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Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4
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Improving data presentation


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Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4

with Paul Trani

Video: Improving data presentation

The whole goal of this website is to deliver information. This particular page throws a lot of content at the user and although this might work in print, on the web it really does seem overwhelming. I would rather give the user a page with collapsed content and allow them to select what they want to view next and luckily Dreamweaver gives me the ability to do this. So I'll close this browser and I'll go into Dreamweaver. First thing I'm going to do is just delete this About page text. And as I scroll down, you can see all this text but if I look at it more closely, it's really grouped in two sections.

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Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4
2h 41m Beginner Sep 16, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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
Subjects:
Web Web Design Projects
Software:
Dreamweaver
Author:
Paul Trani

Improving data presentation

The whole goal of this website is to deliver information. This particular page throws a lot of content at the user and although this might work in print, on the web it really does seem overwhelming. I would rather give the user a page with collapsed content and allow them to select what they want to view next and luckily Dreamweaver gives me the ability to do this. So I'll close this browser and I'll go into Dreamweaver. First thing I'm going to do is just delete this About page text. And as I scroll down, you can see all this text but if I look at it more closely, it's really grouped in two sections.

In fact, we have Published Writings and Photographs, we have Employments and then we have Travels. I really need a module that will contain these three areas and what I'm going to use is I'm going to use what's known as Spry. In Dreamweaver again, I have the Classic workspace selected and I'm going to go over to the Spry tab and really I'm given all of these elements and what Spry is, is it's a collection of technologies that add functionality to my webpage.

And in this particular case, what I want to add is this Spry Accordion. I'm going to mindful of where my cursor is and it's just going to be below that first paragraph and then I'll select Spry Accordion and it inserts it wherever my cursor is. All right, it's looking good so far. In fact, if I select that Spry Accordion, I can see my Properties panel tells me what it is. I can give it a unique name. I'll call it aboutAccordion. All right, looking good so far.

But really there is just some generic labels and generic content in here. So I really want to replace this. So I'm just going to select Label 1. I want to replace this text with this Published Writings and Photographs. So what I'll do is I'll select this text. I'll go to Edit and I'll cut it and then I'll just sort of highlight Label 1 and I'll paste the text I just cut and I'll paste it right in place. Kind of tough to see but I'll fix that later. Okay, the next step is the content.

Again, I'll just delete that text here and select that content for that area and move it right below where it needs to go. Again, I was just able to click-and -drag that content right in there. Next step is Employment, where I can select that text. Cut it again and right here for Label 2, I'll do a paste. All right, looking good so far, but notice there is no content area for me to paste this content into.

So all I really need to do is just roll over that bar and select this eyeball to expand that content area out. Again, it's just a matter of deleting that word Content 2 and taking this content, selecting it all and moving it right in there. You can see I'm nesting all of this content in there. So far so good. You will notice that I only have two panels and I really need three sections. Well luckily if I just select this Spry Accordion, I can go down to the Properties panel and I can add a panel.

In fact, here are my first two listed. What I can do is just hit this plus sign and that will add a third panel. Now, you can see that it adds it right in here and again, it's the same process of selecting say the word Travels, cutting that text, selecting Label 3 and then pasting it. Next step, Content 3, I'll just delete that word there and I want to select this content including the photo, and just click-and-drag it right in there.

So far so good. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and save this page. So I'm going to go to File > Save and this is what I'm given. It's asking me to copy these dependent files. In general, these files are being copied to my local site and I need to make sure I upload them to my server in order for this page to work because this is really not only the functionality to make this Accordion work, but as well as a cascading style sheet allowing me to customize the look of this as well.

So it's adding those two files in there and I'm really thankful that I'm given this dialog box, so I know to upload those and also know that I can actually change the look of this Accordion. And I'm going to select OK. So this file is saved now. I can go ahead and preview it in Firefox. It's my page,. Again, much more user-friendly. I can read this text here. I can click on Employment and get that information. Scroll through it and then I can click on Travels. Yeah, not bad but overall I'm not particularly fond of the color and this will often be the case.

You will want to customize this widget more to and sort of your webpage's look and feel. So that's what I want to do next and in order to do that, all I really need to do is go into my CSS Styles because just like that earlier dialog box said, it said that it was adding this SpryAccordion.css. And this is a Style Sheet that I can also customize. So really, it's just a matter of selecting the items I want to change and then changing them. Say for instance, the AccordionPanelTab, if I want to change that background color from that medium gray, which I really can't read the text at all, I can always change that to, for instance, black.

The tab for the open panel, I can change that. Since it is the open panel, maybe I want to change it to the gold or that orange color and that's looking better as well. These focused colors as well is when the user selects this accordion panel, it's going to change colors, if I want it to. But for the most part, I want to keep this the same, so I want the color to be black for the sort of closed panel tabs and then for the open panel tabs, I want to change it to that gold or that orange color.

Both the focused and these default accordion panel tabs are changed. And that's all I'm really focusing on. I do want you to also check out the content area because if you noticed when I viewed this earlier, I had to scroll for some of that content. Well, I can change the height as well. So if I want this just to be a little taller, in fact, let's make it 300 pixels, just type in 300. You can see it expanded this panel down and will enable me to view all of this content without scrolling. All right.

So, I have modified the SpryAccordion.css and I'll go to File and I'm going to go ahead and preview this in a browser and it's going to ask me, do I want to save the CSS that I just modified and I want to say Yes of course, because I just spent time working on it. Sure enough, this does match my webpage a lot better. I have this sort of orange color. Still there is that gray highlight which looks good. Employment, I can click on that. Change its colors as well. Travels and you can see that all my content fits in here a lot better than the previous size.

Again, I was able to quickly add this functionality and group this information together and it allows the user to select the content that they want to read without sort of throwing all of this text at them at once and as you have noticed it was really easy to implement using Dreamweaver and the Spry Accordion.

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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