1. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Define New Site
- Create a folder in which you will store all your project files. Create an 'images' folder within and transfer all the sliced images to this folder.
- Open Dreamweaver
- Define a new site [Site > New Site > 'Advanced' tab]
- Fill in your Site Name in the box provided for 'Site Name'.
- Use the yellow folder icon next to the 'Local Root Folder' box to browse for the project folder you had created.
- You should be able to see the 'images' folder in your Files panel [Site > Files].
2. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Template
If most of the pages in your web site have the same look and feel it is advisable to create a Dreamweaver template.
The advantages of creating a dreamweaver template include:
- All pages will look consistent
- When you want to make changes that effect the layout of the entire site you can simply make the changes to the template and update all the pages automatically
The dreamweaver template file has a .dwt extension and will get saved in a folder entitled "Templates". To create a dreamweaver template follow these steps:
- File > New
- Page Type > HTML template
- Layout - select from one of the pre-built layout options and customize it or select <none> and create your own from scratch
3. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Page Layout
You can create the general layout of the page in the Dreamweaver template using either tables or css. The advantages and disadvantages of both these approaches are give below:
Creating the Layout using Tables
Using the tables approach your layout will be structured within tables and cells.
Analyze your layout (created in Adobe Fireworks or Photoshop) to figure out how many tables with how many rows and columns you would need to recreate it in Dreamweaver.
Now start creating your tables. You can use pixels or percentages to define the width and height. If you have more that 1 column make sure the widths of all the columns add up to the width of the table. [Insert > Table]
The Properties Inspector is extremely useful for editing the properties of any element in your page. To edit the properties of a table simply select the table and open the Properties Inspector. [Window > Properties]
Try and create separate tables as much as possible. This is because a table will load only once all the elements within it have loaded.
Explore creating the layout you designed using tables. You can give background colors, create tables within tables, specify the alignment of the content within the cell etc. So go ahead and try it out. You will apply this concept later in Project 1: Table-based Dreamweaver CS3 layout.
Creating the Layout using DIV Tags and CSS
Using the CSS approach you will be creating the layout webpage using div tags to separate different types of content on the page and positioning these div tags in CSS.
You will need to create a css style sheet and attach it to the template.
For every div that you create in the template you will need to create a corresponding style in the css file. You can specify position the location of the div in the page, background colors, borders and other properties in the style. You will apply this concept later when you do Project 2: CSS/ DIV based tableless layout.
An easy way to create a css, div based layout is to use one of the pre-built Dreamweaver layouts. [File New > Blank Page > HTML > Select layout best suited to your needs]
Prebuilt CSS layout options within Dreamweaver
You can also get pre-built layout designs and cusomize them.
4. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Create CSS Stylesheet
It is a good idea to centralize the text styles as much as possible in order to maintain consistency and easy updating.
In the case of layouts designed with div tags (instead of tables) or use of one of the prebuilt layouts that come with Dreamweaver CS 3 you would have already created the css stylesheet and assigned positional properties to the div tags. Some of the styles you can centralize in an external css stylesheet include:
- H1 tag redefined
- H2 tag redefined
- p tag redefined
- a tag redefined (specifies the look of link)
- menu styles
- footer text styles
To create an external stylesheet follow these steps:
- File > New
- Page Type > CSS
- Save the file in the website folder. You can name it 'styles' or any appropriate title. It will get saved as a .css file.
Once you have created the css file you will need to attach it to the dreamweaver template file. You can do this from the CSS Styles panel [Window > CSS Styles]. Click the icon (attach style sheet), select the css file and click OK.
You can create new css rules by clicking on the "New CSS Rule" icon.
In the dialog box that appears,
If you want to create a custom style which can be applied to any tag:
- Select the selector type "class"
- Name it with a "." at the beginning like .heading
- Define in: styles.css (or the name of your css file)
If you want to redefine the look of an existing html tag::
- Select the selector type "Tag"
- Select the Tag from the drop down menu e.g. "h1"
- Define in: styles.css (or the name of your css file)
In the dialog box that appears, specify the properties of the style and click ok.
5. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Insert Text & Images
Once your template layout (with tables or div tags) and css stylesheet is created, you can insert any images (e.g. logo), common menu items, text (e.g. copyright info) etc. that form part of the general look and feel of the site into the template.
You can type in text just as you would in any text editing software. You can apply styles to it from the Properties panel.
You can also format it with the existing html tags (which you would have redefined in the css file).
You can insert images [Insert > Image]. You can also position them :
- Click on the image.
- Open the Properties Inspector. Select the required alignment from the 'align' drop down menu. You could also set the alignment of the cell/ div tag in which the image will be placed.
6. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Server Side Includes/ Libraries
Server Side Includes
When you design a website it is better to design it for easy maintenance. As you add pages your menus will change to incorporate that. You might want to change the mast, footer etc. For this reason it is a good idea to use server side includes (ssi). The advantage is that when you make a change to an include you don't have to update all the pages that access it. The changes will automatically get reflected in them. You will not have to upload all the pages that use the include every time you make a change, just the include itself.
Note: All the html page you create and apply this template to must have the extension .shtml or .shtm.
It is useful to create include files for:
- sub menus
To create an include:
- Copy the part of the page that you would like to make into an include.
- Create a new html page [File > New > Blank Page > HTML > none]
- Go into the HTML code [View > Code] and delete all the default code that Dreamweaver puts in.
- Go back to design view [View > Design ] and paste the code that you had copied previously.
- Make sure all links in the include file are relative to site root.
- Finally save this file in an 'Includes' folder.
To insert an include into the template:
- Click where you would like to insert the include
- Insert > Server Side Include.
Dreamweaver Library Items
If you do not wish to create files with the shtml extension or your server does not support it you can use Dreamweaver Library items for common areas that might be different in different sections e.g. sub menus. However changes to library items will update the files in which they exist and these files will need to be uploaded again.
To create a library item:
- Copy the portion of the template you wish to convert to a library item
- File > New > Blank Page > Library Item
- Save with appropriate name
Once created, you will need to insert the library item into the template (or later on into a web page). To do so:
- Window > Assets
- Click the library icon in the Assets Panel
- Select the appropriate library name
- Click the 'Insert' button at the bottom of the panel
7. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Template Editable Regions
You will also need to specify editable regions. These will be the areas of the template where you will insert content that will differ from page to page. To do this:
- Put the cursor in the region that you wish to make editable
- Insert > Template Objects > Editable Region
- Give the editable region a name e.g. content.
- The editable region will appear on the template with a colored outline and the specified name.
If you have a library item (e.g. submenu) or banner etc. which will appear in most of the pages but will change in some you can keep the library item in the template, select it and create an editable region around it. So in a new page created with this template the library item will appear by default, however it can be replaced with another one where necessary.
8. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: HTML Pages, Content & Forms
Once you have your template, css stylesheet and server site includes/ library items ready, you can begin creating the actual pages of your site as per your site plan.
Keep in mind that if you are using server side includes you will need to create .shtml or .shtm pages.
To create the HTML/ SHTML pages:
- File > New > Page from Template > Project Name > Template Name > Create]
- Name and save the file into the project folder. Name the homepage index.shtml if using SSI and if your remote hosting server is a UNIX server. If it is a NT server most likely the homepage will need to be named 'default.shtml'. If you are not using SSI, leave the file extensions as .htm.
- Change the HTML page title to something more appropriate [ Modify > Page Properties >Title/ Encoding > Title]
- Put in appropriate meta data for the page i.e. keywords and description of the page
- Insert > HTML > Head Tags > Keywords
- Insert > HTML > Head Tags > Description
- Type or paste the Heading and content of the page into the appropriate edible region. Apply the styled formatting (e.g. H1 tag or custom style) from the Properties Panel
- Insert any images/ flash assets etc. into the editable region and and align them
- Replace any library items/ SSI e.g. sub menus
- Similarly create all the other HTML/ SHTML pages you need.
Some pages might require form elements such as the "contact us" form:
Insert > Form > select the form element of choice. A form must be within a form tag so select "Form" first, then insert the other form fields like Text field etc. within the form tag that appears.
To make a form work you will need a php, asp or cgi script. You can also make use of free services available.
9. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Link Pages
Once you have created all the pages of your site it is time to link them up. You may link them from the menus and from appropriate textual or image content on other pages.
To create a link:
- Select the text/ image you want to link from
- Click on the yellow folder icon next to the 'Link' field on the 'Properties' panel.
- In the dialog box that opens, browse for the web page you want to link to and select it.
- If you are linking to a page from a Server Side Include, ensure that the link is relative to site.
- Click OK and your link is ready.
If you have added links into the Dreamweaver Template or Library item, Dreamweaver will ask you if you want to update all the pages. Do so.
10. Dreamweaver CS3 Tutorial: Test & Upload to Hosting Server
Once the site is complete you are ready to upload it to your server and go live. Before that however, you should test the site to in various browsers (at least FireFox and Internet Explorer) to make sure it is working all right.
- File > Preview in Browser > select the browser of choice
- View each page
- Click on all the links
Note: If you use Site Relative paths (as you must in server side includes), the "Preview in Browser" feature will not work. You will need to test on a web server locally or upload to your remote hosting server and test.
Other tools that Dreamweaver provides :
- Site > Check Links Sitewide
- Text > Check Spelling
Uploading and Going Live
After you have developed and tested your site it is ready to go live. You will need a hosting service e.g. Hostgator. They will provide you with your server details:
- IP address or www.yoursitename.com
You can use Dreamweaver or any FTP software e.g. Filezilla to upload your files to the remote hosting server.
To enter your hosting details into Dreamweaver:
- Fill in these details in the Remote Info Panel of the Site Definition [Files Panel > Last in the site name drop down - Manage Sites > Select the Site > Click Edit > In the Advanced Tab > Click the category "Remote Info"
- Access = FTP (from drop down menu)
- FTP host = enter your site url e.g. www.yoursitename.com
- Enter your login and password
- Click "Test" to check the connection
To upload your files into the remote hosting Server:
- Click the "Expand to show local and remote sites" icon in the Files Panel
- In the expanded files panel click the 'connects to remote host' icon.
- Once you connect you should see the remote folder and files on the left window.
- To upload your files click the 'Put Files' Arrow icon in the site manager.
- After uploading all the files test the site online using your site url e.g. www.yoursitename.com.
Your site is live now! Congratulations!