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Although using templates when building your site certainly speeds up development time, I feel that the most powerful feature of templates is the ease with which they allow you to make site- wide or area specific updates. When a template is modified and saved, Dreamweaver prompts you as to whether you would like to update files based off of that template. You can either update your file then or at any time by going to the Modify menu. So here we have our main_template.dwt opened and I want to scroll down and maybe we're gotten some information about the client that they want to start adding sort of a social media aspect to their site.
So I'm going to place my cursor right after the phone number here and hit Return to create a new paragraph. Now because the last paragraph that we were in had a class applied to it, this one does too. So before I begin typing, I'm going to go down to my Properties Inspector and I can see if I'm looking at the HTML properties that it says Class phone. Go all the way at top and I'm going to change it to None. That way our text is going sort of the default size. I'm then going to add the text 'Come hang with us' and then a colon.
And here I'm going to add an icon for Twitter. So I'm going to go over to my images folder and I'm going to scroll down until I find right there is my twitter.png. I'm just going to drag-and- drop that right after the us. We are going to alt text this as Follow us on Twitter and there is my Twitter icon. Now of course I could make a link out of that and link it to our Twitter feed if we had one.
So right now we'll just leave this one as a placeholder. So I'm going to go up here and go to File and choose Save and because I've modified my template, Dreamweaver is going to ask me, as soon as this gets done telling me what it always tells me about this particular template, it's going to ask me if I want to update pages based off this template and you can see we have quite a few pages based off this. Now at this point I can choose to Update or Don't Update. Now the Don't Update options sounds kind of weird but we're going to talk about that one in just a moment. For right now choose Update and then we get a log that tells us exactly what's happened.
You can either show the log or hide the log but if you show it, it'll tell you what's going to happen. It will tell you how many files were examined, how many were updated, and then it will also alert you if you had one or two that couldn't have been updated for whatever reason. I'm just going to go ahead and close and I want to open up one of those pages to see the change in action. So I'm going to go down to mission.htm, open that up, and indeed I can see the change. Okay well as we just saw we have the option of not updating the page as well. So what's all that about? Well let me go back to my template.
There are a couple of reasons that might drive not updating. Let me show you. I'm going to go ahead and select that Twitter icon and hit my Right-arrow and then Space to get myself a little bit of space there. Then I'm going to go over to my images directory and I'm going to find the Facebook icon. So facebok.png. I'm just going to drag it to that location. Be really careful about where you place that and for Alt text I'm going to say 'Be our friend.' You want to try to not sound too needy. Click OK and there's our Facebook icon, and of course, we could also link that to our Facebook account if we had one.
So I'm going to save this and now when this option comes up, instead of saying Update, I'm going to say Don't Update. All right so why would you ever do that? Well let's say you're working on a very large template that is been attached to, say, dozens of pages or even hundreds of pages if your site is big enough, maybe you're making incremental changes and you want to wait until the very, very end of your process to update all of your pages. Updating pages can take a while once you get into having double digits or even triple digits of pages. It could take Dreamweaver a while. And if every time you save you have hit Update, it's going to slow down that process.
So you could just keep working on your template until you run an update. You might also make a change to a template that might not need to be pushed out to the pages until a couple days or maybe another week has gone by. Maybe you go in your template and you change the monthly special but you don't really need to update the site until the following Monday. So you could make the change and then wait and push the change out at a later date. So how do you update a page after the fact? Well I'm going to go back to my Mission page and this work's whether I have the template open or not. You'll notice in the Mission page I no longer see the Facebook icon.
So I could go up to Modify > Templates > and there I have Update Current Page. I also have the option to Update Pages if I wanted to do an entire site-wide update. So I'm just going to say Update Current Page and notice now there's my Facebook icon. Again if I've gone to Modify > Templates > Update Pages, I have the option of updating the entire site or just the files that use a specific template. That way you have a little bit more control over which pages are being updated.
If I hit Start, I can see the log again and I've updated 8 files. So I'm going to go ahead and close that and save the file. So taking advantage of templates in Dreamweaver can dramatically speed up both development and, as we've seen here, site maintenance. Now obviously the success of your templates will be directly related to how well they are planned and structured at the very beginning of your development process. Based on that, I recommend taking extra time as you plan your template to map out a site structure and a workflow that allows your templates to be both powerful and flexible as you're building and updating the pages within your site.
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