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Discover how to build web sites, prototypes, and more in this course on Adobe Dreamweaver CS6. Author James Williamson shows designers how to take control of their site by properly naming and structuring files and folders; how to create new documents and web pages from scratch or with starter pages; and how to add content such as text, images, tables, and links. James also provides a background on the languages that power projects built in Dreamweaver—HTML and CSS—and introduces the programming features in the application, for developers who want to dig right into the code. The last chapter shows how to finesse your project with interactive content such as CSS3 transitions and Spry widgets.
Based on the method that you use for creating new documents, Dreamweaver often makes a lot of the key decisions for you as it creates the new page. Whenever you start a new project, or when your page requirements in your site changes, it's a good idea to take a few moments to set up your new document preferences so that Dreamweaver will create new pages to your proper specification. So to do that, I'm just going to open up my Dreamweaver Preferences. You can find those on the PC, by going to Edit>Preferences, and of course on the Mac you'll go to Dreamweaver>Preferences.
Now, what I'm looking for this time is the New Document category, right over here on the left-hand side. We don't have very many choices here, but the choices that we do have are incredibly important. So the first thing that it's going to ask me is what default document type do I want? And if I need something other than HTML, for example, if I'm working on a ColdFusion site, I choose ColdFusion from this. For what we're doing in this course of course we're going to choose HTML. Now, the next thing it wants to know is, okay, if I create a document and I save it, what default extension do I want? Now, I can choose .htm or .html.
For the most part it doesn't really matter. It's a tomato, tomato type deal. I actually really like the .htm extension. Again, it doesn't matter, it's a personal preference. The only time you're really going to see that happen is when you go over to the Files panel and you right-click and you choose to create a new file, then Dreamweaver is going to go ahead and create a file and save it all at the same time for you and it's going to give it that extension. Also, you'll see that when you save a file, you'll see that default extension come up in the Save a File dialog box. Now, the next choice we have here is Default Document Type, and this is a very important choice.
Essentially it tells the browser which version of HTML you're using and basically, how you're serving that content. So it explains to that particular user agent how it should parse the code. So I'm going to grab the pull-down menu here. Again, we see all the choices that we saw in the previous movie's dialog box. We can choose everything from HTML 4 to HTML 5 and XHTML 1.0, all the way upto XHTML Mobile 1.0. Unless you have a very compelling reason to use something else, most people are using either HTML 4.0 Transitional, XHTML 1.0 Transitional, or the new standard, which is HTML 5.
If you just browse, go to Google and browse for doctype declaration history or something like that, you're going to read about how the doctype declaration is kind of not important as you'd like to think or some people would make you believe. There is absolutely no benefit gained by choosing one over the other for the most part. The reason I like HTML 5, it's not that all of a sudden it becomes this HTML 5 document with magical properties, it's just the most simple, basic doctype declaration there is.
It essentially tells the browser this is an HTML document. It actually doesn't say anything about the version number, and so basically what your browser is going to do is it's going to use the parsing regulations and rules for HTML to parse the document. It's also going to make sure it triggers standards mode instead of quirks mode, so everything renders and parses correctly. All the other ones, they're kind of just fluff to be quite honest with you. For example, the XHTML Transitional one, when most people choose that, they think they're severing their pages XHTML, but they're really not, they're serving it as HTML, but just passing in an XHTML document type declaration.
So again, lot of history to that, go read up about it, there's lot of blog postings and stuff out there where you can read about the doctype declaration. But for our pages, I'm just going to set mine to HTML 5. The next thing it's going to ask is about the default encoding. Now, for the most part the default choice here, UTF-8, is sort of an adopted standard for English speaking languages, but you do have other options. Now, I doubt if you're living in an English speaking country that you'll ever really need to worry about any of the other encoding options, but of course there are people all around the world designing websites.
So Adobe gives you a lot of choices here when choosing your encoding. So I'm going to stick with the UTF-8 encoding. And I've a little checkbox there that says Use when opening existing files that don't specify an encoding. So if you're opening up an HTML file or some other document from another location, if it doesn't specify an encoding, that's what you're going to tell it to use when opening and parsing that file. Just below that we have a little checkbox right here that says Show New Document dialog box on Ctrl+N. So you remember the keyboard shortcut that we talked about earlier, the Cmd+ or Ctrl+N for creating a New Document? You can choose to either have the New Document dialog box, where you get to make all these choices again, come up, or if you want to just stick to these choices, you can deselect that, and now whenever I do my keyboard shortcut of Cmd+N or Ctrl+N, I'm just going to click OK, and show you guys this.
So now I'm just going to do Ctrl+N on the PC, Cmd+N on the Mac. I get a new document that opens up, and notice that now it's using my new document's preferences that I just set instead of the XHTML 1.0, which was the preference before. So now I'm getting exactly what I want. So if you go ahead and set these preferences at the start of each one of your projects, you can really speed up your new document creation by having Dreamweaver create new documents that fit your specifications without really requiring your input or having you go through a lot of dialog boxes.
If you switch projects, or if something within your project changes in terms of standards, it's equally as easy to make few minor changes to your preferences to ensure that Dreamweaver is creating documents exactly the way that you need it to.
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