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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.
Another standard web technology that you'll need to become familiar with when designing websites is CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a collection of styles that control the layout in presentation of your XHTML. Styles can target specific elements, IDs, class names or a combination of these elements to provide greater control over specific style application. The main purpose of using CSS is to separate structure and presentation. That way your code is left to describe the meaning of the content while the CSS controls typography and layout. Even better your site is now easier to update and maintain as your CSS can be contained in a single external file.
If you want to change how your main heading looks site wide for example, you can change a single rule and the change will cascade throughout your entire site. Another advantage in using CSS is the ability to change style sheets for different devices. You could use one style sheet for screen devices, another for print and yet another for hand-held devices. That way the same content could be given three very different presentations for different devices. When writing styles you can place them in an external style sheet, embed them within a specific page or write them inline into specific tags. How you write your CSS determines in which order the cascade applies to the styles and gives you greater control over styling.
While we will discuss best practices and strategies for writing your CSS later, it's important to note that Dreamweaver integrates cascading style sheets into every work flow and process that can effect layout and styling. So understanding how CSS works and having a site wide strategy in place prior to building pages is essential to ensuring efficient style application and creation throughout your site.
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