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To get the most out of Dreamweaver CS4, it's important not only to master the application, but also to understand fundamental concepts of modern web design. James Williamson teaches just that in Dreamweaver CS4 Essential Training, covering everything from site structure to the value of standards-compliant XHTML and CSS. He shows how to create clean and accessible code in Dreamweaver, as well as how to publish compelling content. James demonstrates how to use a variety of techniques for adding interactivity, creating and styling forms and tables, and saving time with templates. He explains the benefits of using programs like Word and Photoshop to speed up workflow, and shows how to publish and manage finished sites. Exercise files accompany the course.
Frequently you'll be switching back and forth between tasks in Dreamweaver. Some days you might be doing heavy coding while other days you might be working with dynamic data or CSS layout. Often this will require using panels and tool bar layout that differ from each other significantly. Rather than having to constantly open and close panels and re- arrange them, we can use Workspaces to quickly switch between interface setups and even create our own when the presets don't suit our needs. The easiest ways is to access your Workspaces are to use the Workspace switcher right up here on the Application tool bar. If I click on this, I can see that I have a lot of presets, some for application developers, Classic view that helps mimic the last version of the Dreamweaver, the Coder view, the Designer view all switches are really fun stuff.
When working in one of these workspace layouts, you might do something to customize it little bit. So, for example here, I might decide that I want to float the CSS Style panel for whatever reason. And I can continue to work now and switch between workspaces and I switch back to Designer for example, notice that it sort of resets everything to where it supposed to be in Designer but here is something that's really curious about this. If I go back to Classic, it doesn't go to the default Classic view. It remembers that I have un-docked the CSS Styles panel when I'm in Classic.
Now this memory only persist for this session but this is really nice because if I go to Classic view and decide that there is just something that I don't like, for example if I don't like the split screen view or in this case the CSS Styles panel floating, I can set those out and then knowing that every time I go back to the Classic Workspace it remember this. Now what if I do something that I didn't mean to do? Maybe I'm going to un-dock the AP Elements as well and maybe dock those guys together and then I realize that's a mistake. Well here is something that you can do as well. I can go right back up to the Workspace switcher and and I choose to Reset the Classic Workspace. When I do that it goes right back to Dreamweaver's default version of the Classic Workspace. So it's really flexible and really customizable.
Speaking of customizing, you can create your own workspaces. Something that I do very frequently in Dreamweaver is run test on my site as I'm working. You notice if I go up to my Workspace switcher, there is really nothing here for testing so we are going to create our own. I'm going up to my menu and I'm going to go to Window and I'm going to go down and I want to find my Results grouping. And here we have Site Reports and all sorts of things that you can do when your checking and testing your sites. I'm going to go ahead and click on that. By default it sort of docks them below my Properties inspector and that causes again a lot of screen real estate to be taken up. So I'm going to grab the gray bar here and un-dock them and sort of float them out. Now when I float these guys out, maybe I want some of them but not all of them. For example maybe I don't need the Search and the Reference. I just want run some Reports. So I can grab those and un dock them and close them. So here we are customizing these a good bit.
So now all we have left in this sort of floating panel grouping it's going to be running Reports as Validation, Browser Compatibility, just stuff that we are going to using for testing. So I will go up to my Workspace switcher and I'm going to tell that I want to create a new Workspace. When I do that, I'm just going to go ahead and name this whatever I want, I'm going to name it Testing because that's what I'm going to using this for. So now that we have our new Workspace created, this is saved within Dreamweaver and every time I open up Dreamweaver, I'm going to have access to this workspace and that's really really nice. So now I can go up to my workspace switcher and I can go back to say Classic for a moment, to Reset Classic. I could go to Designer and notice that at the very top of this order is my custom workspaces. So your presets will be below your custom. So your custom Workspaces are always a little easier to find. Then I click on Testing and there go, we go right back to our Testing setup.
By using Workspaces, you can switch from task to task in Dreamweaver without spending a lot of time re-arranging panels and re-setting views. My advice is to take some time, once you start using Dreamweaver, notice how frequently you find yourself opening and closing certain panels. If you frequently open and close specific panels based on common task consider building a workspace around them so that you don't have to keep doing that on a day-to-day basis.
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