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James Williamson provides a practical introduction to Adobe's do-it-all web design and development tool in Dreamweaver CS4 Getting Started. He shows how to generate standards-compliant XHTML and CSS, as well as rock-solid PHP, ColdFusion, ASP, AJAX, and more, using Dreamweaver's developer-friendly Code view and WYSIWYG Design view. From creating basic page layouts to embedding multimedia, James shares techniques for publishing a finished site quickly and efficiently. Example files accompany the course.
One of the benefits of using Dreamweaver is the integration it has with other Creative Suite programs and the consistent user experience it gives as being part of the Creative Suite. If you have never used Dreamweaver before but have used other Adobe products, the consistent Adobe OWL, or OS Widget Library, interface means that you won't have to spend a lot of time finding your way around and that you already know how panels and menus operate. The powerful integration Dreamweaver has with other Adobe products like Photoshop, Fireworks, and Flash, means that you spend less time creating your content and more time on being creative with your content.
So let's take a look at Dreamweaver's Creative Suite integration by importing a Photoshop file directly into our page. So here we have our index.html file open and I need a banner graphic up top. I have some Photoshop files that are saved as banner graphics, but I haven't exported or optimized any of those graphics out as JPEG, GIFs or PNG files yet. That's not a concern. I can import the Photoshop files directly into Dreamweaver and Dreamweaver handles the entire workflow process for me. So I am going to go up to my Menu and choose Insert > Image. Now, there are other ways to do this. I could drag and drop something from the Files or Assets panel or even use the Insert panel for this. But using this allows me to browse. I am going to go right into my source directory and find my home_banner.psd.
Now, soon as I do that and click OK, Dreamweaver begins the integrated workflow process. The first thing that it's asking me to do is optimize my graphic. Now, I can choose between JPEG, GIF and PNG for my file format and notice that I have another tab called File, which allows me to resize the graphic if I wanted to make it a little bit smaller. Well, I am just going to leave everything at their default, because it's exactly the size that I need, and JPEG would indeed be the best choice for this particular graphic. Now when I click OK, Dreamweaver is going to prompt me to save this graphic, because we don't have an existing JPEG right now. So I am going to open up my Images directory, and I will just leave it as home_banner and we will save it.
Now, at this point it's about to place it on the page, so it needs a little bit of Alt text, so I am just going to call it home banner. And there is my image. Now, it looks a little different from other images that I have placed on the page. This workflow creates what's called a Smart Object. You can see in the upper left-hand corner of the graphic, we have a little badge up there. That badge indicates that this is a Smart Object, and currently the nice little green symbol that we are seeing there tells us the source Photoshop file and the created JPEG are currently in sync. Well, this workflow also allows us to update the graphic from the source file at any time. So with the graphic selected, I am going to go down to my Properties inspector, and I am going to click edit the graphic in the original program, which in this case is Photoshop.
When I click that, it switches immediately over to Photoshop and opens up the graphic. Here we have our layered Photoshop file. So if I want to make some changes to this, I am free to make those changes now. I am going to turn on visibility for a folder called Interstate Sign, and that's going to add a little accent to the image that we had forgotten to add earlier. So I am just going to save this and then go back into Dreamweaver. As soon as I go back into Dreamweaver, take a look at the Smart Object badge. It now tells me that the original asset has been modified, that we are not in sync anymore. So if I right-click and choose Update From Original, it goes in, overwrites the existing JPEG, and creates a new one. Notice that this one has the Interstate Sign as part of our graphic now.
Now, that's not the only integrated workflow with Photoshop; there is another way to bring graphics into Dreamweaver from Photoshop as well. So I am going to switch over to Photoshop, and I will change files over to the surf_sub_gear2. Now here we have a mock up of an entire page. Maybe you just want a little portion of that. Maybe you want one individual graphic to place on the page. Well, in the past, we have had to crop this down or use a slicing tool to slice it up and export out separate graphics. So all I need to do is make a selection, and I will just click and drag around the graphic that I want. At this point, all I need to do is literally copy and paste from Photoshop into Dreamweaver. So I am going to do a Copy Merged, so I get everything from all the different layers.
I move back into Dreamweaver and I will place my cursor exactly where I want it. Once I have my cursor exactly where I want it, I'm just going to go to Edit and chose Paste and it walks me through the document creation process again. So again, I am just going to accept the defaults, click OK, and I will save the graphic into my Images directory. We'll give it a little bit of Alt text, click OK, and there is our graphic. Now, notice that this does not create a Smart Object; I do not have the sync badge in the upper left-hand corner. However, I can choose to edit the original. There is a link back to the original file and if I click on this, it will open up that original file. I can now choose to move the selection around, copy a new one and paste it and it would update it. So it's not quite the same workflow as using a Smart Object, but it is another workflow that we can use to get images from Photoshop into Dreamweaver.
The really impressive thing about Adobe CS Integration is the seamless workflows that it creates. Instead of spending time in Photoshop trying to remember where to export the file, which file type to use, and if it's the right size or not, you can just drop the layered file directly into Dreamweaver and it handles the rest for you. Even better, with one click, you return to Photoshop, edit the file, and that speeds up the process of making edits outside of Dreamweaver. Of course, this is just one example of CS integration between Dreamweaver and other Adobe programs. There are many more, and all are designed to create efficient, seamless workflows.
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