Join James Williamson for an in-depth discussion in this video Customizing the Coding toolbar, part of Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics.
One of the great things about Dreamweaver is its open architecture. Many components of Dreamweaver are customizable. In our last video we examined the Coding toolbar. Now let's take a look at customizing that toolbar, either adding to it or subtracting from its feature set. So to do that, we are going to go out to our hard drive. So if you are on a Mac, we will just go ahead and hide Dreamweaver real quick and we will go into our Applications Directory. You will find Adobe, although on the Mac, we are going to go into Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 and we are going to go into the configuration file. So once you actually get into it, it's the same path.
So once you get into the configuration file, you will scroll down and you will find toolbars. So we want to open up toolbars. Now, one of the things you are going to notice is that inside here we have a couple of different XML files, and this is again telling us a little bit about the customizable nature of Dreamweaver. The fact that a lot of the menu items and a lot of the structure of the program is actually just stored in an XML file. So if you understand XML, you can open these files up and you can customize them, and maybe add some features that aren't in there in the default install.
Now, we are about to modify a file that is crucial to Dreamweaver's interface. Without the toolbars file we don't get many of the toolbars that we come to expect. So before you modify any type of file like this, it's a really good idea to go ahead and make a backup. That way you have got a file that you can restore without having to reinstall the software, which is always good. So I am going to go ahead and select the toolbars XML file and just copy that, which is Command+C and Ctrl+C on the PC. I need to go ahead and create a new folder someplace, and I would recommend that you have a central location for all the backup files that you are going to create, and where you put it is kind of a personal choice.
I am going to go ahead and put mine in Documents here. I will go ahead and create a new folder inside of this and I will just call it Dreamweaver Backups. Inside this folder, I will go ahead and paste my file, and again on the PC, you can right click and choose Paste, or you can even just drag and drop it over once you have both windows open. That would be fine. So there's our backup and we know that if anything goes wrong with our New toolbars file, we can just drag this one over or copy this one over and replace our modified one and we will be back to normal. So we will go ahead and close that. Now we can go back in and open up our toolbars file and modify it.
When we try to open this, I will go ahead and double click on it to open this up, you will see that we get a message that says, the file is locked and we can view it but we can't change it. Well, we really want to be able to view this and change it both so I am going to go ahead and hit Cancel. Now, on a PC it's probably not going to have that problem, but on a Mac, this is locked down as a system file. So I am going to get back to the folder, select the file, and we will just do a Get Info, which is Command+I, and you will see that down on my Ownership and Permissions, when I look at Details, it's a system file and so I can't take ownership of that.
So the first thing I have to do is I have to unlock it, and I will give myself ownership over the file, and I will have to type in my super secret password there. Now I am going to say that I can both Read & Write this file, not just Read Only. So that should do the trick. So we will go ahead and get rid of our Get Info dialog box, and now I can open the file simply by double clicking it, because Dreamweaver has set itself to be the default editor for XML files. So when I double click that, it opens up in Dreamweaver.
If you find yours opening up in another application, you can just go in and modify it so that Dreamweaver is the default opener of that particular file type. Well, one of the first things that we see when we open this file is that there are more toolbars in here than just the Coding toolbar. Obviously that's the one we are interested in, but you can see right up top, right here on line number four, it's commenting out and telling us that what we are looking at now is the main toolbar, and each one of these items in the toolbar is simply another tag.
So we are going to scroll down until we find the Code toolbar, and its a little further down, so you are probably going to have to scroll a good bit to get down to it. We have got to pass the Standard toolbar and a lot of those other toolbars. There is the Browser toolbar. So we keep going down. Here we go. So we are on about Line 352, and there's our Code view toolbar. Well, the use of the comments is actually very important, because any object that's not commented is going to show up your toolbar.
If you look at my screen right now, I am at 1024 x 768 in terms of my resolution, so I don't really have a lot of space. If you look at the left hand side where my Code toolbar is, look down at the bottom of that, we really don't have a lot of space right now for other icons to show up here. So one of the things I can do is I can also turn off some of the existing ones. So as I go through here I can actually see exactly which of these elements I am looking at. Look at the first item. It says menubutton id=DW_OpenDocuments. If we look over at our Code toolbar on the left hand side, the very, very top of it right there, I hover over that, it says Open Documents. So it's pretty easy, if you hover over these and see the tooltip, it's really easy for you to correlate between what you are looking at and what the object is.
Well, I don't really need that, because that one allows me to flip through open documents, and the way that I have got my Dreamweaver preferences set up, I actually get multiple tabs up top that are just as easy to click on. So I am going to save myself a little bit of screen real estate and I am going to go ahead and highlight that menu button tag. Now, we'll make sure you get the whole tag, including the self closing bit, right down here at the end. We are actually take advantage of the Coding toolbar to modify the Coding toolbar. If we look over, again, on the left hand side, about half way down, you are going to see two little items that look like cartoon word blocks. That allows us to apply comments and to take comments away, remove them. So we are going to actually comment this out by clicking on the Apply Comment.
So the one that I am looking at right now on Line 411 is actually the DW_GotoLine. Now, believe it or not, I actually use this one a good bit, because a reference code that I have worked on earlier, and I will know, for example, that a certain function is on Line 163 or something of that nature. Rather than having to scroll down to it, I can simply click that icon, type in the line I am looking for, and I will navigate directly to that. So I like that functionality. I am going to turn that back on. So I am going to go ahead and highlight. Now, you will notice that last time we did this, we highlighted just the tag. You could do that, but you want to make sure that you get everything. So I am going to highlight everything, including a comment that's around it.
Now, instead of having to manually strip that comment out, I can simply go right over here to the Code toolbar and the little word bling has the x in it. We can go ahead and click that and choose Remove Comment. It goes, strips that out. You can see that it's active again. Now, we will save our file. So let's go to File and just save that. Once you have saved the toolbar file, Dreamweaver actually accesses that file every single time it opens. So we are not really going to see a change yet. So let's go ahead and quit Dreamweaver. What we will need to do now is we will just need to reopen it, and it's easy enough just to open up the toolbars XML file again, double click on it and that will launch Dreamweaver for us. There we go, so we have got that open now.
Let's take a look at our Code toolbar now. If you will notice at the very top of it, here at the left hand side, we don't see the Open file dialog box. If we look down here, about midway down, we can see that we have our new icon, Go to Line. If I click on that, I can type in 352, and it jumps right down to our Code view toolbar, and we could go in and we could do any type of further manipulation that we needed to do. Notice that the DW_OpenDocuments item is commented out still and it's going to be that way until we change it again.
That's the great thing about it. If you don't like the current setup that you have, you can go in, examine it, and change it, so it's very, very flexible. So one of the things I would like to encourage you to do is to take some time to really examine these tools and see how they can speed up your coding. In our next video, we will examine code snippets, code hinting, and quickly selecting tags in your file both in Code View and in Design View.
- Reviewing and customizing the coding toolbar
- Understanding the CSS Styles panel
- Using absolute and relative positioning
- Creating accessible forms
- Building AJAX pages with the Spry framework
- Extending templates
- Working with XML and XSL
- Building dynamic content
- Creating custom behaviors in Dreamweaver
- Running reports