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Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

Creating an Action file


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Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

with James Williamson

Video: Creating an Action file

Now that we have our styleSwitcher JavaScript file partly finished, we need to begin creating the user interface for our behavior. Since our behavior only needs to know the name of the new style sheet that's going to be switched, creating the interface should be fairly simple. Now if you are following along with our exercise files, I am going to over to the Chapter 9 Exercise Files, and in our Root Directory, I am going open up styleSwitcher_start.htm. So it's just a regular HTML document, and I am going to switch over to Code view because there are some things that we need to really take a close look at.
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 1h 23m
    1. Reviewing the Coding toolbar
      8m 42s
    2. Customizing the Coding toolbar
      9m 52s
    3. Taking advantage of Code Hinting
      7m 20s
    4. Using snippets and shortcuts
      11m 10s
    5. Using the Quick Tag Editor
      5m 18s
    6. Using Find and Replace
      9m 50s
    7. Regular expressions
      5m 39s
    8. Using Bridge with Dreamweaver CS3
      8m 28s
    9. Round-trip editing with Photoshop CS3
      3m 40s
    10. Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3
      7m 32s
    11. Integrating external variables into your workflow
      6m 16s
  3. 37m 26s
    1. Understanding the CSS Styles panel
      7m 59s
    2. Understanding the Cascade
      5m 50s
    3. Understanding Inheritance
      5m 8s
    4. Understanding Specificity
      7m 5s
    5. Managing CSS styles
      5m 4s
    6. Using Design-Time style sheets
      6m 20s
  4. 2h 19m
    1. Using the new CSS template pages
      5m 59s
    2. Understanding DIV tag structure and layout
      12m 0s
    3. Understanding the CSS box model
      10m 0s
    4. Using absolute and relative positioning
      8m 35s
    5. Understanding floating elements
      7m 9s
    6. Clearing floats
      7m 19s
    7. Using floats to control page layout
      3m 45s
    8. Building structure and assigning IDs
      10m 19s
    9. Applying basic styling to structured content
      11m 14s
    10. Positioning container elements
      11m 4s
    11. Enhancing layouts with background graphics
      11m 48s
    12. Creating faux columns with background graphics
      8m 55s
    13. Creating rounded corners with background graphics
      9m 17s
    14. Building navigation with CSS
      16m 57s
    15. Using Dreamweaver's Browser Check feature
      5m 31s
  5. 53m 22s
    1. Creating properly structured forms
      6m 30s
    2. Creating accessible forms
      6m 41s
    3. Using CSS to lay out form structure
      7m 40s
    4. Creating vertical columns for form elements
      7m 48s
    5. Adding user feedback
      5m 52s
    6. Applying advanced styling to forms
      8m 11s
    7. Client-side form validation
      4m 17s
    8. Validating forms with the Spry Validation tools
      6m 23s
  6. 1h 20m
    1. Understanding the Spry framework
      3m 43s
    2. Defining a data source for use in Spry
      3m 56s
    3. Creating a Spry table
      8m 8s
    4. Using the Spry widgets
      8m 11s
    5. Connecting various data sets
      4m 50s
    6. Understanding Spry widget structures
      7m 1s
    7. Applying custom styles to Spry widgets
      6m 24s
    8. Applying additional custom styles to Spry widgets
      8m 46s
    9. Controlling Spry widget behaviors with JavaScript
      6m 0s
    10. Controlling Spry widget animations with JavaScript
      9m 31s
    11. Creating effects with Spry behaviors
      4m 42s
    12. Hand-coding Spry
      9m 11s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Creating a base template
      8m 6s
    2. Creating editable attributes
      6m 26s
    3. Creating a new page from a template
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a template to an existing page
      4m 36s
    5. Creating nested templates
      5m 24s
    6. Using repeating regions
      6m 34s
    7. Creating editable and non-editable optional regions
      6m 0s
    8. Using template parameters
      7m 26s
    9. Using template expressions
      9m 59s
    10. Using conditional template expressions
      8m 54s
  8. 54m 40s
    1. Examining XML structure
      2m 44s
    2. Creating an XML document
      9m 9s
    3. Using the CDATA structure
      5m 7s
    4. Creating an XSLT file
      4m 33s
    5. Binding data from an XML to an XSLT document
      5m 6s
    6. Inserting repeating regions into an XSL document
      5m 16s
    7. Creating a client-side XSL transformation
      2m 52s
    8. Styling a remote RSS feed
      7m 29s
    9. Creating a server-side XSL transformation
      5m 31s
    10. Writing XSL expressions
      6m 53s
  9. 1h 2m
    1. Overview of building dynamic websites
      1m 35s
    2. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Mac
      3m 22s
    3. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Windows
      3m 54s
    4. Creating a MySQL database
      3m 16s
    5. Defining a testing server and database bindings
      6m 14s
    6. Creating a database recordset
      4m 35s
    7. Adding dynamic content to the page
      5m 14s
    8. Creating repeating regions of dynamic content
      7m 6s
    9. Filtering database records
      7m 39s
    10. Using the Live Preview
      10m 22s
    11. Passing URL parameters
      4m 23s
    12. Dynamically generating links
      5m 18s
  10. 57m 9s
    1. Understanding behaviors
      5m 16s
    2. Installing additional behaviors
      3m 39s
    3. Planning to create a custom behavior
      3m 42s
    4. Examining existing behaviors
      5m 32s
    5. Building a behavior function
      7m 23s
    6. Creating an Action file
      6m 48s
    7. Enabling behavior functions
      9m 1s
    8. Initializing the user interface for a behavior
      3m 9s
    9. Loading behaviors in Dreamweaver
      6m 47s
    10. Testing and debugging behaviors
      5m 52s
  11. 27m 12s
    1. Running reports
      7m 41s
    2. Checking and validating links
      3m 40s
    3. Using cloaking
      5m 42s
    4. Using Check In/Check Out
      4m 3s
    5. Using Design Notes
      6m 6s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics
11h 10m Intermediate Sep 21, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Covering diverse topics such as improving workflow and managing CSS styles, Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics is a hands-on course that teaches users how to move beyond standard, static websites. Instructor James Williamson explores how to increase productivity, interactivity, and accessibility with Dreamweaver. He also discusses how to extend the application's capabilities with XML and XSL. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.

Topics include:
  • Reviewing and customizing the coding toolbar
  • Understanding the CSS Styles panel
  • Using absolute and relative positioning
  • Creating accessible forms
  • Building AJAX pages with the Spry framework
  • Extending templates
  • Working with XML and XSL
  • Building dynamic content
  • Creating custom behaviors in Dreamweaver
  • Running reports
Subject:
Web
Software:
Dreamweaver
Author:
James Williamson

Creating an Action file

Now that we have our styleSwitcher JavaScript file partly finished, we need to begin creating the user interface for our behavior. Since our behavior only needs to know the name of the new style sheet that's going to be switched, creating the interface should be fairly simple. Now if you are following along with our exercise files, I am going to over to the Chapter 9 Exercise Files, and in our Root Directory, I am going open up styleSwitcher_start.htm. So it's just a regular HTML document, and I am going to switch over to Code view because there are some things that we need to really take a close look at.

On line number one, pay particular attention to the document type decoration. This is not the normal XHTML document type decoration. This is the document type decoration you will need to use when you are creating a behavior. Each type of Dreamweaver Behavior requires a different document type decoration. This is pretty well documented on Adobe's website in the extending Dreamweaver section. However, you just go ahead and open up an existing action file, copy its document type decoration and paste it into your file. The first thing we need to do is go ahead and called up a couple of JavaScript files, we certainly need to import the scripts from our styleSwitcher JavaScript file. Before we do that, we are going to go ahead and import some JavaScripts from one of Adobe's shared libraries.

Dreamweaver contains a lot of shared script libraries; they can make writing their own functions a lot simpler. They contain pre-built functions that can do a lot of the work for you, so right below the title tag I am going to go ahead and open up a script tag. And I will type in language "javascript" and I will type in a src attribute. Now we could browse for this or we could just type it in and I think we are going to go ahead and browse, so that you can see where these are located. So I am going to choose Browse and I am going to go to my Applications Directory here on the Mac and go to Dreamweaver CS3. I will get on the PC, you will browse to your program files, find Dreamweaver CS3, and we are going to look in Configuration. Now in Configuration, if you scroll down, you will find a folder called Shared. Click on the Shared folder.

A Shared folder contains a lot of different scripts and extensions and code that have been added to Dreamweaver over the years and you can use one of the codes in your own functions and extensions as you are writing them. So I am going to click on MM and we will choose scripts and inside that I am going to scroll down and find the CMN, scroll down and you are going to find string.js and that's the one we are looking for. So that's a really long path and it might not be the same on every system, so you want to go ahead and browse that. So once you go into Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 and I will just go backward so we can see my path. You will go into Configuration, Shared, MM, Scripts, CMN and then you are going to find String.

Now the string JavaScript file contains multiple functions that are going to help you parse and retrieve string values. I will select Choose or Select and Dreamweaver should prompt you and say that this file is outside the Root folder. It's going to ask you if you want to copy the file there now and I am going to choose No. We don't need to copy this to our Root Directory because this script is not going to be uploaded with the rest of our website. This is a function that we are extending in the Dreamweaver, so our files will be installed into essential location within the Dreamweaver framework so when we say that we will need to update the link to it but it always needs to point to the shared directory.

So I am going to close out that tag. I am going to close my Script tag. On the next line, we need to go ahead and add a script tag that is going to import our styleSwitcher JavaScript, so we will type in script and we will do language again equals javascript and we will do another src directory. This time we really don't need to browse because it will be a document relative path and I am going to type in quotation marks "styleSwitcher.js." So you want to make sure you spell that right, you want to make sure you remember exactly what you named your external script file for the behavior and these two are going to be saved in the same directory so that is a document relative link.

Now I am going to go ahead and do a Save As on this and I will save it in my Root Directory and I will remove the _ start so I am just going to save it as styleSwitcher.htm. Once again, now the HTML file and this is the action file that we were talking about earlier, the action file and the JavaScript file are named exactly the same thing. If we need to modify these later, we will be able to find both of them very easily, open them up and know that they do relate to each other even if we are not the ones that created the Behavior. Well, we are going to go ahead and add our interface to the page now and it's just as easy as to do this in Code View as it is in Design View. It's a very simple form, so it won't take long for us to code.

So I am just going to go ahead and open up a form tag and after the form tag, I am going to give it an id of theForm. Now, you can use any id you want, but you have to remember what you named it because later on in our JavaScript, in the next exercise, we will have to call values from this form, so remember what you named it. So we are just going to give it a generic name theForm. We will pass that in as a name value as well theForm for both id and name. And then for action, we will just go ahead and leave the action blank. The action will be driven by Dreamweaver itself, so you do not have to supply action for the form since this is your user interface. Dreamweaver handles all of its function calls as part of the behavior architecture. So we will go ahead and close the form tag.

Now if I go to the next line, I am just going to go ahead and enter in a paragraph and I am just going to type in Title of new style sheet file and I will type the colon. Now this is what your users will see in the styleSwitcher dialog box: title of new style sheet file. After that we will go ahead and put an input tag so we will go ahead and do a text input, so we will say input, name is going to equal title and we are going to be referring to that in our JavaScript later on, so we need to remember that as well.

Type will be text, id will also be title, remember to spell them exactly the same, capitalization counts and for size I am just going to go ahead and put 40 and that is going to be the width of my input. So we will go ahead and do a self closed tag on that, close your paragraph out and save the file. Now if I do switch back to Design View, I can see a very simple form Title of new style sheet file, so your user interface doesn't require a submit button, it doesn't require any of that. As a behavior, it will assemble your form onto a dialog box and you will have your OK button, your Cancel button, and it will build out the rest of the interface for you.

So you only have to worry about the data collection for the interface, you don't have to worry about building out the OK, the submittal buttons or any of that. That's one of the reasons why we didn't have discussed that in action because that's driven by the OK button that Dreamweaver is going to build for you. So Dreamweaver handles all of those function calls. Make sure you save the file, if you haven't and that's our user interface. Now we need to return to our JavaScript form and add some functions that will connect our user interface and our JavaScript behavior.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics.


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Q: In the Chapter 3 movie “Creating rounded corners with background graphics”, the instructor uses a .last class selector. What are the CSS properties of this selector?
A: The .last selector is as follows:
#current p.last{
background: url(../_images/current_btm_bg.gif) no-repeat bottom
left;
padding-bottom: 2em;
margin: 0;
}
The background is the bottom rounded corner graphic, the bottom padding keeps the type away from the bottom of the box and thus the rounded corners, and the margin ensures that the box elements fit seamlessly with each other.
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