Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating and using Library items


From:

Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4

with Paul Trani

Video: Creating and using Library items

CSS really allows you the ability to have your design exist in one place and have it affect multiple pages, just like this Janedoe.css affects these multiple pages and applies that style to it. But what if you want to do something similar with content? So if I have to say for instance, this navigation, what if I want this navigation to appear across multiple pages and still have one reference of the navigation? Well, I can easily do that, converting this into a library item.

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Watch the Online Video Course Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4
2h 41m Beginner Sep 16, 2009

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Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4 shows the basics of doing just that—building a first web site. Adobe Certified Instructor Paul Trani walks through the important steps of creating a web site from concept to publishing, using Dreamweaver CS4. He teaches how to create basic web pages, add text and image content, use Cascading Style Sheets for design and layout, create a photo gallery, and even check the final site for browser compatibility. He also demonstrates how to create a contact form to encourage viewer feedback on the site. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Exploring the Dreamweaver workspace for first-time users
  • Linking to external web pages and sites
  • Improving the presentation of text and images on the site
  • Building a layout using Cascading Style Sheets
  • Making navigation reusable across multiple pages
  • Displaying content using the Accordion widget
  • Creating a contact form and sending data from it
  • Making the final site search engine-friendly
Subject:
Web
Software:
Dreamweaver
Author:
Paul Trani

Creating and using Library items

CSS really allows you the ability to have your design exist in one place and have it affect multiple pages, just like this Janedoe.css affects these multiple pages and applies that style to it. But what if you want to do something similar with content? So if I have to say for instance, this navigation, what if I want this navigation to appear across multiple pages and still have one reference of the navigation? Well, I can easily do that, converting this into a library item.

So I'm going to do that by going to Window, down to Assets, because in the Assets panel, that's where Library items exist. So that's going to be pressed and what I want to do is I want to just select this navigation and I want to drag it to the Assets panel. I'll show you what happens when I'm going to do that. I drag it in there to turn it into an asset. I get this dialog box from Dreamweaver that says, "Dreamweaver stores library items in the root folder of a site, but there is no site associated with this document.

Please add a site, or save it into an existing site." So I need to define a site before I can make a library item. So, I'm going to do that by clicking Manage Sites, and from here I'm going to click New Site. Then I get this Site Definition Wizard. It's that basic format for making a site. It really asks me, what you would like to name your site? Well, I want to call it Jane Doe Library, because that's what I'm going to make just to show you library items.

I'm going to click Next. It's asks, do you want to use a sort of server technology such as ColdFusion, some of these others? I'm going to select No now, but if I want to take advantage of other technologies, I can do that and I can always change that later. For now, I'm just going to select No. The next step is, how do you want to work through files for development? Well, I want to edit local copies, and then upload them when I'm ready, and really this field is the biggest field that I want to pay attention to, which is where on your computer do you want to store your files? So, if I click that folder, I can go in and define the folder where I want my site to exist.

So, Chapter 05, the 01 Begin folder is where I'm going to define. I'm going to click to Choose and I'm going to click Next and then it asks me, how do you want to connect to your remote server? Well, I want to select None, because I'm not going to worry about uploading now. So, all I want to do is create this library item and have this library exist across multiple pages. I'm going to click Next. It gives me a summary. Everything looks good. I can click on Done and it appears in this Manage Sites list, right here. Jane Doe Library.

Now that I have a site defined, I can click Done. Now what I can do is I can click on the Assets panel, I can select My Navigation and click and drag it over into my Assets panel with confidence, knowing that it's not going to give me that same dialog box. It tells me that the selection may not look the same when it's placed in other documents, because the Style Sheet information is not copied with it. So the Style Sheet information is separate. Again it's in Janedoe.css. It's just copying the content over, which is exactly what I want.

In fact, I can even say hey, don't warn me about this again because I'm totally aware of it now. Assets panel automatically highlights the title, which I want to call Nav. Hit Return and here is my item. So, as you can tell by this preview, it shows me that there is no style associated with this library item. It's just the text, but that's exactly what I want. In fact, look what it does in my Index HTML page. It highlights it, as if it's highlighter if you will.

That might be a little concerning initially, but if I save my file, and just preview in a browser, I know that it's not really there. Don't worry about that highlighting. It just identifies it as a library item. In fact if I go to Split View, you can see that it does the same highlighting on the code in here. So I find that very helpful, sort of defining what a library item is, and sure enough if I select it, it will even tell me it's a library item in the Properties panel.

So now it's now setup as a library item. It's looking good. I can go to say for instance My About page, delete that Nav, it goes here, text and replace it by just clicking and dragging that Nav library item to that page just like that. Notice how it does left justify it. Well I can change that because in my Properties panel. It's because I have the Paragraph format associated with that library item. So I'm going to select None and that will center that. So it's looking good.

I can save this page, move on down the line to the Portfolio page right in here, click and drag my Nav library item and go to my Properties panel and choose the format to None, so it centers that content. I'll save this page and my last page is the Contact page. So I could again make room for it, click and drag it into that page and remove any sort of formatting that's making it left justified.

That's looking pretty good. I'll save this page and sure enough, my navigation is across all the pages. And if I want to change this navigation, all I have to do is double-click that asset and I can change this to Contact Us, and once I save this library item, it asks me, hey do you want to update all of these various files that use these library item? Of course I do, because that's why I made it a library item.

I'm going to click Update, and it goes through lightening fast, and updates all the library items, so I can click Close. But if I go to those other pages, you could see that it says Contact Us across the board. So, again anytime you make a change in the library item such as even removing that word again and saving it, it's going to ask you to update it wherever it exists throughout your entire site. Close and sure enough, it just says Contact again.

So, I'll just save these pages one last time and then go ahead and preview this in a browser and you can see that my navigation is consistent across all of the pages. So, very powerful. It's similar to CSS you could say, in that CSS separates that style and really that style affects multiple pages. In this case, I have my content that exists in a separate file, that is on multiple pages, and the whole idea of changing it once will change it in all instances is really powerful and really makes my workflow efficient.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4 .


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Q: After creating the website as instructed in the tutorial, and uploading the site to the internet, the website does not seem to work for every browser. How can one make sure that the website will work for all browsers?
A: An important step when creating a website is to check for browser compatibility. To do so in Dreamweaver, go to Window > Results > Browser Compatibility. Click the Play icon in the left corner then go to Settings and target the browsers you¹re after. Then hit the Play button to run it and check the page that’s open. If there’s an issue, best-case scenario, it should show you what the issue is and link out to a solution. Worst case is that it’s a pretty unique issue, in which case further troubleshooting would be needed.

Q: The background image is tiling, instead of being one large image. How is this corrected in Dreamweaver?
A: This can be corrected by using a larger image, something around 1024x768 that will fill up most of the monitor space. The issue is that the background image is just too small. Note that tiling of the background image can be turned off in the CSS Panel, but that would only result in a single small image. So it’s better to just use a larger image for the background.
Q: When trying to import SWF content, I get a message: “This file is outside the root folder of site ‘xxxxx’ and may not be accessible when you publish the site.” What is causing this?
A: Make sure your SWF file (and all files you put on a page) are located in your local site. Basically make sure you set up a local site in the site panel. It will ask where to put your local site on your computer. Just make sure you SWF is in that folder and you won’t get that error.
 
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