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Email links allow users to click on a link and automatically generate an email to the specified address. Dreamweaver makes creating email links incredibly simple and just like most options in the Dreamweaver there are multiple ways to do it. Now before we dive into the specifics of creating email links in Dreamweaver, I want to talk to you for just a moment about the pros and cons of using the techniques that I'm about to show you. The default method of creating email links in Dreamweaver really is just dead simple. It makes giving your users the ability to contact you even easier.
While these techniques are certainly outside the scope of this course, you can easily find full description of how to do that by just going up to Google and doing a quick search. They're certainly worth researching if you plan on having email links in your page. So to experiment with email links I'm going to work in the about.htm page and you can find that in 08_06 folder. What I'm going to do is I'm just going to scroll down a little bit and I can see right here above the Map & Directions I have a line of text. It says, Feel free to email us directly to request a prospective student packet.
So I'm going to highlight the text that says email us and I have a couple of options here when inserting an email link. One, I can just hand code it myself if I want using the Link dialog box. But if I'm not a 100% sure of the syntax all I have to do is go up to the Insert tool bar and hover over the Email Link icon. Now when I click on that it's going to bring up a dialog box and it's going to ask for two things. It's going to say, okay, what do you want to the text to be? Well, since the text was already there, it's sort of pre-populated. But if you don't have the text already on the page you can enter it here. Next is, okay, what email address do you want to send to, and this is going to go to email@example.com.
I am going to go ahead and click OK and I'm going to save the file. Now take a look down there in the Link dialog box in our Property Inspector. You can see this is a very different looking link instead of resolving it with HTTP like an absolute link or a path to a page or even a pound (#) symbol like an anchor link we would use this has mail to mailto colon (:) and the email link that you want to send this to and you'll notice there no spaces there. So what will happen is somebody clicks this is it's going launch there email client and they're going to be able to compose an email to you and send it.
That's very helpful, but you want to think about usability here, because one of things about having people contact to you this way is that some people might be hesitant to send you an email, because essentially their email address is now exposed to you. So if it's not that one-on-one relationship that people are looking for, you're better off giving some type of a comment form. Of course, if responding to them is required based upon the correspondence then they're going to have to give you an email address. So there are always two sides to that. Now you can extend this a little bit further as well. For example, notice that this particular email is supposed to be for students that are going to be requesting a prospective student packet.
Well, the email address is just this generic firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm betting that the admissions account is probably getting hundreds of emails all the time about a number of different things. How is somebody going to sift through all those emails and figure out which ones are requesting student packets? Now it's putting a lot of work on the individual that's on the other end of this particular email account. So what I want to do is I want to give them a little bit of a hand. So what I can do is give down here into the Link dialog box, click right after the word com and type in a question mark (?).
Now this is one of the reasons why you never use punctuation in web addresses or file names, because this is basically a separator and it's telling the user agent that what came before me is an email address what comes after me is an attribute or a value that I want you to use when composing the email. So what we're going to do is we're going to type in subject equals (=) and then inside of that I can type in whatever I want. I'm just going to type in Student Packet and there when I type in the subject line, I can use whatever punctuation or spaces that I want.
Now when I hit Return I'm going to go ahead and save this. So what this is going to do? I'm going to go ahead and test this. I'm going to save the file and preview this in my browser, I am going to scroll down, and now when I click the email us link, it takes me right into composing a new email and you can see right here in the Subject line it says Student Packet. So that actually helps your users a couple of different ways. Number one, it takes the burden of trying to figure out what to title the subject of this email, but number two on the receiving end whoever has this account set up can go ahead and set a filter up on their account so that any email it comes in with the Subject line Student Packet is placed in a separate directory making it a little bit easier for them to fulfill those requests.
So email links are good way to help clients and users get in touch with you, but exposing your email link on the page is a risk that you need to consider before adding them using the default Dreamweaver method. Now keep in mind that you can customize your email links as well for added functionality.
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