Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Dummies

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Overview

* The fun and easy way to get up to speed on Dreamweaver-the award-winning industry standard for Web site design and Web application development
• Covers designing a well-planned site, coordinating the design work, adding graphics, framing pages, formatting text, adding interactivity, working with multimedia files, building a dynamic site, bringing data into the site, and more
• Dreamweaver currently holds approximately eighty percent of the ...

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Overview

* The fun and easy way to get up to speed on Dreamweaver-the award-winning industry standard for Web site design and Web application development
• Covers designing a well-planned site, coordinating the design work, adding graphics, framing pages, formatting text, adding interactivity, working with multimedia files, building a dynamic site, bringing data into the site, and more
• Dreamweaver currently holds approximately eighty percent of the professional Web development tool market, with more than 2.5 million Web professionals using it
• Revised throughout to cover the latest updates and enhancements made to the upcoming release of Dreamweaver MX 2004
• Written by veteran For Dummies author Janine Warner, a leading author in Web site creation and Web application development areas

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...should be a permanent fixture on your desktop..." (Practical Web Projects, January 04)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764543425
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/6/2003
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Janine Warner is an Internet consultant, author, columnist, andspeaker.

Susannah Gardner is the owner and creative director of HopStudios Internet Consultants, and teaches online journalism atUSC.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

Part I: Fulfilling Your Dreams.

Chapter 1: Introducing Your New Best Friend.

Chapter 2: Setting Up a Web Site with Dreamweaver.

Part II: Looking Like a Million (Even on a Budget).

Chapter 3: Designing a Well-Planned Site.

Chapter 4: Coordinating Your Design Work.

Chapter 5: Adding Graphics.

Part III: Advancing Your Site.

Chapter 6: Coming to the HTML Table.

Chapter 7: Framing Your Pages.

Chapter 8: Cascading Style Sheets.

Part IV: Making It Cool.

Chapter 9: Layers, DHTML, and Behaviors.

Chapter 10: Roundtrip Integration: Fireworks andDreamweaver.

Chapter 11: Showing Off with Multimedia.

Chapter 12: Forms Follow Function.

Part V: Working with Dynamic Content.

Chapter 13: Building a Dynamic Web Site: Getting Started.

Chapter 14: Bringing Data into the Mix.

Chapter 15: Using Forms to Manage Your Dynamic Web Site.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 16: Ten Great Sites Designed with Dreamweaver.

Chapter 17: Ten Web Site Ideas You Can Use.

Chapter 18: Ten Timesaving Dreamweaver Tips.

Appendix: About the CD.

Index.

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First Chapter

DreamwearverMX 2004 For Dummies


By Janine Warner Susannah Gardner

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-4342-3


Chapter One

Introducing Your New Best Friend

In This Chapter

* Introducing the new features of Dreamweaver MX 2004

* Examining your Web site objectives

* Finding your way around in Dreamweaver

Welcome to the wonderful world of Dreamweaver. If you're an experienced Web designer, you're going to love the power and sophistication of this HTML editor. If you're new to Web design, you'll appreciate its simplicity and intuitive interface. Either way, this chapter starts you on your way to making the most of Dreamweaver by introducing you to the menus and panels that make this program so useful.

Dreamweaver can help you with every aspect of Web development, from designing simple pages, to fixing links, to publishing your pages on the World Wide Web. Dreamweaver can handle the simplest HTML, as well as some of the most complex and advanced features possible on the Web, including Cascading Style Sheets and Dynamic HTML (see Chapters 8 and 9 for more information on these features). Dreamweaver also integrates a powerful HTML text editor into its easy-to-use graphical design environment.

If you already work in another Web design program, don't worry - you can use Dreamweaver to modify existing Web pages and continue to develop your Web site without losing all the time you already invested. All Web design programs create HTML pages, and those pages can openin any other Web design program. So, for example, if you've been working in a program such as Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe GoLive, you can still change to Dreamweaver to edit and develop your site further. At the end of this chapter, you find tips about some of the challenges in the section called "Working on Web Pages Created in Another Web Design Program."

In this chapter, you find an introduction to the new features in Dreamweaver MX 2004, get a tour of the desktop, and an overview of what makes Dreamweaver such a powerful Web design program. (If you don't understand a new vocabulary term as you read through this book, look it up in the comprehensive glossary included on the accompanying CD-ROM.)

So What's New in Dreamweaver MX 2004?

Now the good stuff. All those requests you make to Macromedia, all that wishful thinking ... believe it or not, they heard you and many of the little - and not so little - things we all have been wanting in this program are finally here!

The following list provides you a quick overview of some of the new features you find in version MX 2004:

  •   The changes to the interface in this version aren't as dramatic as the changes to the Workspace made in the previous version, Dreamweaver MX, but you find some lovely enhancements. Beware that you no longer have the option of using the floating panels interface, the only option in the Dreamweaver versions prior to MX. You now have a choice between the Designer interface, which is graphical and features panels that lock into place, or the HomeSite/Coder-Style, which (as the name suggests) displays the HomeSite text editor. You have the option when you first turn on the program, and you can always make the changes in Preferences. If you choose the Designer interface, you can expand and collapse panels as needed and move them around to create a work environment that suits your preferences. Throughout this book, most of the screenshots and instructions reflect the Designer interface. If you're a code head (forgive me, someone who prefers working in the raw HTML), choose the HomeSite option, and you find many great features that make writing HTML code easy so you don't have to type all those tags in manually.
  •   The Designer interface is more streamlined and intuitive in its organization in this new version. You also find the interface easier to customize. For example, if you don't like the Properties inspector at the bottom of the screen, just drag it to the top and it locks into place.

The Insert bar at the top of the screen is smaller in this version to take up less room in the work area. And, if you want to keep your favorite features handy, select Favorites from the pull-down list and right-click to easily customize the bar to hold your favorite features.

  •   Keeping up with the general trend in Web design, Macromedia greatly enhanced support for Cascading Style Sheets. You find many predefined style sheets to get you started and the Dreamweaver graphical interface renders those styles better so you don't always have to preview your work in a browser to see how it looks. The CSS panel and rules inspector are also improved to provide more options and make creating your entire design with CSS easier. You find more on these great features in Chapters 8 and 9.
  •   Dreamweaver is finally better suited to handling content from Microsoft Office documents. I have to say I think this one is long overdue, but now you can copy and paste content from Word and Excel and not lose the formatting. Dreamweaver even makes tables out of Excel spreadsheets.
  •   When you open Dreamweaver, you'll notice a new Start Screen. Anytime you don't have a file open, this screen reappears, providing quick access to a variety of page formats, premade templates and styles, and recently opened documents.
  •   Small, file-like tabs across the top of the work area make moving among open documents easy. In previous versions, the filename of open documents was at the bottom of the work area.
  •   No matter what language you speak, you can now work in Dreamweaver thanks to full Unicode support. Even languages that Dreamweaver is not localized for render properly in the work area.
  •   Dreamweaver is the best Web design tool for developing sites that work across multiple browsers, and Dreamweaver has great tools for checking your work to ensure that it displays well on the browsers you want to target. Now, those features work in real time thanks to Dynamic Cross Browser Validation. Specify the browsers you want to design for and Dreamweaver checks your work every time you save your pages.
  •   Want to crop, resize, or sharpen an image without launching an image editor? Now you can perform these common tasks right in Dreamweaver. You can also adjust brightness and contrast. Look for these new features in the Properties inspector and enjoy saving time on those quick image fixes and edits.
  •   You no longer have to use the Dreamweaver Site Setup before you can work on a Web site. If you prefer to just log in to a server and make quick changes or open files on your hard drive without setting up the main folder first, you can skip this previously required step.

However, if you want to use the Dreamweaver wonderful site management features, which allow you to easily move files and folders without breaking links and automatically fix links if they do get broken, you still want to use Site Setup. But don't worry, that's really an easy step, especially with the Dreamweaver Site Setup Wizard. You find detailed steps for setting up your site in Chapter 2.

  •   If you build your site with ASP, you will be pleased to find that ASP.NET server controls now include real objects and Properties inspectors. Look for the new ASP.NET tab on the Insert bar.
  •   A collection of new templates makes creating complex designs with a click of a button even easier. Templates are covered in detail in Chapter 4.

Introducing the Many Components of Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver can seem a bit overwhelming at first. It has so many features that all the panels, toolbars, and dialog boxes can be confusing when you start poking around. To help you get familiar with all the great options in this program, the next few sections introduce you to the interface and provide an overview of the basic functions of Dreamweaver. You also discover where to find most of the features and the functions of the buttons and menu options. All these features are covered in more detail in the rest of the book.

The Workspace

Creating a basic Web page in Dreamweaver is easier than ever, but it does take an extra step in this new version. When you launch Dreamweaver, the Start Screen appears in the main area of the program (and it reappears anytime you don't have a file open). From this Start Screen, you can choose to create a new page from one of the many Dreamweaver pre-made templates, or you can create a new blank page by selecting HTML from the Create New options in the middle column. When you select HTML, Dreamweaver creates a new blank HTML page in the main Workspace, as shown in Figure 1-1. You can type text directly into any page in the Workspace and apply basic formatting, such as bold and italics, simply by selecting Text[arrow right]Style[arrow right]Bold or Text[arrow right] Style[arrow right]Italics.

You build HTML pages, templates, style sheets, and so on in the Workspace, which consists of a main window that shows the page you're working on and a number of panels and windows that provide tools that you can use to design and develop your pages (shown in Figure 1-1). The Dreamweaver Workspace consists of the following basic components: the menu bar (at the very top), the Insert bar (just below it), the Document window (the main area of the screen, just below the Insert bar), the Properties inspector (at the bottom of the screen), and the Vertical Docking panels (to the right of the Document window) that expand and collapse as needed.

The Document window

The big, open area in the main area of the Workspace is the Document window, which is where you work on new and existing pages. If you use the Designer interface and are in Design View, you see your page as it would display in a Web browser, but if you look at the HTML code behind it (which you can do by clicking the Code buttons at the top of the work area), you see that it's a simple HTML file. If you choose the Split button, you can see the HTML code and the Design view simultaneously.

Pages viewed on the World Wide Web may not always look exactly the way they do in the Document window in Dreamweaver because not all browsers support the same HTML features or display them equally. For best results, always test your work in a variety of Web browsers and design your pages to work best in the browsers that your audience most likely uses. Fortunately, Dreamweaver includes features that help you target your page designs to specific browsers. (For more information on browser differences, check out Chapter 9.)

Customizing the interface

The docking panels, palettes, and bars in Dreamweaver provide easy access to many of the program's features. You can move these elements around the screen by selecting them and dragging and dropping them. If you find that having all these windows open distracts you from your ability to focus on your design, you can close any or all of them by clicking the tiny icon in the top right of all the main panels and selecting Close Panel from the pull-down menu (it looks like three bullet points with lines next to them with a little arrow underneath, and it's really, really small). You can close them all at once by choosing Window[right arrow]Hide Panels, and you can access any or all the panels through the various options on the Window menu. If you want to open a panel - the CSS Styles panel, for example - choose Window[right arrow]CSS Styles and it expands to become visible on your screen.

The Properties inspector, Insert bar, and panels are integral parts of this program, and you find a lot more information about them throughout the book. Check out the Cheat Sheet at the front of this book for a handy reference to the Properties inspector options. In Chapter 2, you discover some of the most common features, such as inserting images (the icon for inserting an image is in the Common Insert bar at the top of the page).

The Insert bar

The Common Insert bar at the top of the page contains buttons that provide quick access to many common features. For example, click the icon that looks like a piece of a chain and you insert an HTML link into your page. Click the little envelope icon and you insert an e-mail link.

The Insert bar has eight subcategories that offer separate sets of buttons for various functions: Common, Layout, Forms, Text, HTML, Application, Flash Elements, and Favorites. The Favorites Insert bar is blank by default, and you can customize it to hold your favorite options. Simply right-click in the bar and you can easily customize this bar. Throughout the book, I refer to these by their full names, such as the Forms Insert bar or the Layout Insert bar. You find more information on each of these in their relevant chapters. For example, the Forms Insert bar is covered in detail in Chapter 12, and Application is covered in Chapters 13, 14, and 15.

Use the small arrow to the right of the name to access the pull-down list and switch from displaying the buttons on one subcategory to showing the buttons for another. Figure 1-2 shows the pull-down list with the Common Insert bar selected. To change the icon display, choose Edit[right arrow]Preferences, and select the Panels option.

The Properties inspector

The Properties inspector is docked at the bottom of the page in Dreamweaver. If you prefer it at the top of the screen, you can drag it up there, and it locks into place. The Properties inspector displays the properties of a selected element on the page. A property is a characteristic of HTML - such as the alignment of an image or the size of a cell in a table - that you can assign to an element on your Web page. If you know HTML, you recognize these as HTML attributes.

When you select any element on a page (such as an image), the inspector changes to display the properties, or attributes, for that element, such as the height and width of an image or table. You can alter those properties by changing the fields in the Properties inspector. You can also set links and create image maps using the Properties inspector.

Figure 1-3 shows the image options displayed in the Properties inspector, including height and width, alignment, and the URL (Uniform Resource Locator or, more simply, Web address) to which the image links.

At the bottom-right corner of the Properties inspector, you see a small arrow. Click this arrow to reveal additional attributes that let you control more advanced features.

Figure 1-4 shows the Properties inspector when you select a table.

Continues...


Excerpted from DreamwearverMX 2004 For Dummies by Janine Warner Susannah Gardner Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2005

    Thank you for getting me started

    After looking over several books about Dreameweaver, I opted for this one because I was feeling like a 'dummy.' Some of the other books seemed so complicated and I was confused just looking through them, but this book helped me understand the basics and gave me hope that I can actually build my own Web site. Thank you!

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