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Dreamweaver 3


reviewed by Brian Pankuch
Union County College
Cranford, NJ 07016

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the Spring 1997 CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.

Dreamweaver 3 is a professional quality web design program from Macromedia. It is part of a growing suite of products (Director, Fireworks, Shockwave, etc.) from Macromedia, that are usually state of the art, for developing material and putting it up on the Internet. The advantage of using a suite is similar to using Microsoft's Office the tools usually work together a bit better than unconnected programs and you have some similarity in program design so similar operations can be close in each prograll]. If you learn one you may have some carryover to the other. This is a hope not yet fully attained with Macromedia products.
This is a very powerful program. It is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) HTML code generator. You can design a page by typing it in and add art and special effects to the page and watch in another window as Dreamweaver 3 creates the HTML. I've on occasion wanted to do something that I couldn't find in the numerous menus and windows so I just typed the HTML in. If you don't like the code generated you can change it. Changes written in the HTML window are shown when you return and click on the document window and vice versa.
Press function key (F12) and your favorite browser comes up showing the page you are working on. Or you can have both Netscape and Explorer running at the same time and switch back and forth to see how your page looks in each (surprisingly different sometimes!) When you are going back and forth checking how something looks from Dreamweaver 3 to the browser be sure to save the changes in Dreamweaver 3 (otherwise you'll just see the page as previously saved}. In the browser hit reload (Netscape) or refresh (Explorer) so you see the new page not the cached old page.
One can get some surprises. I put a Shockwave movie from Director in a page, uploaded and clicked on it in a browser and it played fine. The page was uploaded to my site and rechecked in the browser- no movie just an awful looking text file. I had used a copy of the movie in the page which instead of movie.dcr was movie.dcr copy, this played fine in the browser from the Dreamweaver 3 file on my drive, but not when uploaded to the server site and read from there. Once I took the word copy off it worked fine in both locations. Not my idea of WYSIWYG, but it works better than this most of the time.
It also can test the entire site for broken links, external links, and orphaned files. Click on the broken links or external links and you'll be whisked right to that code. For the external links it will show you the link but it does not test to see if it goes anywhere. Does anyone know of a program that does test external links to see if they go anywhere? It doesn't do anything with the orphaned files.
In the figure the document window to the left has areas blocked in red, that is the part of the page from the template for the entire site. The HTML source window shows that code in red and you  can't change this code without a direct override in a working page. You can easily change the template itself. When you do you can have every page affected updated by Dreamweaver 3.
It has a filter for Word HTML, which cleans up the code. Supposedly to make it look better on the versions of browsers you've chosen. First it reported Dreamweaver could not find the correct filter, but chose Word 2000 (I have Word 1998), I tried it and it worked ok then I chose the filter for Word 1998 and it removed almost all formatting and the text looked much worse.
You can choose from a number of Commo.n Objects including, Shockwave, Flash, Fireworks and Insert Tabular Data. The latter will take a spreadsheet from Excel and produce an HTML table. Save the spreadsheet as tab or space delimited, click on the Insert Tabular Data button and you have a table where you want. You can use the properties window to change a large number of parameters and customize your table fully. The system keeps a full record of all changes made during a session. From the history window you can go back to the way your page looked at any  point. This is better than infinite undo's which tend to be permanent. You can backtrack, try another series of changes then return if needed. If you are going to use a number of spreadsheets, with the series of modifications you just did, you can select the steps from the history window and save them as a command (appears in the command menu). Select the command and have the series of modifications performed on other spreadsheets-like a macro.
You can use Dynamic HTML such as JavaScript, Document Object Model (DOM), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). DHTML and XML Extensible Markup Language) are newer and more likely to give quite different results or no results with older browsers.
Dreamweaver 2 came bundled with BBEdit for working with text, Dreamweaver 3 comes with FireWorks 3, which is for text, pictures, etc., editing. I was surprised when I'd click on an object such as a GIF picture to be edited and FireWorks 3 couldn't be found-with no option of going to find it. Going to Preferences, External Editors, several FireWorks versions were listed none located where the actual copy was. Browsing to the actual location for Fireworks allowed a multitude of objects to be double clicked and edited. Choose other programs such as Photoshop, BBEdit, etc., for specialized file editing.
If you want to edit tags from the document window you can select the tag and with command T, a Quick Tag Editor window opens and you can edit the tag, wrap a new tag around the existing tag, or insert HTML. Shortcuts sometimes appear, but seem erratic and more distracting than helpful.
I have been testing a number of tools for keeping my web sites updated with the ability to keep track and change relatively easy.


03/25/00 to 03/29/00