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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 exercise we are going to discuss Design Notes, one of my favorite features of Dreamweaver. We will talk about how they can assist team members in communicating throughout the design process. They are also a great way of just passing information to yourself. Now, before I talk about Design Notes, we are going to go in and change a few site settings here as well. So I am going to go back to Site and choose Manage Sites, and Chapter 10, and I will choose Edit. Now, what I want to do is go down to my categories, and I am going to click on Design Notes. I am going to make sure that Maintain Design Notes is turned on, and I want to choose the Upload Design Notes for sharing. Again, if you are working in a collaborative environment, you are going to want to do that, because when you upload your files, your Design Notes will go along with it and they won't stay local.
If you are just writing notes to yourself and tracking the progress of files locally, then you don't want that turned on, but if you do want to share it with the rest of the team members, you are going to want to have Upload Design Notes for sharing. Now, the other thing that I want to talk about is the File View Column category over here on the left hand side; I am going to click on that. Now, what's really nice about this is it allows you to customize in your Site panel which columns of information that you will see. Notice that there are several built-in, and all of them are designed to show except for one, and that's the Design Notes. So I am going to click on Design Notes and from my Options down here, go ahead and Show, and it's going to show what files have Design Notes on them. So I will go ahead and click OK, and Done.
So it will re-cache our site and it's time to go in and take a look at Design Notes. Now, all my files are currently checked in, so if I right click the index file; and of course that's Ctrl+ Click on the Mac, and scroll down and choose Design Notes, you will notice that it says I can't add Design Notes for read-only files. Please check out the file before editing. So you can see that check in and check out; and we discussed that in the last exercise, are doing exactly what we expect it. So instead of working with them in Design Notes, I am going to hit Cancel, and I will have to go back up to my Files, and I am going to tell it to go ahead and check those files out so that I can work on them. Are you sure? Okay.
Now, this can take a long time if you have made a lot of changes to your site. If you haven't made any changes, it's really just sort of looking through my site right now to see if there are any newer files to remote or newer files in the local sites. So as soon as it determines what all my files are doing, it will check them all back out. So all of my files now have a checkmark beside them, meaning that they are all checked out and I can modify them any way I want. So I am going to go up to index and right click that and I will choose Design Notes. Now, we will work with the Basic Info first. What I really like about this is there is a Status pulldown menu, and I can say okay, this is revision1, and I can date stamp that, and I can say Team members, please check the links in this file.
Another thing I really like is this Show when file is opened, I love that. So I will go ahead and click OK, and because I turned my File View Columns on the Notes Column here is now displaying, and I can see this little word balloon and that lets me know that there is a Design Note associated with index. Now, because I checked Show when file is opened, if I were to double click this file to open it up, the first thing that happens is before I can even see the file, the Design Notes panel shows up and occupies pretty much the center of the screen. So it's pretty hard to ignore that. If somebody tells me they didn't see this, I probably wouldn't believe them. So I am going to go ahead and say well, let's move this to revision2, let's click that, and maybe underneath this I am going to say links are fine. Click OK, and then close the file.
Notice that I changed the Design Note and I didn't have to save the file. So I am going to bring my Files panel back up, and you don't have to open up the file in order to read the Design Note. On the PC, you can actually click on the icon to open up the Design Note, and on the Mac, it's still fairly easy. All you have to do is just Ctrl+Click or right click, if you have a two button mouse, and choose Design Notes, and it comes right back up again. So don't feel like you always have to open up the file in order to see the Design Notes. Now, to take Design Notes a step further, instead of just using the Basic Info tab, you can use the All Info tab. I really like this. this is really cool. You can create your own Design Notes. So there is not a category that really works for what your team is doing, you can go ahead and create your own category.
So I can click Plus to create a new Design Note, and I can type in owner and below that I can type in James, so I will just go ahead and set myself as the owner of this file, and I will click OK. You might be wondering, well, what good is doing that? Well, I am going to go back up the Site, and I will go to Manage Sites, and I will choose my Chapter 10 site and choose Edit. I can go back to my File View Columns right there, and what's really nice is that even though there are plenty of built-in columns, you can set your own, and you can associate them with one of the parameters from the Design Note.
So I can choose Add item, and I can say I want you to display the owner of that file, and I am going to associate it with the Design Note. Notice, it doesn't show you anything but the predefined, so you have to remember what you named it, and we will type in owner; that's what we named it. The Option, obviously I want that to Show, and we will go ahead and click OK. I will click Done. Now, if I widened my dialog box out just a little bit and scroll over; I am continuing to scroll over here, I can see that not only do I have the Checked Out By; and my name is appearing there, and that is an email link, I can click on it and it would launch my email address, but even better, it says Owner and it says James.
So if you have specific information that you want to pass back and forth using Design Notes, you can not only attach it to the Design Note, but you can modify Dreamweaver so that actually shows in the Site panel as just another column of information. Regardless of your working alone or as part of a team, Dreamweaver's reporting and collaborative tools can make you workflow a lot smoother. They can also help you detect and correct errors sooner, and make communication between team members much smoother.
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