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Covering diverse topics such as improving workflow and managing CSS styles, Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics is a hands-on course that teaches users how to move beyond standard, static websites. Instructor James Williamson explores how to increase productivity, interactivity, and accessibility with Dreamweaver. He also discusses how to extend the application's capabilities with XML and XSL. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
In this chapter, we will discuss Dreamweaver's collaborative and publishing tools. Now when you are developing websites, it's important to identify errors or problems early on and not towards the end of the development cycle. To assist you in making sure your sites are error-free, Dreamweaver has extensive reporting capabilities that can scan your site and report on potential problems at anytime in your development cycle. So if you would like to run some reports, you can use a panel that you have probably seen before but you might not have been using it to its fullest capacity. So let's go up to Window and let's choose Results. Window > Results. Now this is the dialog box that comes up anytime you do a Find and Replace or anytime Dreamweaver wants to report some results of what it has changed. It can even help you when you are looking through the Help files. Maybe you have asked for a reference and it brought this panel up as well. So at the top if this panel, we have a series of tabs or navigation bars, Results, Search, Reference, Validation, Browser Compatibility Check, Link Checker, Site Reports and FTP Log and it is all very descriptive and this is exactly what this panel allows us to do so we can check validation either site wide or one file at a time. We can check for browser compatibility checking. We can check to make sure that the links on the site are working, we can run the reports. This is a very, very powerful panel.
So what we want to talk about right now are running reports. So I am going to click on this Site Reports tab and that should bring that up. If you have been running any reports recently, you will actually see the results of it. So if you don't see anything there, you don't worry about that too much. Now make sure if you are following along the Exercise Files with me that you have defined a site for our Lesson 10 publishing and we don't really need to have any file open right now because you can run reports either on a folder or on a file or site-wide like we are going to do. When you are ready to run a report, click on the Play button on the left hand side that's on the upper left-hand corner and a dialog box is going to come up. Now notice that it is asking you, do you want us to report on the current local site? Do you want to run the report on the current document, the entire current local site, or a selected file in the site? And you would select files that are on the Site panel, in the Files panel, before you run this or you can browse to a specific folder if you are looking for just doing a sub- directory. Well, let's go ahead and say Entire current local site.
Now when you are running a report, you have got two types of reports. You have Workflow and you have HTML. Now, Workflow reports can help you if you are in a collaborative environment working with a team. We are going to cover check-in and check-out a little bit later on but you can run reports to see which files have been checked out by which individuals. We can run a report on design notes see which have files have design notes attached to them. That's another topic that we will cover a little bit later in this chapter and you can see which files have been recently modified. So, you can see if somebody has updated a file that you weren't really aware of. Now, HTML reports is where we are going to concentrate in this exercise. You can search for combinable nested font tags, accessibility, missing alt text, redundant nested tags, removable empty tags and untitled document. Now, you can tell Dreamweaver has been doing this for a while because you should not be using font tags at all, much less combinable nested font tags but if you have some older legacy code, Dreamweaver could report on that for you.
Now, some of these reports have very detailed settings and I am going to click the checkbox for Accessibility. Now, if you click the checkbox for Accessibility, you are going to get a Report Settings option down at the bottom of the Reports dialog box. So, go ahead and click Report Settings and you can see for accessibility, Dreamweaver offers a very extensive list of accessibility checks. If Section 508 Accessibility is very important to you, you can pull that menu down and notice all the different things that can it report on. You can pick and choose what you want. You do not have to get report with all this back. So, I could come in and say well, I am not really working on I-frames, so I am going to disable that. And I am not working with a frame, so I am going to disable that. And if I ran this report with Accessibility turned on, it would not check for those two things. So you can be very selective about what the accessibility test checks for and what it doesn't. Now this is a lot to go through.
You have got 508 compatibility, you have got the W3CWCAG Accessibility tests. So you have got a lot of things going on here. Let's say you go through and you enable a lot of settings and you disable some settings. You do not want to have to do this every single time. Certain sites might actually need stricter accessibility checking than others. So, what do you do? Well, we can come right over here and we can save these settings. So, if I choose Save Settings, it will go ahead and save them for the next time I run this report. So, feel free to go and modify those and choose exactly the settings that you want and you can click Save Settings and it will remember them the next time you run this report. I am going to choose Cancel and I am not going to do an accessibility test. There is a lot of stuff going on there that we don't need to see but I am going to check for Missing Alt Text and Untitled Documents. So those are two things that can really drive you crazy.
You have gone through and designed your whole site and you have placed all your images on the page, you have saved all your documents, you've uploaded and next thing you know, you are looking through it and you have a few files that say Untitled Document, you have some images missing, and alt text, and you don't catch it until after you have published the site. So running this type of report during the development process is going to save you a lot of time. So I am going to choose Run and it will run the report and it is going to scan through all your files, so depending upon how large your site is, this could be a very quick function or it could take a while. If you have a really huge site, you might want to consider running the reports on sub-directories at a time instead of trying the whole thing. Well, my report is finished and I can see that I have three problems. about.htm is missing in Alt Attribute and then the bios page for Ben and the bios page for William are all Untitled Documents. It even reports back to me which line the problems are on.
Now I don't have these documents open. So I can make a note of these and then go back and fix them later on. As a matter of fact, if I am working in a collaborative environment, I actually have a little disk icon and that will allow me to save this report as a text file. So if I get a lot of reports back and I have got some team members that I want to work on, I could save this report, I could print that out or email to him and say please fix these items. Of course, the Site Report dialog box does a lot more than this. I can actually use this dialog box to open up these files and fix the problem. So, if I go to about.htm and I double click that, not only is it going to open up the file but notice where it opens it up to. So I now have- and I am going to move my Results panel down so I can see what's going on here. It actually opens up in split screen view and I am on line 30 and it is actually highlighting the image that's missing the Alt attributes. If I scroll up, I can see that it has selected this image and now I can go ahead and Alt tag this. I am going to go ahead and type in cheek chastain gallery and hit Enter. All right, fantastic.
Now, unfortunately, it doesn't remove it from the list but if you are working sequentially, just go right on down the list. Now I will go ahead and do the same thing for Ben. I will double click that. It opens up Ben and notice that it opens up the split screen view and I have got the title highlighted so I can just click it right there and type in cheek chastain bios and then I type in Ben. I don't feel like typing all that again so I will copy that so I can fix Williams. I will double click on Williams, it opens it up and I will just paste that in and we will just highlight Ben and change that to William.
Okay, I'll go up to File. I'll do a Save All and I'll do a Close All and that should fix my problem. Now, if you are going to do something like this, you might as well go ahead and run the report again. Missing Alt Text, Untitled Documents, Entire current local site. Select Run. It will run through and this time hopefully, it won't find any problems. It's still going and now we know that everything is fine. No big issues. The Results panel offers us more functionality than this and in the next exercise, we are going to take a look at another report called Link Checker that can save us a tremendous amount of time as well.
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