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Getting Familiar with the Dreamweaver Workspace

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Get an overview of the Dreamweaver 4 workspace and become familiar with the different objects and palettes used to design and develop Web pages in Dreamweaver 4. Learn what tools are available to design and develop Web pages, and how to perform basic functions like opening and saving files.
This chapter is from the book


In This Chapter

  • The Document Window
  • Palettes and Inspectors
  • The Site Window
  • Creating New Files and Folders
  • Opening Existing Files
  • Saving Files
  • Renaming Files
  • Moving Files Between Subdirectories

In this chapter, you'll get an overview of the Dreamweaver 4 workspace and become familiar with the different objects and palettes used to design and develop Web pages in Dreamweaver 4.

The first time you launch Dreamweaver, your desktop will look something like Figure 1–1. The combination of windows you see is collectively known as the Dreamweaver workspace. Within this workspace, you have a number of tools at your disposal to design and develop Web pages. Throughout this book, you'll learn more about many of these objects and palettes; but for now, you'll get a brief overview of what each one is and what it's used for.

Figure 1-1Figure 1–1 When you first launch Dreamweaver, a document window and assorted palettes and inspectors will appear on your desktop.

The Document Window

The document window shown in Figure 1–2 is the main focus of the Dreamweaver workspace when building your Web pages. When you open an existing Web page, it will open in a document window, allowing you to work on it and add or edit content or code as necessary. To create a new Web page from scratch, you just begin working in the blank page of the document window that opens by default when Dreamweaver is initially loaded (Figure 1–2).

Figure 1-2Figure 1–2 The document window is the main focus of the Dreamweaver workspace. This is where you create new Web pages and edit existing ones.

Multiple Document Windows Can Be Open Simultaneously

Note: Dreamweaver allows you to have multiple document windows open at the same time so you can compare or edit content between pages or cut and paste content from one document to another.

The Document Window's Status Bar

The bottom portion of the document window is called the status bar (Figure 1–3). The status bar contains four sets of tools to help make working in Dreamweaver as efficient as possible. From left to right, the tools are: the tag selector, the window size pop-up menu, the document size indicator/download time indicator, and the mini-launcher.

Figure 1-3Figure 1–3 The status bar at the bottom of a document window includes four tools to help maximize your workflow: the tag selector, the window size pop-up menu, the document size/download time indicator, and the mini-launcher.

Following is a brief explanation of each of these tools.

The Tag Selector

The tag selector, located at the far left side of the status bar, is used when you want to isolate the contents within a particular HTML tag on a page. For example, the document window in Figure 1–3 is a new, blank document, so the only tag listed is the <body> tag. If you click on this tag, Dreamweaver will display it in bold (to let you know it was selected). Also, it will highlight everything inside that tag in both Design view and Code view (which you'll learn more about later in this chapter).

The status bar's tag selector really comes in handy when you've got a number of HTML tags (e.g., <TABLE>, <TR>, <TD>, etc.) and need to quickly isolate the contents within one of those tags.

The Window Size Pop-up Menu

There are a couple of ways you can resize a document window:

  1. To quickly resize your document window, manually drag the edges of the window to increase the width and/or height to the general size you need.

  2. When you want to make your document window a specific size—down to the pixel—use the window size pop-up menu, located in the status bar.

The window size pop-up menu allows you to instantly resize a document window to a predetermined or user-defined size, based on specific pixel dimensions, which would be very difficult to do using the "eye-balling" method.

To change the document window size to one of the predetermined sizes Dreamweaver has already set up for you, follow these steps:

  1. Click the window size pop-up menu at the bottom of the document window

  2. Then click the menu item that corresponds to the size you would like the document window to be (see Figure 1–4).

    Figure 1-4Figure 1–4 The window size pop-up menu allows you to quickly change the size of the document window to match commonly used browser sizes.

The menu item selected in Figure 1–4 is 760 x 420; this number represents the size that Dreamweaver will resize the current document window's whitespace (the area you design in) to. The description in parentheses (800 x 600, Maximized) represents the type of scenario the pixel dimensions are attempting to mimic for you. In the case of the selected item in Figure 1–4, (800 x 600, Maximized) tells you that 760 x 420 is roughly the usable space within a typical Web browser maximized to full-screen size on a monitor set to display at 800 x 600 dpi.

It's important to note that the measurements listed (e.g., 760 x 420) are approximations of the free space in Web browsers such as Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Depending on whether the visitors to your Web site have certain toolbars, address bars, or other menu bars displayed or hidden, the actual usable space in their browser can change.

Creating Your Own Document Window Sizes

Note: In addition to the predefined document window sizes that Dreamweaver ships with (shown in Figure 1–4), you can create your own user-defined sizes that specifically mimic a particular browser scenario such as (800 x 600, Maximized) with the toolbar and address bar visible. Once you have determined the custom document window size you would like to create, follow these steps to define it in Dreamweaver: Select Edit Sizes at the bottom of the window size pop-up menu. Dreamweaver will display the Preferences dialog box with the Status Bar category selected. You can then enter the width and height, plus a description for the new document window size. Once you click OK, your new window size will appear in the pop-up menu for selection at any time in the future.

To delete a window size, select Edit Sizes from the window size pop-up menu. Then, delete the pixel dimensions and description for the item you would like to delete. Once you're done, click OK at the bottom of the dialog box. The next time you click on the window size pop-up menu, the window size will be gone.

The Document Size / Download Time Indicator

At the right of the window size pop-up menu is the combination document size / download time indicator (Figure 1–3). While developing Web pages, you can quickly look in this area to see the total size of the page you're working on in Kilobytes (on the left) followed by how long it would take to download the current page based on the download speed selected.

The default download speed used to calculate the download time is based on a modem speed of 28.8 Kbps. You can change the download speed, which is used to calculate the download time displayed, by following these steps:

  1. From the document window, click Edit | Preferences, as shown in Figure 1–5 or press CTRL + U (Mac users, press COMMAND + U). The Preferences dialog box will open.

    Figure 1-5Figure 1–5 To change how Dreamweaver displays information and interacts with you, the Edit | Preferences menu is a great place to start.

  2. Within the Preferences dialog box, select Status Bar from the category box on the left side. Once Status Bar is selected, the preferences specific to the status bar will appear on the right.

  3. On the right side of the dialog box, click the Connection speed drop-down menu box and select the new connection speed you would like, as shown in Figure 1–6.

    Figure 1-6Figure 1–6 From the Preferences dialog box, you can change the connection speed used to calculate download times at the bottom of the document window, plus other options.

  4. Once you're finished, click OK at the bottom of the Preferences dialog box to make your changes take effect.

The Mini-Launcher

The last set of tools located on the right side of the status bar is collectively referred to as the mini-launcher (Figure 1–7). The buttons that appear on the mini-launcher are as follows (from left to right): the Site Map (Show Site), Assets, HTML Styles, CSS Styles, Behaviors, History, and Code inspector. Clicking one of the icons in the mini-launcher opens that corresponding palette or inspector; this is a shortcut to clicking the Window menu item, then selecting the palette or inspector you want to open. A white box surrounding an icon in the mini-launcher tells you that the particular palette or inspector is currently open on your desktop.

Figure 1-7Figure 1–7 The mini-launcher, located at the bottom of the document window, allows you to display or hide different palettes or inspectors. The icons that looked pressed or highlighted indicate the palettes or inspectors that are open on

In addition to the document window, the Dreamweaver workspace (Figure 1–1) can contain a number of other palettes and inspectors open at the same time. This makes it easy to access the tools you need while developing and designing pages. In the next section, you'll learn about these different palettes and inspectors.

Hiding the Mini-Launcher

You can hide the mini-launcher by selecting Edit|Preferences, followed by selecting Status Bar from the Category menu on the left, then unchecking the box that reads "Show Launcher in Status Bar"

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