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When you start working on a new project in Dreamweaver the very first thing you should do is define a site. The site management capabilities of Dreamweaver are tied directly into that site's definition. Without first defining a site Dreamweaver won't be able to resolve links, check related files or help you manage any of your assets. The best part about defining sites in Dreamweaver is how amazingly simple the process is. In fact, you only need to know two things to get started; where the local root directory is, and what you want to name the site.
So there are several different locations in Dreamweaver where you can define a site. Let's take a look at a few of them. You could go up to the menu and you could choose Site>New Site. You could go to the Application toolbar and choose Site>New Site, you could come over to the Files panel and you could grab the pull-down menu right here under Desktop and go to Manage Sites, which in turn allows you to create a new site. And probably my favorite is just in the Welcome Screen, I can go in the Welcome Screen where it says Create New, I can go right down here to new Dreamweaver Site.
Doesn't really matter where you select this from, whether it's the menu or the Application toolbar it doesn't matter. If you click on new Dreamweaver Site this is a dialog box that you're going to get, so really it doesn't matter where you start from. Now for the Site Name, the Site Name can be anything that you want it to be. So you're not restricted in the use of characters here, it just needs to be a unique name within your Dreamweaver sites. Usually it's something that means something to either you or your team, so in this case I'm just going to type in DW for Dreamweaver, CS6 and then do Essential Training.
So, DWCS6 Essential Training, I am using spaces here and capital letters, again it doesn't really matter, this name is relevant to you not so much Dreamweaver. Now the next thing that Dreamweaver wants to know is, where is the local root directory. Where you're going to be working off of? Now for the most part you're probably going to be working off your local computer. So it's looking for a folder on your hard drive and in some instances you might be working off of a development server that might not be local, so there are ways to handle that as well.
But for the most part you're probably going to be working off of your local hard drive. So what I'm going to do is for the Local Site Folder I'm going to click the Folder icon right here which allows me to browse out and find what I'm looking for. Now in this case I've copied my exercise files over to the Desktop, so that's where I'm going to start. I don't recommend that you keep your sites on your Desktop just because in terms of an organization it's really not the best way to do it, but for Exercise Files it just makes it easier for them to find. So I'm going to go out to Desktop, I'm going to find my Exercise Files and open that up.
Now for this exercise I'm going to go into Chapter_02 and I'm going to find 02_03. Now if you watch the movie on Exercise Files, you've already gone to this process at least once, but I'm betting there is a lot of you out there that kind of skipped that movie. So, essentially what we're doing is for each exercise I'm going out and I'm redefining our site, so that it's pointing to the current exercise, in this case it's 02_03. I'm going to double-click that folder to open it up. Now if you're on a Mac there is a little slide difference here, for example, it'll probably say choose down here rather than select on the PC it says Select.
It doesn't really matter, you just want to make sure that you're pointing to 02_03, I'm going to select that and for the most we are done. Now we do have some advanced options, if I click on Advanced Settings you can see there is Local Info, Cloaking, all sorts of stuff over here which we're going to talk about in a little bit more detail later on when we talk about managing sites. We also have the option at this point of going ahead and telling Dreamweaver where the remote servers for the site are, you could have testing servers, you could have QA servers and you can have the actual live remote server as well, you can have as many or as few of those as you need.
That information is not required right out of the gate, so if you're designing a site and you're not sure who's going to host it or where the remote server is going to be until little bit later on in the project, that's okay, Dreamweaver doesn't really care. The only two things that really needs from you right off the bat are the name of the site in a local site folder. So as soon as I click Save, what it's going to do is it's going to cache up, since it hasn't seen that directory before, it's going to scan through that directory, it's going to find all the images, all the files any content that might already be there. Now this is a brand-new site from scratch and you have nothing in the folder, it's going to be very quick-and-easy process.
But, if it's a site that you've been working on a little bit maybe it's assets that you've generated, maybe you have some text files in there that you need for your HTML files, maybe you have images that you've create, maybe some video content, some Flash, things like that, it's going to cache all that information up and it's going to show off the directory structure of your site right over here in the Files panel. So the Files panel now shows us all the files that we have in our site, all the directories and we have access now to all of that content inside that in one nice central location, and of course, that was done because we went ahead and defined the site.
Remember defining a site in Dreamweaver is a easy, but a very necessary step required at the beginning of every single new project that you work on. You can give Dreamweaver all of the site information at the very beginning of the project if you want or, like we're doing here, you can wait and define things like remote information at a later date. This is especially helpful if you don't have those settings when first starting out. Just be sure to make defining a site the very first step in any new Dreamweaver project.
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