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The Site Window

Dreamweaver includes an array of powerful and easy-to-use tools to create and maintain Web sites. The place you'll find these tools is in the Site window shown in Figure 1–27. To show the Site window, select Window | Site Files (F8) which is shown in Figure 1–27 or click Window|Site Map (ALT + F8).

Figure 1-27Figure 1–27 The Site window allows you to create and manage your existing site using a whole host of tools.

From the Site window, you can create, move, rename, and delete files or subdirectories. You can also easily identify new or updated files and synchronize files between your local (development) server, your remote site (live server), and a lot more!

The following information will teach you some of the common tasks you'll perform within the Site window. To learn more about the Site window, see Chapter 14, "Using the Site Window to Publish and Maintain Your Site."

Defining Local Information

Dreamweaver is built on the premise that you won't be working on files directly on the server from which people will be accessing your site (e.g., http://www.yourcompany.com), which is referred to as the remote server in Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver assumes that you're going to work on files locally (on your local computer or another computer on your network), then transfer finished files to your remote server when you're ready to make them viewable to your customers, audience, etc. This paradigm of working on your files locally, then transferring them back up to your remote site makes sense because you wouldn't want any unfinished pages or bugs (caught during testing) to be visible to the public.

So, the first step in defining a site is to specify the local information:

  1. From the Site window, click Site | New Site. The Site Definition for Unnamed Site 1 dialog box will appear.

  2. In the Category box on the left side, select Local Info.

  3. When you select Local Info, the fields that can be filled in will appear on the right side of the dialog box. Populate the fields as follows, to match those of Figure 1–28.

    Figure 1-28Figure 1–28 Defining a local site includes providing a descriptive name and the subdirectory location of the site on your hard drive. You should also check the Enable Cache checkbox.

  • Site Name: Shelley

  • Local Root Folder: C:\WEBSHARE\WWWROOT (or whatever your root folder will be)

  • Refresh Local File List Automatically: Checked

  • HTTP Address: http://www.shelleybiotechnologies.com

  • Cache: Checked

Following is an explanation of each field:

  • Site Name—This is the name that will appear in the title bar of the Site window and in the Site | Open Site submenu so you know what site you're currently working on.

  • Local Root Folder—This field is where you enter the subdirectory location of your local copy of the site. I use Microsoft's Personal Web Server on the local machine used in these examples, so the location for my local copy is C:\WEBSHARE\WWWROOT\, but it can really be any subdirectory on your hard drive. If you're not sure what the exact path of your local root folder is, you can click the folder icon at the right of the text box and select it like you would in Windows Explorer.

  • Refresh Local Files List Automatically—Place a check mark in this field so that you can see changes immediately in the Site window when creating, moving, or deleting files (etc.) from your local site. You can speed up performance without this feature on, but I don't recommend doing that as it's important to always see what you have to work with. If you decide to not check this, you'll need to press F5 to refresh your site.

  • HTTP Address—In this field, you enter the complete URL of the domain where the files will ultimately reside. This allows Dreamweaver to help check links within the site that use complete (or "fully resolved") URLs.

  • Cache—Place a check mark in this box to make sure you create a local cache to dramatically speed up link management and other maintenance tasks.

Once you've entered all this information, click OK at the bottom of the Site Definition dialog box. Dreamweaver will display a message saying that the initial cache will be created. Click OK to proceed.

You can now work with the site you defined. In Chapter 14, "Using the Site Window to Publish and Maintain Your Site," you'll learn about the other areas of defining a site.

To round out the basic overview of the Site window, let's take a look at the two views you'll typically use: the Site Files and Site Map views.

Site Files View

You can load the Site Files view in the Site window by pressing F8. This is basically a Windows Explorer-style interface that allows you to browse the documents for the site you defined. You can click on subdirectories to expand and collapse their view and perform other tasks, as you'll learn in Chapter 14.

Site Map View

From within the Site window, you can display your local site in a Site Map view by clicking the Site Map View icon at the top left corner of the Site window, then selecting Map Only, as shown in Figure 1–29. (You can also display the Site Map view within the Site window by pressing ALT + F8 or by selecting Window | Site Map from the document window.

Figure 1-29Figure 1–29 You can view your site files in a Site Map view as follows: click the Site Map View icon, click Window | Site Map, or press ALT + F8.

Displaying Page Titles

By default, files being displayed in Site Map view show their filename. In some cases, this may be redundant, or it may not provide the level of page detail you need to tell different files apart. A good thing to do is turn on page titles by clicking View | Show Page Titles (PC) or Site | Site Map View | Show Page Titles (Mac) or by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + T. Assuming you use descriptive (and unique) page titles—and most of your pages aren't dynamically rendered—turning on Show Page Titles will give you a better feel for the pages on your site, as shown on the right side of Figure 1–30.

Figure 1-30Figure 1–30 Turn on the Show Page Titles feature from the View menu to get a better description of what each file is.

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