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Creating An Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 Web Site

Jul 24, 2008
Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 has been empowering computer users to build their own web sites for over ten years now. In that time, it has grown to become a feature-packed and complex piece of software which can be a little scary for new users. This article aims to show users the key steps necessary to creating a basic Dreamweaver web site and the essential tools they should be using.

It's always a good idea to sketch out a plan of how the site will work and what kind of user experience it will offer. Dreamweaver will not give you any assistance at this stage, so just use pen and paper. Start by building a basic site, one that you know you can complete without getting bogged down in technologies that you do not understand.

Another step you should complete before you even go into Dreamweaver is to create a folder to hold all of the files which will comprise your site: the "local root folder", as Dreamweaver calls it. Don't put anything in this folder but the files relating to your site. Once you have completed your project, it will mirror the live version of your site.

Next, create a folder inside the "local root folder" which will hold your images. This will help you to avoid ending up with "broken images" on your site, where visitors are presented with an empty box instead of the actual image.

Now we can open up Dreamweaver and create a new web site. To do this, find the Site menu and choose New Site. When the New Site window appears, be sure to click on the Advanced tab at the top of the screen. Ironically Advanced mode makes it easier to select only the key options you need to enter. Of the categories displayed on the left, we will need to enter Local Info and Remote Info.

In the Local Info window, enter a name for you new site then specify the location of the local root folder and default images folder you created earlier. The easiest way of doing this is to click on the browse icons next to each of these two boxes (the yellow folder icons).

Now activate the Remote Info section on the left. If your website will be an intranet, choose Local/Network from the Access Method drop-down menu. Click on the Browse icon then locate the server and sub-directory where your intranet resides. For a public web-site, choose FTP. Enter the appropriate information in each of the boxes. These details are available from your web hosting company and will have been emailed to you when you signed up.

Before you start entering content in your pages, it is useful to create and save all the sub-directories and pages your site will need. Create each page (leave it blank) and save it in the appropriate folder with the appropriate name. Creating and naming every page in your site offers the benefit that you will now be less likely to have problems with links since, whenever you want to link to a file, the file will already be there; you can just browse for the file and Dreamweaver will automatically create the link for you.

Naturally, you will want to ensure that there is some consistency within your pages with some elements that remain the same as visitors move from page to page. One of the best ways to achieve this is to create at least one Dreamweaver template. Templates contain the basic design and layout that you want each of the pages to have as well as editable regions which can be modified each time you apply the template to a page.

Having finished your template or templates, you are ready to build the web pages that will constitute your site. Simply open each page, choose Modify - Templates - Apply Template to Page and then add the text, images etc. that make up the page.
About the Author
The The writer of this article is a trainer and developer with TrainingCompany.Com, a UK IT training company offering Adobe Dreamweaver training courses in London and throughout the UK.
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