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Using server-side includes

From: Dreamweaver with PHP and MySQL

Video: Using server-side includes

Many PHP developers like to use a feature of PHP named Server Side Includes. This architecture lets you take reusable code that you're using in many PHP pages, and place them in files that are then included at runtime on the server in other pages. For this demonstration, I'll use a set of files in the folder 02_gettingstarted > 07_includes. I'll point my site at that root folder. I'll start with this file, index.php.

Using server-side includes

Many PHP developers like to use a feature of PHP named Server Side Includes. This architecture lets you take reusable code that you're using in many PHP pages, and place them in files that are then included at runtime on the server in other pages. For this demonstration, I'll use a set of files in the folder 02_gettingstarted > 07_includes. I'll point my site at that root folder. I'll start with this file, index.php.

Let's take a look at this page in an external browser. I'll copy the file over to the server directory, and show you that the index.php has a navigational toolbar on the left, a logo up at the top, and these two bits of content together make up the page header. This header is used in multiple pages in the web site. Similarly, at the bottom of the page, there is a footer that contains a number of hyperlinks and information. Once again, this content is repeated on multiple pages.

I'm going to show you how to take this reusable content, put it into include files, and then how to include them in multiple pages at runtime. First, I'll create the Include file. I'll go to my site header in the Files panel, right-click on it, and choose New Folder. I'll name the folder _includes. You don't need to include the underscore prefix on your folder names, but it's a common convention. After renaming the file, you might see it fly away, that is, disappear from the visible part of the screen.

If that happens, just scroll up, and find it again. Right-click on the new _includes folder, and choose New File, and name the new file header.php. Then double-click on the new file to open it. This will be included at runtime into an existing PHP page, which already has the main HTML page structure, so you don't need this basic HTML page structure in the included page. So I'll select and delete all of the existing code.

Then I'll go back to the homepage, index.php. I'll look at the page in Design View. I'm first going to take the content that includes the logo up in the upper-left. I'll click on the logo. Then I'll go to my tag selector, below the design area, and click on the div tag with an id of header. Then I'll go to Code View, and see what I've selected. Notice that that takes the div tag only with the id of header. What I really want is its wrapping tag, main header.

So I'll hold down the Ctrl key on Windows, or the Command key on Mac, and press the Open Bracket key right next to the letter P. That expands the selection outward to include another parent tag. I'll cut that content to the clipboard, and go to header.php, and then paste it. Then I'll press Enter, because I'm going to be taking one more div tag that I want to place below it. I'll go back to index.php. I'll select the div with an id of mainNav. You can do this in Code View by placing the cursor, and then pressing Ctrl or Command, plus the Bracket key again, or you can go to Design View, and use the tag selector.

Either way, you want to make sure that you've selected the entire div tag that contains all of the hyperlinks for the side navigation bar. Then once again, cut to the clipboard, go to the header, and paste. Then save your changes by pressing Ctrl+S on Windows, or Command+S on Mac. Then go back to index.php. Make sure you've left the cursor in the same location from where you cut that content. Then you'll add the PHP Include command. I'll go to the Insert panel, and select the PHP category, and I'll choose Include.

You can actually choose either Include or Require in this position. These two commands do pretty much the same thing. They include a single page. But the difference is that if the Include page encounters an error, it will output an error message but keep processing the page; whereas the Require command, if it encounters an error, it will terminate execution. I'll choose the Include command. This results in adding a PHP code block and the Include function. You pass into the Include function the name and location of the file you want to include.

You wrap this in quotes. So I'll type in a quote character, and then the name of the folder _includes/header.php. Then I'll close the string with a closing quote. Dreamweaver sees then that there are no syntax errors, and the error above the editing area goes away. I'll test my page in the external browser. I'll save the change, and preview in Firefox. This results in copying all of the files over to the server, including the new Include file.

Then when the page is requested from the browser, the PHP server opens index.php, sees the Include command, and puts the pages back together at runtime. The result is that the page looks exactly the same as it did before. Now let's create a footer file. I'll locate my _includes folder in the Files panel, and create a new file. I'll name the new file footer. php, and double-click to open it. I'll delete all of the code, and then return to index.php.

This time, I'll do my selections in Design View. I'll go to Design View, and scroll down to the bottom. I'll click anywhere in the footer area. Then in the tag selector, I'll choose div #footer. Then I'll go to Code View, and see what I've selected. I've correctly selected the entire footer. I'll cut it to the clipboard, go to footer.php, and paste, and save my changes. Then I'll go back to index.php. I'll go back to the Insert panel to the PHP category.

Once again, add an Include command. This time, I'll include the new footer.php file, using the string _includes/footer.php. This time, I'm going to test only inside Dreamweaver. I'll take a look at the page in Live View. This copies the files over to the testing server. I'll look at the page in Design View. I'll scroll down to the bottom, and see that my footer is still intact. Now I'll go to Code View, and show you that in Code View, I'm seeing the original PHP command.

But then, I'll switch to Live Code. That results in replacing the PHP Include command with the content that's being processed at the server and sent back to the browser. So that's a look at how to create includes. Once you've done this much, the next step will be to go through all of the other HTML pages and rename them with PHP extensions. For example, I'll exit Live Code and Live View, and then go to the Files panel, right- click on mission.htm and rename it.

I'll rename it with a .php extension. Dreamweaver will detect all of the references to that page throughout the web site, and let's you update them. I'll do the same thing with resources.htm and tours.htm. Then I'll go through those pages, and replace the literal headers and footers with the references to the included files. Once you've finished this process, your web site will be much more maintainable in the long term. If you need to make a change to the navigational toolbar or the footer, you make a change to those PHP files, and copy them to your server.

You don't need to do anything to the files that are including them at runtime.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Dreamweaver with PHP and MySQL
Dreamweaver with PHP and MySQL

61 video lessons · 37164 viewers

David Gassner
Author

 
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  1. 8m 48s
    1. Welcome
      1m 25s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      2m 17s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
    4. Understanding the differences between Dreamweaver CS5.5 and CS6
      3m 26s
  2. 19m 31s
    1. Understanding static vs. dynamic web pages
      4m 32s
    2. Selecting application and database servers
      6m 10s
    3. Introducing Apache, MySQL, and PHP
      6m 36s
    4. Installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP
      2m 13s
  3. 39m 34s
    1. Defining a Dreamweaver site
      3m 22s
    2. Configuring a PHP testing server
      7m 48s
    3. Creating and testing a PHP-based web page
      8m 25s
    4. Adding PHP commands with the Insert panel
      3m 14s
    5. Setting and outputting simple variables
      3m 56s
    6. Testing pages with Live view and Live Code view
      2m 9s
    7. Using server-side includes
      7m 50s
    8. Navigating included pages with the Code Navigator
      2m 50s
  4. 36m 37s
    1. Using code hinting with PHP variables
      5m 31s
    2. Understanding PHP custom classes
      6m 38s
    3. Adding Zend Framework to PHP on Windows
      5m 18s
    4. Adding Zend Framework to PHP on Mac
      4m 2s
    5. Using the Site-Specific Code Hints feature
      3m 43s
    6. Using Zend Framework classes with code hints
      7m 26s
    7. Managing reusable code with the Snippets panel
      3m 59s
  5. 18m 27s
    1. Understanding relational databases
      5m 26s
    2. Creating a MySQL database in phpMyAdmin
      4m 41s
    3. Adding data in phpMyAdmin
      2m 46s
    4. Importing a completed database from a script
      5m 34s
  6. 39m 35s
    1. Defining a Dreamweaver database connection
      5m 27s
    2. Building a simple recordset
      4m 31s
    3. Building an advanced recordset
      5m 1s
    4. Displaying data with repeating regions
      6m 4s
    5. Displaying data in a dynamic table
      4m 15s
    6. Formatting dynamic data
      4m 54s
    7. Displaying the total number of records
      2m 4s
    8. Limiting records with paging controls
      4m 5s
    9. Creating conditional regions
      3m 14s
  7. 43m 12s
    1. Building a simple data entry form
      5m 27s
    2. Handling form submissions with PHP
      5m 12s
    3. Creating a customer email form
      3m 9s
    4. Validating form controls with Spry
      7m 54s
    5. Populating a list control with dynamic data
      4m 50s
    6. Working with multiple checkbox controls
      8m 5s
    7. Sending email with Zend_Mail
      8m 35s
  8. 50m 51s
    1. Using data wizards
      6m 20s
    2. Formatting dates for SQL
      5m 27s
    3. Creating a custom data entry form
      4m 50s
    4. Preparing a database table for server behaviors
      3m 3s
    5. Using the Insert Record server behavior
      5m 42s
    6. Preparing an update form
      7m 6s
    7. Using the Update Form behavior
      5m 46s
    8. Creating list page links to edit and update data
      7m 3s
    9. Using the Delete Record server behavior
      5m 34s
  9. 14m 45s
    1. Creating a login form with a PHP server behavior
      6m 29s
    2. Protecting page access with PHP server behaviors
      4m 17s
    3. Logging out with a PHP server behavior
      3m 59s
  10. 22m 50s
    1. Configuring a remote server with FTP credentials
      4m 42s
    2. Synchronizing site assets with the remote server
      5m 27s
    3. Exporting the MySQL database to a script
      3m 8s
    4. Importing the MySQL database on a remote server
      2m 24s
    5. Configuring the site for the remote database
      7m 9s
  11. 52s
    1. Final thoughts
      52s

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