Using Dreamweaver for Web Page Updates
by Jeff Staples, Information Developer, Kitba Consulting
You have just inherited a Web site that contains outdated information. Your boss wants the information updated as soon as possible. You are familiar with HTML but don't want to update all the pages manually.
Recently, I found myself in a similar situation. To enhance my Web development
skills, I took on the Web duties for my local STC chapter. After
This article describes how to use
Leaving Manual Updating Behind
Manually updating HTML code is not hard, and it worked well initially. However, manual updates can be time consuming, especially if you are responsible for a large Web site.
Inadvertent changes often occurred when I saved the HTML files. For example, the formatting of a header might change, or the HTML code became a jumbled mess. I couldn't determine what was causing these changes. (The jumbled code did not affect the output of the file, but it did make the code more difficult to read.)
Dreamweaver makes updating text as simple as cut and paste. In addition, you no longer have to scroll or search through endless lines of code to find the information that you want to update.
Creating a Local Website
You can get started by using Dreamweaver to create a local (offline) copy of your remote (online) Web site. By having a copy of your Web site files on your hard drive or network, you have a test environment for making updates without affecting your remote site. Then once you are satisfied with the updated files, you can move the files to your remote site. The local site provides a backup of all files on your remote Web site.
Tip: Make a backup copy of the entire local site. This backup copy might come in handy if the files on your local or remote sites become lost or damaged.
Before you begin, assemble the following information:
To create your local Web site, perform the following steps:
Updating a Web Page
Now that you have created your local Web site, you are ready to beginupdating files. Dreamweaver offers a multitude of capabilities to help you update and enhance your site. Some tasks, such as updating text, may require only a simple cut and paste.
The following section describes tasks that you will perform often: updating embedded links and referencing text through embedded tags.
Updating Embedded Links
Your Web pages will contain embedded links such as URL and e-mail addresses. Because these addresses often change, you will probably update embedded links on a regular basis.
To update an embedded link, perform the following steps:
Removing Text without Deleting
While updating text, you may find information that you no longer need but want to keep for reference or later use. Converting the information into a comment will keep the information in the file but prevent its display to users.
To convert existing text into a comment, perform the following steps:
Referencing Text through Embedded Tags
To save your users from having to scroll through large volumes of text to find the detailed explanation of a bulleted item, you can embed a tag to link the detailed text to the bullet. Dreamweaver provides the Anchor option to implement this functionality.
To implement embedded tag (anchor) links, perform the following steps:
ETip: You should also give the user the option to return to the bullet list after viewing the text for a particular bullet topic. To do so, place an anchor at the top of the page (or at your bullet list) and then add text (such as Back to Top or Back to Bullet List) at the bottom of each text block and make it a link to the anchor at the top of the page (or to your bullet list).
Previewing an Updated Page
Once you have updated a file, Dreamweaver gives you the option of checking the updates with the Preview option. With Preview, you can see what the page will look like to your users.
From the Dreamweaver toolbar, click File > Preview in Browser > (your browser). If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you will see iexplore . Dreamweaver displays the file (Web page), and you can check whether all the information is correct. If more updates are required, close the browser. Your file is still open in Dreamweaver, and you can continue making updates. You can preview the file as needed.
Uploading Files to Your Remote Website
After making updates to files on your local site, you will need to upload the files to your remote site so that your users can view the updated information. You can use the following Dreamweaver functions (on the site toolbar shown in Figure 8) to move files between the local and remote sites:
Advancing Your Dreamweaver Skills
This article has presented some basic tasks that will help you to start updating your Web site. However, Dreamweaver has much more to offer.
As you become familiar with the software, you can enhance your Web site with features such as interactive forms for collecting data and behaviors for implementing actions such as causing a pop-up window to display when the user moves the mouse pointer over a specific link. These capabilities and more will help you bring more viability to your Web site and will enhance your Web development skills.
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