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Adobe Labs recently released the Widget Browser, an Adobe AIR application that lets you preview and configure AJAX widgets for use within your sites. Prior to Dreamweaver CS5.5, you had to download and install the Widget Browser separately from Dreamweaver. With the CS5 release, the Widget Browser is now included when installing Dreamweaver. Adobe has also added some integration improvements to how Dreamweaver and the Widget Browser work together. So I have the tours.htm page open in the 03_02 folder.
And let's just go ahead, check out the Widget Browser, and what it can do for us. I am going to go right up to my Application toolbar right up top. On the Mac, that will be docked below the menu, and there's this little dropdown menu that says Extend Dreamweaver. This is one of the easiest ways to launch the Widget Browser. So I am just going to grab that pulldown menu and I am going to hit the Widget Browser. Now, the time that you launch the Widget Browser after installing CS5.5, you might have a couple of dialog boxes to say yes to, but you're simply just sort of agreeing to use it. Now, we have covered the Widget Browser before in previous titles, so this isn't so much a movie on how to use the Widget Browser; it's a movie on the improvements to the integration of Dreamweaver and the Widget Browser, and some of the features that exist now that didn't exist before.
So the first thing I am going to do is go out to the Exchange, and in Adobe Exchange you are able to find out all the new cool widgets they have available, and this list is growing all the time, so be sure to check back if you're looking for a specific functionality. What I would like to do to my Explore California site is place a few Google maps around the site, and this widget right here, Google Maps, is perfect for that. So I've already gone ahead and installed that into My Widgets. So I am going to right over here to My Widgets, and I can see that I have the Google Maps widget in my Widget Browser. Now, once you select a widget and install it into your widgets, you're free to configure that any way you would like.
So if I click on this, it will open it up and I can see presets that the developer has created, such as Paris, New York, Bike Paths, and Seattle, things like that, down to My Presets. Now, when you first launch your widget, obviously you won't have any presets, so you could go into the Configure, where you would go ahead and configure the map any way that you would like. Now, in this case I already have a preset done. It's called Santa Barbara Trails, and it's basically just Santa Barbara bike trails, and it's a nice starting place for anybody that might be looking for bike trails around that particular area, and I think that would be a nice little accent within my site.
In prior releases of the Widget Browser you simply had to configure your widget, and if you were working within a team, you would probably have to send them an email that gave all of your configuration settings. So if you click the Configure button here, for example, you can see that it's set to a specific size, a specific latitude and longitude, a zoom, that sort of thing. Well, now in Dreamweaver CS5.5, in this release of the Widget Browser, we can now import and export those presets. So if I choose Export and I go into my Exercise Files, I am going to go into Chapter_03 > 03_02, and I am just going to export it directly into this folder.
And I am just going to call this santa_barbara and save it. Okay. So now, if I were to select a preset that I already have and just get rid of it, so if I needed to send this to a friend or a coworker, I could just email them that XML file, and then I can import that in. So right there is my santa_barbara XML file that we just exported out. I open it and there's my preset. So it's a really nice way of sharing those presets, or even creating backups for yourself if you would like. Now, I want to showcase another new integration feature between Dreamweaver and the Widget Browser that I think is really cool.
What I want to do is go on my page, in Design view, and I am just going to scroll down to where I want to import my map, and that's just below this Find a bike trail. So I am just going to create a little blank paragraph right there, and then I am going to bring my Widget Browser back up. Prior to this, we would save our presets, and then we would use the menu options inside Dreamweaver or the Insert toolbar to insert a widget. Now, that functionality still works, but this is a much easier and more direct way of doing this. I can now go right here to this little symbol, which says Drag and Drop in Dreamweaver, and I can do just that.
I can go ahead and just grab that, hold the mouse down, drag this onto the file where I want my map, and just release. As soon as I do that, it drops my map right there on the page. Let's minimize this, save the file, and then I am going to go ahead and preview that in my browser. And I'll just scroll down, and there's my map, ready for anybody else to use. Now, how easy was that? That's insanely easy! I love being able just to drag and drop it. Those improvements to the Widget Browser are going to make it easier for most people to use it, quite frankly.
And since you don't need to install it separately now, it's going to make it more accessible to those that might not have otherwise downloaded and installed it. It just installs directly with Dreamweaver CS5.5 now. Now, if you're looking for more information on the Widget Browser, check out its homepage on Adobe Labs at labs.adobe.com/technologies/widgetbrowser.
- Creating new HTML5 documents
- Using code hinting for CSS3, HTML5, DOM elements, and jQuery
- Configuring jQuery widgets with the Widget Browser
- Managing media queries
- Previewing web pages on multiple devices with the Multiscreen Preview panel
- Configuring mobile application frameworks
- Building and emulating mobile applications