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As discussed above, you can think of template parameters as page variables that are user configurable and that you can reference anywhere in the template as long as the reference is not contained within an editable region. There are five different types of parameters, described in the list below. You must set the parameter with a default value in the template, and you can customize that value on each child page based on that same template. In other words, you might define a text type parameter named myname in the template equal to Brad (where "Brad" is the default value). Any page you make from the template (page1) will use the default value until you change it for that page. You can easily change it on the generated page (page1) to Murray with a couple of mouse clicks (discussed below).
- Must be defined in the template.
- Must be defined only once in the template.
- Must be defined in a template's non-editable areaof the head block.
- Must be one of five permitted data types: text, boolean, color,URL, or number. You can learn more about the five allowed types ofparameters in our tutorial, TemplateParameter Types.
- Can be manually changed in the template; changeswill not affect already existing child pages but will affect anynew page made based on the template.
- Must not be manually altered using code view onthe child page or the change will not take effect.
- Must be changed on the child page using Modify > Template Properties...(in Dreamweaver MX) or Format > Template Properties... (in Contribute).
Parameter Format for the Template
The following is an example of parameter format based on the template.
< !-- TemplateParam name="" type="" value="" -->
Note: Do not leave the following parameters as null strings: name, type, and value.
Parameter format for the Child Page
The following is an example of parameter format in achild page based on the template.
< !-- InstanceParam name="" type="" value="" -->
Note: Do not leave the followingparameters as null strings: name, type, and value.
Here are some sample parameters and values for each type of template parameter.
|Parameter Type||Permitted Values|
|text||Anything you want here, even entity encoded characters and punctuationare acceptable.|
If your parameter value contains a double quote (") character, then you must entity encode the double quote or else the template engine will either throw an error (in most cases), or it will not display all the parameter data when you reference it through an expression. This is because the double quote character is a string identifier. Find below some common entity encoding conversions for the double quote below.
|"||" or "|
Caution: When using the URL parameter type, forget what you know about the Dreamweaver asset management engine, and reference these parameter type values as if you were making the association in the child of the template. In other words, instead of referencing an image (from a file in the templates folder) as ../images/myimage.gif, you would reference it as if you were in the parent folder already, such as images/myimage.gif.
Caution: If you move an asset, such as moving an image to another folder location, or renaming the referenced asset, Dreamweaver somewhat manages the value of the URL type parameters. But only does so in the child pages of the template; and not in the template.
Caution: When using the boolean parameter type, the value must be a lowercase true or false as the template engine does not accept an uppercase True/False or TRUE/FALSE. Using any uppercase in the boolean value will result in an error message when you try to save the template.
Using Parameters in the Template
Our discussion of parameters wouldn't be complete ifwe didn't discuss these little critters. Think of passthrough parametersas a way to tell Dreamweaver MX to ignore the expression and to passits value and exposure through to the next 'generation' of pages.
Caution: You cannot use passthrough parameters on root level templates. You can use them in any nested template without incident.
Parameter Format - Template
Here is an example of the syntax for passthrough parameters.
< !-- InstanceParam name="" type="" value="" passthrough="true" -->@@@(ParamName)@@@
Parameter Format - Child page
Nothing displays in code view. Simply put, passthrough parameters only relate to nested templates. In effect, they enable you to specify that the parameter cannot be customized on the second generation templates child page, but they will continue to be customizable on any third generation template's child pages. Our book, Dreamweaver MX Templates, covers this from pages 114 to 117. Note the unusual syntax for the passthrough parameter expression (the triple "@").
As discussed above, you can think of template expressions (as placed on the template page) as statements, which makes the defined and referenced parameters usable on your template-driven child pages.
- Must be defined in the template
- Must be in a template's non-editable area
- Can be manually changed in the template; changes will affect allexisting and new child pages when you save the template and updatechild pages
- Can reference template parameters by name: Optional Regions, RepeatingRegions and Repeating Tables. See our book for more information
Expression Format - Template
|Expression Type||Expression Sample|
|Complex||@@(ParamName!="Me"?"True Resultant":"False Resultant")@@|
|Region Lock||@@(" ")@@ (Nested Templates ONLY)|
Expression Results - Child page
|Expression Type||Expression Sample|
|Simple||Value of ParamName
Value of ParamName
Value of ParamName
|Complex||If ParamName!=Me - True Resultant
If ParamName=Me - False Resultant
|Complex #2||If ParamName!=Me - ParamName Value
If ParamName=Me - OtherParamName Value
|Nested Complex||If ParamName != Me, then if OtherParamName = You - foo
If ParamName != Me, then if OtherParamName != You - bar
If ParamName = Me - I dunno
|Region Lock||Nothing at all except the contents of theeditable region, since this acts as a region lock in Nested Templates|
Using Expressions in the Template
When you create a child page of a template, the template engine evaluates all expressions on the template page and writes the results of each evaluation to the child page. If the expression uses a parameter, then the template engine substitutes the parameter value wherever it sees the parameter used in an expression. If that expression uses the parameter's value in a calculation, the expression calculates a result uses it to display something. The template engine runs when you create a new page from the template and when you use Modify > Template Properties... The dialog box closes after you press OK button.
Because expressions can contain characters such as ', ", and @, you must convert them to the appropriate entities or character codes for the template engine to accept the values. See the conversion chart below.
|"||" or "|
Most of our tutorials at http://www.dreamweavermx-templates.com directly relate to parameters and expressions. Using this new knowledge, you'll be able to take advantage of other tutorials on our site.
Hopefully, the information we have provided clarifies template parameters andexpressions so that you can use them more easily!
About the authorsAlthough a biochemist by training, Murray Summers hasspent the last 20 years working in the computer industry. In 1998,Murray started his own website production company, GreatWeb Sights and he is the co-author of Dreamweaver MXTemplates. As a Team Macromedia member, he also participates in thesponsored forums for Dreamweaver and other products. He lives in ruralPhiladelphia with Suzanne, his lovely wife, their 13-year-old daughterCarly, a Golden Retriever, a mixed retriever, an Eskipoo, and somegoldfish.
Brad Halstead (www.dreamweavermx-templates.com), is aComputer Software Engineering Technologist by training, but deviatedfrom that dream to join the Canadian Military as an Air Weapons SystemsTechnician where he learned all about various computerized Aircraftweapons systems as well as loading the munitions. Brad has dabbledin the web in various capacities since 1989 and left the Military tobecome a full-time Computer Technician. Brad tries to play an activeroll in the support forums for Dreamweaver and Project Seven as timepermits him to. He lives in London, Ontario with his cherished partnerBrenda and their 9-year-old daughter Megan, 14-year-old daughter Amanda,13-year-old son Aaron, and 2 Yorkshire Terriers (17-F and 13-M).
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