Creating A Basic Web Site With Adobe Dreamweaver

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 is a great piece of software which demystifies the business of web development. However, it is also packed with a whole host of features which can seem a little daunting when you first start using the program. This article aims to explain how create a basic web site, where to start and which tools to use.

Before you start, you should have a clear idea of what information you want to display in your web site and the options that will be available to visitors. Its best to start with an achievable goal, a project that you can bring to a satisfactory conclusion. Dont attempt an all singing, all dancing e-commerce site as your first project.

Next, create a folder somewhere on your hard disk or desktop which will contain all of the files which will make up your site. Dreamweaver refers to this folder as the local root folder. It should contain nothing but the files pertaining to your web site and will become a mirror image of your actual site when the site goes live.

Next, create a folder inside the local root folder which will hold your images. This will help you to avoid ending up with broken images on your site, where visitors are presented with an empty box instead of the actual image.

Now, finally, we launch Dreamweaver and create a new web site by choosing New Site from the Site menu. Click the Advanced tab (Advanced here simply means manual, so dont be intimidated.) You will notice a series of categories on the left of the screen. Only the first two categories need to be completed: Local Info and Remote Info.

In the Local Info window, enter a name for you new site then specify the location of the local root folder and default images folder you created earlier. The easiest way of doing this is to click on the browse icons next to each of these two boxes (the yellow folder icons).

Next you need to click on the Remote Info category on the left of your screen. This is where you tell Dreamweaver how to connect to the server that contains your web pages. For a public website, choose FTP as the access method and ask your web hosting company for the other details required. For an intranet, choose Local/Network as the access method and navigate to the server and sub-directory containing your company intranet.

The next step is to create all of the pages in your website arranged in the appropriate sub-directories. Dont put any content in the pages at this stage, just create and save each page into your local root folder. This is done, so that later, when you create links on any page, the page that you link to will already exist, so you can just point to it and automatically create the correct link.

Theres still one more step that you should do before you are ready to actually start work on the page content; you should create at least one template. Templates allow you to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the site. It consists of fixed elements, such as logo and navigation links and what Dreamweaver calls Editable Regions. These are the areas of the page which can be altered each time you use the template.

Once you have your template(s) in place, you are ready to start putting the actual pages. Open each of the pages, apply the appropriate template then add your content. To test our page at any time, just press F12 on your keyboard.

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