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Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Mac OS X

by Jackie Dove

Related Reading

Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual
By David Sawyer McFarland

As you ponder a strategy on how to update your old web sites, or if you're in the planning stages of new sites, you may be considering a switch to a different mode of creation. If you've been a hand-coder all these years, you may be considering a visual design tool. Perhaps you've switched platforms, and want to move away from another visual design tool, such as Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe GoLive. Or maybe you want to bring your site into compliance with XHTML, or migrate from a static site to a database-driven dynamic site.

Macromedia Dreamweaver has always facilitated web design in the visual graphic art tradition. It's also famous for its accurate HTML code and organic way of letting users alternate between code and design view.

Dreamweaver MX 2004, the recently released version, has some improvements that may affect your decision. We survey some popular new and cool features of MX 2004 below.

Update Your Old Site

Let's assume that your web sites were created in another application, such as BBEdit or TextWrangler, or even FrontPage. You can port them into MX 2004.

Make sure your site and all its folders -- including web pages, images, CSS files, templates, and rich media files -- are located in the root folder of your hard drive. Then, from the main menu, choose Site>Manage Sites.

The Manage Sites box appears, letting you choose a local site. Choose the FTP & RDS Server only when you want to send pages to a site that is not on your hard drive.

The Site Definition dialog box asks for information such as the site name and the exact location of the folder holding the site files. When you indicate the location of your site, Dreamweaver can manage your site's links, templates, library items, behaviors, and a host of special features.

Then, fill in the remote information specifying your FTP or network specifications and password, and click OK. When this procedure is complete, Dreamweaver establishes a path to your local site. Your files will now open in Dreamweaver, though their icons still may be associated with the program that originally created them, especially if that program is in your system.

If you want to update your site using new coding protocols, you can easily make the site XHTML compliant. HTML is no longer under development, and its replacement, Extensible HTML (XHTML), basically XML, is compatible with most browsers. You don't have to change a single line of code or have any special knowledge of XHTML or HTML to convert an entire site, or some selected pages. Just use the Convert command under the File menu and XHTML is the only choice.

You can also specify that any or all new pages be XHTML compliant by clicking the checkbox in the New Document dialog box.

Dreamweaver also supports the import and export of template-based XML files so that you can work with template data in other programs, such as a text editor or an XML editor. Open a template-based document and choose File>Export>Template Data as XML.

The Export Template Data dialog box gives you a choice of notations for templates with repeating regions or template parameters, or those without. Click OK for the kind of template this document is derived from. Then name the XML document.

It should look like the image below. There is no design view. All you see is code.

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