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Setting up the working environment

From: CSS: Styling Forms

Video: Setting up the working environment

To work on any web development project, you'll need a combination of a text editor to work on your files and an FTP program to upload files to a server so that people can see them on the web. On a Mac, a great text editor you can get for free is TextWrangler, which is available from the App Store. Also available for free on a Mac or a PC is Aptana Studio. You can go to this web site to download a copy. Although it's not free, I like to use Macrabbit's Espresso for working with web projects. It has an excellent HTML and CSS editor, as well as a great live preview for seeing changes in files while you work on them.

Setting up the working environment

To work on any web development project, you'll need a combination of a text editor to work on your files and an FTP program to upload files to a server so that people can see them on the web. On a Mac, a great text editor you can get for free is TextWrangler, which is available from the App Store. Also available for free on a Mac or a PC is Aptana Studio. You can go to this web site to download a copy. Although it's not free, I like to use Macrabbit's Espresso for working with web projects. It has an excellent HTML and CSS editor, as well as a great live preview for seeing changes in files while you work on them.

Using a text editor is a very personal choice, so use whatever you are comfortable with. While we are working on these files, I'll be using Espresso, and what I usually do is open up the exercise files, open up Starting Points, and then find the starting point for the particular movie I am working with, and I make a copy onto the Desktop. That way I leave the original untouched. You'll see me dragging this folder into a copy of Espresso, which will open it up as a project. Anything I add or delete to this Project File section gets added and deleted to this folder.

So this Project File section is equivalent to the Finder folder. You'll also see me drag things into the Workspace. The Workspace is a temporary area where you can place things that you are going to be working on more often. So you'll see me sometimes drag the codesnippets file which is in a separate folder, in the Working Folder, onto the Workspace, and you might see me double-click on some of these other files, like the index files, to bring it into the Workspace. You'll also see me open up a live preview. A live preview is a preview that updates as you edit the HTML.

So if I just click on the Preview icon, you'll see that the Live preview will come up right here as a document in the Workspace. I can click and drag that document and put it on a separate window so that I can see what I am doing while I am typing. So here let me go ahead and change the title to just Sample, and you can see that up here that title has been modified. And as I type it in, you'll see that the live preview updates automatically. If I change anything else on the file, you'll see the changes happen onscreen as I do them.

So this is really convenient, and that's one of the reasons I like to use this program when I am showing how to do things in HTML. I don't need to save the file and then click over here and reload the document in order to see my changes. You can do the same thing by opening up a Working Folder onto something like TextWrangler, which will open up all the files as a project. But you may have to open up a separate window in a browser. Move the files that you want to preview onto the browser window itself.

On some editors the changes don't happen immediately, so you would have to make a change on your file, save the document, click on the browser, and then do a refresh to see any changes onto the document. So I would save, come over here, refresh the page, and I would see the change. So I just find Espresso just a little bit convenient, especially when I am showing you how to do things in one of these videos. Once you are done with the document, you'll need to upload the documents to a live server so that they will be visible to people on the Internet.

Once you are ready to send the files to your server, you'll need a way to upload the files so that people can see them online. You can use an FTP program like Cyberduck which is available for free on a Mac or a PC. You can download a copy on this web site or on the Mac App Store. Once you download and install Cyberduck, you can open it up, and you'll need to create a shortcut for your server. I've already created one right here. If you need to create a shortcut, just hit this plus sign and type in the login information for our server.

You'll need access information for your server. Then you can save the login information and double-click on your shortcut to access your server. Once you access your server, you can copy files to the server to place them on the Internet. I am going to select all these files, drag them over here. It will upload the files to the server, and once it's finished, you can go to a browser and access your project online.

You can also give this URL to somebody else on the web and let them access your project on the web. Now that we have our workspace set up, let's get started.

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CSS: Styling Forms

31 video lessons · 13224 viewers

Ray Villalobos
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