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If you're like me, when you work on a site you're constantly creating new files and folders, renaming files, moving files around within your directory structure, all sorts of mayhem. Let's face it. No matter how well you plan your site, chances are you're going to modify the directory structure at one time or another. Now to make those kinds of changes to your site I strongly recommend using the Files panel, that you will find right over here. Instead of going out say to Windows Explorer or the Finder Panel in the Mac, the reason for that is the Files panel can be used for a lot of different things.
For example, you can create new files and folders with it, you can rename existing files, move files and folders, copy and paste files, everything that you can do in Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder. But the reason is not just because it's the most efficient way to make those changes rather than having to go back outside of the program, but there is a bigger reason, it's the safest way to make those changes. Now websites by their very nature, rely on understanding where other files are. When you place an image on the page or you link to another file, Dreamweaver places code on your page that tells the browser where it can find that particular file or resource to either resolve the link or display the image.
If you move a file and the link to it doesn't update along with it, those links are no longer going to work, or in the case of an image the image just doesn't display anymore. Now that's especially problematic for larger sites where dozens of pages might link to a single page. Making all those changes manually or making the changes outside of Dreamweaver would take a considerable amount of time. But if you remember to use the Files panel to make those changes, Dreamweaver will automatically update all the links on the page as well as any pages in your site that linked to it, and it saves you a tremendous amount of time.
So let's take a closer look at using the Files panel to manage files and folders in our site. Now I don't have it pointing to the right directory right now because I wanted to show you, for those of you that skipped the Exercise Files movie, how basically the process of redefining a site or pointing it to a new root directory works, and we are going to do this for every exercise within our title. So I am just going to right up here to the Files panel. In this pull-down menu I am going to double-click the name of our site. That's a very quick and easy way to bring the Site Setup dialog box back up. It's sort of one of those hidden features.
You can certainly go to Site, Manage Sites, click this site and then edit it, but this is just so much faster. Okay, so here's the site we defined in our last movie and it still pointing to the same folder. If I don't change the name but click the Browse icon, I can simply redirect it to a new folder, and in this case, I want to redirect it to, in the Chapter_02 directory, 02_04. So again, I am going to open that folder up, hit Select, Save it and it will re-cache it up and I'll see a new set of files show up over here in the Files panel.
So make sure that you are pointing to the 02_04 folder. So the first thing I want to show off about the Files panel in terms of the site management capabilities is the creation of new files and folders, and it's something that you are going to be doing a good bit. There are a lot of different ways to do it. You can come over and create new here, you can do it from the menu where you go to File>New, but you are also free to do it right here in the Files panel. If I go up to the root directory and I right-click it, notice that one of the options that I get is New File. If I go up and do that it creates a brand new untitled.html file in my directory structure.
And whatever folder you right-clicked that's the directory it's going to place that in. So I am just going to go ahead and give this a name. And so if you clicked off of it, just click back once and then one more time to highlight the text here, I am just going to title it test.html. Now notice it got the .html extension and that's because the preferences that I have set. Once I change my preferences later on, and I will show you how to do that in a movie in just a little bit, you will be able to get exactly the extension that you are looking for. Okay, so what's in this document? Well, if I open it up, nothing, absolutely nothing. It's just a blank empty untitled document. That's extremely helpful in terms of, if you build out wireframes and you don't have any files you need in each directory, you can just go ahead and start creating new files and naming them what they are supposed to be named in the directories and then open those files up and start working on them.
Now you can also delete files. So if I select this file and right-click it, I can go up to Edit and choose Delete. It's going to get rid of that file. It's going to ask me, because when you delete it, it really does delete it right from your hard drive and off it goes, don't need that anymore. Okay, now another thing that we can do is rename files, and one of the things I want to do here just so you can see this a little bit better, I am going to extend the width of my Files Panel out by grabbing that sort of side handle and extending it out, and then these columns here, I'm free to rearrange the size of those as well.
So I want to take the name and extend that so that you guys can see what it is that I am working on here. Okay, so student-spotlight, it's accurate, that is what is in that page. It's the current student-spotlight. However, remember what I said earlier about our file naming? That's really long. So I want to rename that to just spotlight. Well, it's very easy to do, all I have to do is click once to highlight the file and then click one more time. You don't want to click too fast or you will end up double-clicking it, and then that's going to highlight the name of that. And now I can just remove the student- and just save it as spotlight.
As soon as I'm done I can hit Return. That's going to change that. Now here is where the power of managing files and folders inside Dreamweaver starts to show up. As soon as I make a change to an existing file, especially one that has links to it or out from it, Dreamweaver is going to ask me, hey! Wait a second. The Index page was linked to this, do you want me to go ahead and update that link. Remember, that you link to the page before would have been student-spotlight, but now it's just spotlight. So I can say, yeah, yeah, sure go ahead and Update that, and Dreamweaver just saved me a tremendous amount of work.
I didn't have to open up the Index page and change all the links on the page that might linked to the student-spotlight, I just did it in one fell swoop. That's kind of simple because it's only one page, but imagine that you have a site with, oh, I don't know, 50 pages that linked to it. Imagine how much work you just saved yourself. I need to do a little bit of reorganization. For example, graphic-design and programs need to be in a subdirectory called Programs, and right now they are within the root directory. So I can use the Files panel to do that for me as well. I am going to come right up to the root folder, I am going to right-click that and tell it this time to create a New Folder.
So that's going to create a new directory within my site and I can just go ahead and call that one, programs. So I have a subdirectory that I need for that, now I need to move the files. Once again, it's really, really simple, I simply select the files that I need, in this case, graphic-design, and now I am going to hold down either the Ctrl or the Command key so I can select non-contiguous files, and I am going to select programs as well. So, both of those need to go in a subdirectory. So I have got both of those highlighted, I am just going to click-and-drag down into the programs directory and when I release, once again, I get this nice little message from Dreamweaver saying, wait a second. You are moving those files.
So any links to those files and any links that are currently in those files pointing to other files in my site aren't going to be broken if you move this. How about, do you want to update those links? And by clicking Update, once again, I saved myself a bunch of work. Now if I had gone out to the Finder Panel or the Windows Explorer panel and move those files around certainly I could have created the directory structure, I could have move the files in there, but the updating to links would not have occurred. So the next time I come back in Dreamweaver, I would open it up, I test my site out, and none of links would work, and now I would have like an afternoon's worth of work ahead of me.
So that's the main reason that I recommend using the Files panel when you're managing your files and folder inside Dreamweaver. Of course, that's not all the Files panel can do. Later on in this title we will discuss using the Files panel to upload files and manage site synchronization. For now however, concentrate on making sure that you practice discipline when needing to make changes on your site. Make these updates from within Dreamweaver using the Files panel and you will be confident in making those changes correctly and without breaking site functionality.
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