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Over the years, I've heard a lot of things said about Dreamweaver, both positive and negative. I've heard developers say Dreamweaver is for designers who can't code. I've also heard designers who've said Dreamweaver is too complex. It's designed for coders, not true designers, and I've always kind of chuckled at those types of comments because they reflect the biases that we, as professionals, bring to the tools that we use. Dreamweaver isn't perfect - no tool is - but it does an amazing job of providing us with both powerful coding tools and powerful design tools.
No aspect of Dreamweaver showcases this better than the creation and management of CSS. Dreamweaver has powerful design focus CSS tools, such as the Properties Inspector, the CSS Styles panel and CSS Inspect that allow you to create and modify styles without ever touching the code. For those that prefer to code their CSS themselves, Dreamweaver has a powerful Code Editor that offers hinting and code completion, flexible code formatting and highlighting, and syntax checking.
This wide range of tools allows you to create a working environment that best suits your own personal preference and skill level. Regardless of whether you're coming to Dreamweaver from a design or development background, I recommend taking a blended approach to controlling styles in Dreamweaver. Developers should not dismiss, out of hand, powerful editing tools such as the CSS Styles panel. The Styles panel allows you to make edits to your styles and chase down style conflicts a lot faster than you can by hand. Now, designers should not dismiss or be intimidated by Dreamweaver's powerful code features.
Once you master CSS, there is no faster way to create it than by hand-coding it, using Dreamweaver's rapid coding tools. In fact, there are certain CSS properties that aren't even available through the CSS Rule Definition dialog box. So sticking solely with Dreamweaver's visual design tools will not only slow you down in certain situations; they can also limit your effectiveness in writing certain styles. In this title, I'm going to approach the topic of managing CSS and Dreamweaver by using this blended approach.
I will attempt to showcase all of the tools and capabilities that Dreamweaver provides to help you create and manage your site's CSS. Along the way, I'm going to suggest workflows that will allow you to work with CSS in the fastest, most efficient way possible, based on my own personal experience. Hopefully, you'll find an integrated solution that works for you and makes the process of planning, creating and managing CSS within Dreamweaver even easier for you.
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