Join James Williamson for an in-depth discussion in this video Defining a new site, part of Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training.
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When you start working on a new project in Dreamweaver, the first thing you should do is define a site. The site management capabilities of Dreamweaver are tied directly into the site's definition. Without defining a site, Dreamweaver won't be able to resolve links, check related files or help you manage your assets. The best part about defining sites in Dreamweaver is how simple the process is. In fact, you only need to know two things to get started: first, where the local root directory is located. Now the local root directory is going to be the folder on your local hard drive or machine where your site is located.
Second, you need to know what you want to name the site, and that's really all you need to get started. So I've got Dreamweaver opened here, and I don't have any sites defined. How do I know that? Well, if I look at the Files panel, I just see a link out to the desktop. My pulldown menu doesn't give me a listing of any sites. Now creating a site in Dreamweaver is extremely easy and there are a lot of different locations for us to do that. First, we could go up to the menu. We could go to Site and choose New Site. So that's one location. Next, we can come to our Application toolbar, to our Site Management, and we can choose New Site there as well.
We also have the ability, on the Files panel, to create a new site. So if I grab the pulldown menu here, notice that one of my options is Manage Sites, where I could choose a New Site option. Probably the easiest way to define a new site is right here in the welcome screen. So right down here where it says Create New, we could choose Create New Dreamweaver Site. I'm going to go ahead and click that. Any of those options will give us the exact same dialog box, which is the Site Setup dialog box. Now this has been simplified a little bit from previous versions, so if you're used to using Dreamweaver, and you've used other versions of it before, this is going to look a little different.
Well, they've streamlined the process, and they've made it a lot easier. So I'm a big fan of this new site dialog box. The first thing I'm going to do is name my site, and I'm going to go ahead and name it Explore California, because that is the site that we're going to be working on. The next thing Dreamweaver wants to know is, "Hey! Where is your local site folder?" Now remember, this is going to be the root folder on My Computer or a Local Network. Wherever I'm going to be doing my local development, that's what I need to point this to. So I'm able to just go ahead and click the Folder icon to browse for that particular site.
Now if you're working with the exercise files like I am, I've copied them over to my desktop. So I'm going to go to my Desktop, find my Exercise Files and open that up. I'm going to open up the Chapter_03 folder and go to 03_03. That's the current movie that we're on, and I'm just going to open that up and hit the Select button. Now on the Mac, it'll say Choose. On the PC, it'll say Select, but they mean exactly the same thing. So I'm just going to go ahead and select. Now believe it or not, that is all I need in Dreamweaver to define a local site.
Now there is more information surely that we can fill out. If you'll notice, we have a set of categories over here on the left-hand side. Servers give us an opportunity to add remote servers. These could be testing servers, production servers or live Web servers. Now we'll cover head and set those up a little bit later on this title, but you'll do it in the exact same dialog box. We also have Version Control. If you're using a product like subversion, for example, to do Version Controls of your site, that's where you would go to set those settings up. We also have the Advance Settings area where we can choose more information, like the Default Images directory, Resolved Links, choose Cloaking to choose which files get uploaded and which files don't.
There's a lot of extra information there. But again, that's not what you need in order to define your first site. You only need those two things. Now we'll talk about most of these settings a little bit later on. I'm going to go back to my initial Site Setup dialog box and choose Save. What Dreamweaver will do now is it'll cache up the site. It'll happen a little quicker for some sites; for larger sites it may take a little bit longer, but now over in the Files panel, I can see there's my Explore California site. Now if I define multiple sites within Dreamweaver, I can use this pulldown menu to switch between one site and the next.
But right now, I simply have the single Explore California Web site defined. You'll also notice, and I'm just going to move this panel up a little bit, you'll notice that I'm seeing the files and folders within a particular directory that we defined when we created the site. So as you can see, defining a site in Dreamweaver is an easy but extremely necessary step required for the start of any new project. You can give Dreamweaver all the site information at the very beginning of the project, or you can do what we just did; wait and define things like Remote Information at a later date.
That's especially helpful, if you don't have those settings when you're starting out with your new site. Just be sure to make defining a site the first step in any new Dreamweaver project.
- Defining and structuring a new site
- Creating new web documents from scratch or from templates
- Adding and formatting text
- Understanding style sheet basics
- Placing and styling images
- Creating links to internal pages and external web sites
- Controlling page layout with CSS
- Building and styling forms
- Reusing web content with templates
- Adding interactivity
- Working with Flash and video