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In Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training, Adobe Certified Instructor James Williamson explores the tools and techniques of Dreamweaver CS5, Adobe's web design and development software. This course covers both the ins and outs of Dreamweaver, as well as recommended best practices for crafting new web sites and files, the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and how to ensure clean and accessible code. The course also includes how to use tools in Dreamweaver to create and style web pages, manage multiple sites, and add user interactivity with widgets and scripting. Exercise files are included with the course.
By far, one of the easiest things to do in Dreamweaver is to create links. Well, that's a good thing too because you're going to be creating them so often. I can think of at least six ways to create links in Dreamweaver, right off the top of my head, and I'm sure I'm probably missing a few. Honestly though, no matter how many different techniques there are, you'll probably, like most designers, just use a few favorite core techniques when creating links on the page. In this movie, we are going to explore a few of those core techniques and talk about their pros and cons. So here I have the resources.htm file opened, from the 09_03 Folder, and there are a lot of things on the page here that need to link to other pages throughout our site.
So this is a perfect page for us to be experimenting with. All right! So one of the first things I want to do is insert a link by using either the menu or my common objects. Now for this link, it's actually better if you don't already have the text on the page. For the majority of the links that you're going to be working with, those techniques work great if the text is already on the page, but for this one, not so much. So if you read the first paragraph, you're going to see one sentence that looks a little odd. For example, this bit of text right here, and some that can help you. It seems like something is missing there, right? So I'm going to place my cursor right after the word "some" and hit Space, and that is where we're going to be inserting our link.
So what we want to do is we want to go up to our Insert menu and notice that when you go up to Insert, one of the objects that you can insert on the page is a Hyperlink. So you'll often hear links referred to as Hyperlink, and that would insert the link on the page. Now, that's going to give us a dialog box that has a few options that some of the other techniques that I'm about to show you don't have. So sometimes, this is actually the preferred way of doing this. Now the exact same type of link could be inserted on the page by using the Insert panel. So let's go over to our Common Objects, and to show you how common they are, it's the very first object in Common Objects.
So right there, that little Link icon, you want to hover over that, and just click it one time. So it doesn't matter whether you go from the menu, or you go here, you're going to get a dialog box that comes up, that, again, it's going to give you some options that some of the other links don't give you. So the first thing it wants to know is well what text would you like for this link? We're going to type in additional resources. Then next thing it wants to know is the link itself, and this is going to be what page do you want to go to? You can type it in yourself if you happen to know the exact path to that, or you can browse.
I'm going to go ahead and browse here and by browsing, if I'm working on a dynamic site, I can browse to a data source as well. So if you have a link being generated by a database, you can use this particular technique to look at that as well. Well, I'm going to go down into the 09_03 Folder. I'm going to find my Resources folder, open that up and inside that I'm going to highlight this links.htm. That's the file that I want. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and now we can see that that is resolving right there inside my Link dialog box.
The next thing that this is asking me is Target. As you grab the pulldown menu, you can see that there are a few sort of reserved keywords for this, blank, new, parent, self, and top. Now for the most part, those are referring to frames, and very few sites are using frames these days. However, you are going to occasionally want to use _blank. As we'll see later on when we're doing some of our absolute links, _blank will open up your link in either a new page, or a new tab depending upon the browser that you're using. Since we're linking internally to our site, we don't really want to do that, so I'm going to leave that blank.
Here's my favorite part of this particular technique. Notice that we get to title our link right off the bat. So what is a link title? Well, think back to the chapter where we were working on images. When you place an image on the page you need to give it Alt Text. That is alternate text that allows browsers and other user agents to sort of describe the image. Well, that's what Titles do for us in links. When a link has a title, browser agents, screen readers, things like that, can give some feedback about what the link is. So, this actually becomes sort of descriptive text.
So for this title, for example, I could type in links to additional resources. What's really nice about this is when somebody hovers over this link, a little tooltip that says exactly that will come up. We also have some Accessibility options here. We could give an Access key and a Tab index to that. Not all pages require that amount of accessibility, and that's really a personal decision based off of the site you're working on. For the site we're doing, we don't really need to do those, so I'm just going to go ahead and click OK.
Now, notice what this method did for me. It went ahead and placed the text on the page, resolved the link for me, added a title to it, and it did that all at once. So that's actually a really efficient way of putting a link on the page. You'll hear some people say, "Well, I don't like going up to the menu. I don't like going up to the Insert panel," but frankly, that method is going to give you some options that some of the other methods that we're about to do don't give you. So I really like that. All right! The next thing I want to do is, towards the top of this paragraph, you're going to see, Here you'll find FAQ's for each of our tour packages.
That's going to link out to a page, so go ahead and highlight the FAQ portion of that. Now down in your Properties Inspector, you're going to find a little area right down here for any link that you want to make. Now, you want to make sure you're looking at the HTML properties and not the CSS properties. So make sure you're on the HTML tab. Out beside that Link dialog box, there are two symbols. One looks like a little target and if you hover over it, it says, Point to File. The other one is a folder, and it allows you to browse for a file, and that's the one we're going to do here.
So I'm going to click Browse for File, and that is going to jump me right in the Resources directory. So I didn't even have to browse because that's where we went last time. But if you need to, just browse to the 09_03 Resources folder, and you want to highlight the faq.htm file. Once again, here you get a chance to resolve this document relative to either the Document or the Site Root. So if you ever need to change it based off of what is already defined in your site definition, this is one of the methods that will allow you to do that. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and there it went ahead and resolved my link for me.
Notice that it did not do a title for me. It did not prompt me for that. So if I wanted to title this like just say, frequently asked questions, I have to do that manually. So it's okay. It's another step that I can do, but if you forget that step and you meant to have a title there, that method doesn't prompt you for that. Okay, so the next thing we want to do is use the Point to File icon, and it's one of my favorites. So I'm going to go right down here at the bottom of the paragraph and highlight the word Contact. When you're looking to create a quick and easy link, there is nothing better than the Point to File icon.
So with the text Contact highlighted, I'm going to go down to my Properties Inspector, once again, making sure I'm on HTML properties, and I'm going to click and hold the mouse down on that Point to File target. Now, once your mouse is held down, all you have to do is drag over to your Files panel. So for this technique, you want to make sure that your Files panel is visible. I'm just going to mouse over with the mouse held down, and I'm going to go right here to Contact. Now what happens if it's in a subdirectory and you forgot to open up the subdirectory? Well, that's not really a problem. If you hover over a subdirectory, that subdirectory will automatically open and give you access to anything inside of it.
So this operation allows you to get whatever you like. I'm going to go right here to Contact, hover over it, let go, and Dreamweaver finishes the link for me right there, contact.htm. Once again, there is no title, so if you want a title, you've got to remember to do that manually. The last method I'm going to show you guys requires a little bit more manual labor. I'm going to go right here to the word Privacy, just above terms, and we want to link to our Privacy Page. Now our Privacy Page will be in our Resources directory. We don't have one there right now just because we haven't created it.
Just because you don't have a page over in your Files panel doesn't mean that you can't create a link to it, especially if it's a page that you know you're going to be creating later on. The only problem with that is you can't browse to it because it's not already there. You can't use the Point to File icon because it's not already there. So what you need to do is resolve that link manually. So knowing that the page that we are in right now, Resources, is in the Root directory, and knowing that privacy is eventually going to be in the Resources subdirectory, then it's pretty easy for me to know how to resolve this link, even if the page doesn't exist.
I'm going to place my cursor right there in the Link dialog box. I'm going to type in resources/privacy.htm. The link is created and even though that page doesn't exist just yet, that will eventually link to that page when we build it. So you can create links manually if you want to. You just have to remember to type them in. Spelling counts, and you are in charge of resolving that link. So you've got to make sure that you know the path from where you are right now to where that page is going to be, and then you can go ahead and type that link in.
Now, there is one more way to quickly create links that I want to show you before we finish this exercise. Let's scroll all the way down towards the bottom of the page, and we want to go right down to this section, Trip planning. Here, we can see that we're referencing the Frequently Asked Questions page again. Well, we've already made a link for that. If you've already made a link once in this page, you don't have to keep doing it. I'm going to highlight the text FAQ there. I'm going to go down to my Properties Inspector, and right where the Link dialog box is, you can see that's actually a dropdown menu.
So I am going to go ahead and click that dropdown menu, and here are all the links that you've been working on in your site. So each and every page, every time you create a link it's going to store it. And then every time you need a new link, if you've already created it, you can just grab that pulldown menu. So at this point the only problem we're having is figuring out exactly where that is. In this case, it's right here, resources/faq.htm. All I have to do is click there, and it's going to resolve that link for me. Now, it won't remember any of the other settings that you've done.
So if you've already created a title for it, no, you're going to need to create that title again here, because it's not going to retain that. It's just going to retain the path to the image itself. So there you go. I think it's pretty easy to see why there are so many different ways to create links in Dreamweaver. Some are designed to allow fast and accurate link creation when simple links are required. Now other methods are designed to accept more input based on the current needs of that particular link. You will find yourself using multiple techniques based on your link requirements and frankly, your personal preferences.
Be sure to practice creating links with each of these techniques, so that you'll know which method to use based on the current situation.
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