but it's a big, fat target for the bad guys. As it is, I cannot run Microsoft's Internet Exploder and I do know that a lot of people hit the sites I manage using that awful browser. By "awful" I mean it does not comply with many standards for HTML and XHTML and CSS and does not comply with HTML5 advancements. In two cases, I had to develop two completely different style sheets because of specific issues with Internet Exploiter and it was a real time waster. HTML 5 means can do a lot more with design but I would have to develop graphics and style sheet workarounds for even Microsoft's most modern browser to use it. There are no proprietary file formats in web design but the most widely-used browser ignores standards.
Dreamweaver CS5 lets me preview a browser I cannot run under my present operating system. That is really important to me.
Dreamweaver CS5 also allows me to develop HTML5 websites. It is unknown to me whether or not it will insert code that will enable HTML5 websites to gracefully fall back to Microsoft's proprietary looks that IE 8 and 7 will understand with the automatic generation of "if" statements for styles.
Dreamweaver CS5 will allow me to upgrade to Snow Leopard on my Mac Pro. I've also been waiting on an unrelated application (Quicken 2007) and have finally extracted a promise from that company's technical support department to work with me on making sure that application will work with Snow Leopard.
I have eight cores on my Mac Pro. I would like to use as many of them as possible. It is my understanding that Adobe's rewrite of much of their software will enable that.
So my comments are:
"Fritter Factor" of two weeks.
Projects are pretty intense currently.
That means a probable wait of at least a month before I could upgrade.
Adobe has more work with Photoshop to do and I can wait for that (by not installing that portion of the upgrade). Photoshop CS3 meets my needs presently.
Just a side note to your final comments. You can install the whole suite alongside CS4. I have that right now. You
just cannot run the CS4 and CS5 app at the same time. For instance, you can run Dreamweaver CS5 and Photoshop CS4, but not Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS4. Adobe products never upgrade, they just install.
And with those Photoshop issues, I must say I have not personally experienced what those users are experiencing (I've tried to replicate it) but if it did happen, permissions issues are simple enough to fix.