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Integrating external variables into your workflow

From: Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

Video: Integrating external variables into your workflow

We are back in our monthly special ad. We have automated the update process by adding variables to the file and what we are going to look at in this movie is externalizing those variables so that they are actually in an external text file rather than inside the Photoshop file which requires a lot more manual labor. And to do that we need to very quickly review our variables. So I am going to go up to Image and Variables and we'll hit our Data Sets and just to review we have our first variable, which is artistName. Then we have benBack, danBack and jenBack, which refer to their background, and then we have a new background, which if you remember is an empty layer that allows us to import other JPEGs or files in that place. So we have got that established. I am just going to hit Cancel here. So what I am going to do is I am going to launch a text editor and regardless of what platform you are on, you can just launch a real basic text editor whether it's NotePad or TextEdit or WordPad, whatever you like to use it's fine. We need to talk about the format of actually setting up these variables. Now the first row is going to be the variable names themselves. So the first row we are going to declare our variable names and we are going to use the exact same name, exact same capitalization that we used earlier and these variable files are just raw text files, but they can also be comma and tab delimited files. So if you have a way of automating that process, you can add another degree of automation to this document creation inside of Photoshop.

Integrating external variables into your workflow

We are back in our monthly special ad. We have automated the update process by adding variables to the file and what we are going to look at in this movie is externalizing those variables so that they are actually in an external text file rather than inside the Photoshop file which requires a lot more manual labor. And to do that we need to very quickly review our variables. So I am going to go up to Image and Variables and we'll hit our Data Sets and just to review we have our first variable, which is artistName. Then we have benBack, danBack and jenBack, which refer to their background, and then we have a new background, which if you remember is an empty layer that allows us to import other JPEGs or files in that place. So we have got that established. I am just going to hit Cancel here. So what I am going to do is I am going to launch a text editor and regardless of what platform you are on, you can just launch a real basic text editor whether it's NotePad or TextEdit or WordPad, whatever you like to use it's fine. We need to talk about the format of actually setting up these variables. Now the first row is going to be the variable names themselves. So the first row we are going to declare our variable names and we are going to use the exact same name, exact same capitalization that we used earlier and these variable files are just raw text files, but they can also be comma and tab delimited files. So if you have a way of automating that process, you can add another degree of automation to this document creation inside of Photoshop.

So our first variable of course is artistName and I am just going to use a comma to separate these out and I am going to totally ignore TextEdit telling me I have just misspelled something. Then we are going to say benBack, danBack, jenBack and our last variable, which is newBackground. Now after I am done defining the variable names, I am going to hit Return or Enter to go down to the next line. That hard return that Photoshop know that you are done defining the variables and you are about to pass in the values of those variables. So in our next line, we will go in the same order. Our artistName is going to be Josh Cavalier, he is our new artist, and I will type in comma. We'll pass in false for benBack, false for danBack and false for jenBack. Now that's a Boolean value.

So you want to make sure that you don't capitalize true or don't capitalize false; you just want to pass it along just the way that we have got it here. And for newBackground, I am going to type in a document relative path to the image that I want to insert and I am going to type in ../_images/typo_ad.jpg and it's a background that we created earlier or that had been created earlier for us. Now I want to take just a second here to explain the document relative path that I just typed in. The path of the image has to be relative to the text file itself. So relationship between the Photoshop file and the file you are bringing in isn't as important as the relationship between where this text file is going to be saved. So with the ../ that tells us that we are going to save this text file in a folder that is on the root right next to the images folder.

So if I wanted to, I could pass along multiple artists. We are just going to pass along Josh, but I could add two, three, four, five, six, however many artists that I want to add here. So I am going to go up and save this file and I am going to save it as a text file and I am going to place it in my Desktop, Exercise Files, Chapter 1 and I am looking in the starting files and it's not really an XML file, but I will save it in the XML folder because that's a good place for me to store any text files that I might be parsing or using later on.

So I am going to actually save this as imageData.txt. It's just a text file, so I am just going to call it imageData. You could use any name you want to; the name really isn't important there. So we will hit Save and I can now go ahead and close that file out. Of course, you can open up text files in Dreamweaver. So feel free to actually edit these in Dreamweaver just like any other text file if you would like to. Okay, so now once I go back into Photoshop, notice that I can go up to Image and go to my variables and define a new dataset from this external file. You have the option of replacing the existing data sets or just appending to them and we don't want to really replace the other ones, so we are going to append to it. So I am going to choose Import and I am going to browse out to that XML folder and find my imageData.txt file. I will load that up and there are a couple of things here that we need to be aware of.

First thing is use first column for data set names. That's actually going to grab the first value out of the first column, which is not going to be artist name. It will be Josh Cavalier, the artist's name, and that will be the name of the data set which is exactly what I want and I can choose to either replace the existing data sets or not. And I don't want to replace them; I just want to append them. So I will click OK. So now if I look at my data sets in addition to Jennifer Loman, Dan Keys and Ben Wilson, I can see that I have the artist Josh Cavalier. I click on Josh Cavalier's name and preview it. You see that not only is it bringing in the name Josh Cavalier and turning the visibility of the other layers on and off, but it's actually importing in that typo_ad.jpg as a background. So I will click OK and anytime I want to, I can go up to Image > Apply Data Set and I will click the Josh Cavalier data set and I will click Apply. And if you remember from the previous exercise, we can just do a Select All and remember we want to do a Copy Merge, not a Copy because we want to get all the layers. And then if I go back into Dreamweaver, I can now select this graphic, paste it in and there is my variable data added directly on the page using the same optimization settings that we used for the original. So we'll go ahead and hit Save and that's the end of Chapter 1.

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This video is part of

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Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics

102 video lessons · 38891 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      46s
  2. 1h 23m
    1. Reviewing the Coding toolbar
      8m 42s
    2. Customizing the Coding toolbar
      9m 52s
    3. Taking advantage of Code Hinting
      7m 20s
    4. Using snippets and shortcuts
      11m 10s
    5. Using the Quick Tag Editor
      5m 18s
    6. Using Find and Replace
      9m 50s
    7. Regular expressions
      5m 39s
    8. Using Bridge with Dreamweaver CS3
      8m 28s
    9. Round-trip editing with Photoshop CS3
      3m 40s
    10. Leveraging image variables in Photoshop CS3
      7m 32s
    11. Integrating external variables into your workflow
      6m 16s
  3. 37m 26s
    1. Understanding the CSS Styles panel
      7m 59s
    2. Understanding the Cascade
      5m 50s
    3. Understanding Inheritance
      5m 8s
    4. Understanding Specificity
      7m 5s
    5. Managing CSS styles
      5m 4s
    6. Using Design-Time style sheets
      6m 20s
  4. 2h 19m
    1. Using the new CSS template pages
      5m 59s
    2. Understanding DIV tag structure and layout
      12m 0s
    3. Understanding the CSS box model
      10m 0s
    4. Using absolute and relative positioning
      8m 35s
    5. Understanding floating elements
      7m 9s
    6. Clearing floats
      7m 19s
    7. Using floats to control page layout
      3m 45s
    8. Building structure and assigning IDs
      10m 19s
    9. Applying basic styling to structured content
      11m 14s
    10. Positioning container elements
      11m 4s
    11. Enhancing layouts with background graphics
      11m 48s
    12. Creating faux columns with background graphics
      8m 55s
    13. Creating rounded corners with background graphics
      9m 17s
    14. Building navigation with CSS
      16m 57s
    15. Using Dreamweaver's Browser Check feature
      5m 31s
  5. 53m 22s
    1. Creating properly structured forms
      6m 30s
    2. Creating accessible forms
      6m 41s
    3. Using CSS to lay out form structure
      7m 40s
    4. Creating vertical columns for form elements
      7m 48s
    5. Adding user feedback
      5m 52s
    6. Applying advanced styling to forms
      8m 11s
    7. Client-side form validation
      4m 17s
    8. Validating forms with the Spry Validation tools
      6m 23s
  6. 1h 20m
    1. Understanding the Spry framework
      3m 43s
    2. Defining a data source for use in Spry
      3m 56s
    3. Creating a Spry table
      8m 8s
    4. Using the Spry widgets
      8m 11s
    5. Connecting various data sets
      4m 50s
    6. Understanding Spry widget structures
      7m 1s
    7. Applying custom styles to Spry widgets
      6m 24s
    8. Applying additional custom styles to Spry widgets
      8m 46s
    9. Controlling Spry widget behaviors with JavaScript
      6m 0s
    10. Controlling Spry widget animations with JavaScript
      9m 31s
    11. Creating effects with Spry behaviors
      4m 42s
    12. Hand-coding Spry
      9m 11s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Creating a base template
      8m 6s
    2. Creating editable attributes
      6m 26s
    3. Creating a new page from a template
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a template to an existing page
      4m 36s
    5. Creating nested templates
      5m 24s
    6. Using repeating regions
      6m 34s
    7. Creating editable and non-editable optional regions
      6m 0s
    8. Using template parameters
      7m 26s
    9. Using template expressions
      9m 59s
    10. Using conditional template expressions
      8m 54s
  8. 54m 40s
    1. Examining XML structure
      2m 44s
    2. Creating an XML document
      9m 9s
    3. Using the CDATA structure
      5m 7s
    4. Creating an XSLT file
      4m 33s
    5. Binding data from an XML to an XSLT document
      5m 6s
    6. Inserting repeating regions into an XSL document
      5m 16s
    7. Creating a client-side XSL transformation
      2m 52s
    8. Styling a remote RSS feed
      7m 29s
    9. Creating a server-side XSL transformation
      5m 31s
    10. Writing XSL expressions
      6m 53s
  9. 1h 2m
    1. Overview of building dynamic websites
      1m 35s
    2. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Mac
      3m 22s
    3. Installing PHP, MySQL, and Apache on Windows
      3m 54s
    4. Creating a MySQL database
      3m 16s
    5. Defining a testing server and database bindings
      6m 14s
    6. Creating a database recordset
      4m 35s
    7. Adding dynamic content to the page
      5m 14s
    8. Creating repeating regions of dynamic content
      7m 6s
    9. Filtering database records
      7m 39s
    10. Using the Live Preview
      10m 22s
    11. Passing URL parameters
      4m 23s
    12. Dynamically generating links
      5m 18s
  10. 57m 9s
    1. Understanding behaviors
      5m 16s
    2. Installing additional behaviors
      3m 39s
    3. Planning to create a custom behavior
      3m 42s
    4. Examining existing behaviors
      5m 32s
    5. Building a behavior function
      7m 23s
    6. Creating an Action file
      6m 48s
    7. Enabling behavior functions
      9m 1s
    8. Initializing the user interface for a behavior
      3m 9s
    9. Loading behaviors in Dreamweaver
      6m 47s
    10. Testing and debugging behaviors
      5m 52s
  11. 27m 12s
    1. Running reports
      7m 41s
    2. Checking and validating links
      3m 40s
    3. Using cloaking
      5m 42s
    4. Using Check In/Check Out
      4m 3s
    5. Using Design Notes
      6m 6s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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