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To get the most out of Dreamweaver CS4, it's important not only to master the application, but also to understand fundamental concepts of modern web design. James Williamson teaches just that in Dreamweaver CS4 Essential Training, covering everything from site structure to the value of standards-compliant XHTML and CSS. He shows how to create clean and accessible code in Dreamweaver, as well as how to publish compelling content. James demonstrates how to use a variety of techniques for adding interactivity, creating and styling forms and tables, and saving time with templates. He explains the benefits of using programs like Word and Photoshop to speed up workflow, and shows how to publish and manage finished sites. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter we'll take a closer look at the Dreamweaver interface before we move on to creating our groundswell site. Knowing where things located and how they worked within Dreamweaver will really pay off in creating efficient workflows and doing things the right way. The first interface element we'll take a look at it is the welcome screen. When you open up Dreamweaver the welcome screen shows up front and center, located where you would normally see an open file. Opening a file will replace the welcome screen, but closing the file will bring it right back.
Let's take a look at all the things that the welcome screen allows us to ask us. The first thing you notice the in the left- hand column you have Open a Recent Item. What this is is a list that's populated by all the files that you've been recently working on. For example, if I click on lifestyle journal, it takes me directly to my journal page, so I can continue working on that. I'll just go ahead and close that again. If you haven't worked on any files at all, that list will be empty and the only thing you'll see is this open directory. Now the open directory allows you to browse throughout your site or any folder in your site for a specific file if it's one that you haven't been recently working on. So that nice too.
The middle column allows us to create new files and notice that we have a full listing of different file types. So HTML, we have a few dynamic file types like Cold Fusion, PHP and ASP, CSS. So some these technologies might not mean anything to you right now, but the more you design websites, the more that you're likely to use these types of files and being able to create one by just clicking on a single icon, like this, gives us a brand-new page is a real timesaver. The pages are created to the specifications that are in your Dreamweaver preferences. So you'll notice we didn't get any type of a dialog box asking us for any settings for our HTML file.
On the right-hand side we have a column that says Top Features and this is a really nice little training component of Dreamweaver. If you want to learn more about a new features such as Code Navigator you can simply click on this link. In addition to links for those specific videos, if you look in the lower left corner of the welcome screen, we have Getting Started New Features, Resources. This will take us online to Adobe's website to open a more robust help file, which is really nice. Finally in the lower right-hand corner we have this really neat little branding area. What this is is if you have an Internet connection this will go out to Adobe's website and it'll let you know if there any updates available for Dreamweaver CS4, new articles on Adobe's website or things that might interest people that use Dreamweaver. So this is a really need little feature that every time you open up Dreamweaver, you might want to take a look at it and see if there's anything new going on.
If you don't like the welcome screen, and for life of me I can't imagine anybody that wouldn't want to use this but if you just think it's cluttering up your workspace, you can click on the Don't show again. Now what that means is the next time you open up Dreamweaver, the welcome screen will not be here. If you do that by mistake, and you want to bring it back, you simply go to your preferences and here I'm going to Edit > Preferences. On the Mac you go to Dreamweaver > Preferences. If I go to the General category, which is right up top there's a checkbox that says No, no. I do want to show the welcome screen and it would bring it back the next time you open up Dreamweaver.
I love how the welcome screen unobtrusively gives me access to recently opened files, allows me to create new files with a single click and gives me access to training videos on new features in CS4. I also like how any updates or new articles from Adobe.com will appear when you have Internet connectivity. I think you'll find, as I have, that you'll use the welcome screen frequently when working with a Dreamweaver.
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