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Working with Pages and Sites in Dreamweaver

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This chapter provides a plan of attack for creating pages in Dreamweaver. Whether you prefer to begin by drawing a rough plan of your site or by creating a graphic mock-up, working in a site is much better than simply individual creating pages. Learn how to create a site from the very beginning; create a place where you can store all of the information you want to use - a place that gives you a structure in which to work.
This chapter is exerpted from How to Use Dreamweaver® 4 and Fireworks® 4.

In This Chapter

  • How to Define a New Site

  • How to Create a New Page

  • How to Set Page Properties

  • How to Set the Page View

  • How to Save and Name a Page

  • How to Close and Retrieve Pages

  • How to Set a Browser to Preview Pages

Although you could just jump in and start creating pages in Dreamweaver, it is far better to plan your attack first. Many Web designers still use a pen and paper to draw a rough plan of how the finished site should look; other designers create a complete mock-up using graphics applications.

Regardless of how you plan your individual pages, working in a site is much better than simply creating pages. A site gives you somewhere to store all the information you want to use as well as a structure to work in.

You can check on the status of the site as a whole rather than checking every single page. Obviously, if you are planning a site that will only ever have one page, creating a site will probably be a touch of overkill. On the other hand, even sites that start small can grow and grow and grow!

How to Define a New Site

When you plan to create a Web site using Dreamweaver, you must first define the site before you can do any other work on the site. Dreamweaver allows you to create several Web sites, but you have to identify each one with a unique name. When you define a site, you create or specify a folder on your hard drive (called the local folder) in which all the files for this site are stored. You must define each Web site you create using Dreamweaver.

Open the Site Definition Dialog Box

Open Dreamweaver and choose Site, New Site to open the Site Definition dialog box.

Figure 3.1

Name the Site

From the Category list on the left side of the dialog box, make sure that Local Info is selected. In the Site Name box, type a name for this Web site. Perhaps MyFirstSite would be a good idea. Choose a name that relates to the site content; the descriptive name will help you later on when you have several sites to choose from.

Figure 3.2

Name the Location

Click the folder icon to the right of the Local Root Folder text box. The Choose Local Folder dialog box opens to enable you to navigate to the folder you want to use to store the files for this site. Select the folder you want to use and click Select (click Choose on the Mac). The path to the local root folder you have just chosen appears in the Local Root Folder text box.

Figure 3.3

Create the Site

You don't have to fill in anything else in the Site Definition dialog box for now; click OK to register your site name and folder location. An alert box opens, asking whether you want to create a cache for your new site. A cache helps the management of the site and ensures that links are kept up to date. Click the Create button to create the cache.

Figure 3.4

Open the Site Window

As soon as you click Create in Step 4, the screen changes to display the Site window. The right pane of the Site window shows the folder you have chosen to hold the files for your site. At the moment, there are no files for this new site, but when you do have files, they are displayed under the folder icon. Your site will soon grow and grow!

Figure 3.5

Understand the Site Window

After you have some files for the site, the Site window will display information about each file (as this example shows). After you have uploaded your site to a remote server, you can display the remote server in the left pane and transfer files from your local hard drive to the remote server by simply dragging them from one location to the other. You can see how your Web pages are linked to one another by clicking the Navigation button. This example shows an existing site with the files showing on both the local hard drive and remote servers.

Figure 3.6

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