Creating and Managing Sites

Dreamweaver provides comprehensive management facilities for handling all the resources that together compose your web site. For these to work effectively, it is important that you create a site and use it, rather than simply creating individual web pages on the fly.

Site PopupThe two key functions of New Site... and Manage Sites... can be accessed directly from the convenient new popup menu, as shown on the left.

Site menuIf you need access to the full range of site management tools then you should use the main Site menu, as shown on the right.

Also, a number of the site management functions are available on the Files panel.

Local and Remote Sites

Almost every web site exists in two versions: a local version and a remote version. The local version exists on the hard drive of your computer (or in a locally networked folder). The remote version exists on a web server run by a hosting company.

The remote version is the version that people see when they view the site over the web, and the local version is the version that you work on. Only once you are sure that your updates and edits are all correct do you upload the local version to the remote server.

Files are transferred from the local site to the remote site using the Put command, and from the remote site to the local site using the Get command. Both of these commands copy files without checking. If you only want to copy files that have been modified, you should use the Synchronize command in the Files panel.

Create a New Site

Dreamweaver provides a simple interface for taking you through the necessary steps to create a new web site. However, before you start you should have thought about exactly where you want to store the local copy of your site. Once you have decided that, you are ready to create a new site, using either of the two methods discussed above.

As the first step in creating your site, you are asked for two items:

  1. A name for your site
  2. The URL of your site

Basic Site Info

You can use anything as the name, this is simply used internally to identify your site when you load it into Dreamweaver. Obvioulsy, a descriptive name is useful! Note especially that this name does not have to have any relationship to the URL you may eventually use to access the remote copy of your site. The Local Site Folder is the location where you want to store you web site as you build it. This can be any location that is convenient for you.

If you are only building a local site, and you do not intend to upload it to a server, this is the only information that you need to provide. You can click Save and Dreamweaver will create a new, empty site with the name and location you have provided.

If you already have an ISP (Internet Service Provider) set up for your remote site, you may wish to enter the server information at this stage of the process. However, I will dely the discussion of these settings until we look at uploading your site.

Manage An Existing Site

Managing an existing site uses the same dialog interface as creating a new one. You would pick a catagory from the left hand panel and ammend or enter the required information in the right hand panel. The example below shows the dialog for information about the remote server.

Server Dialog

As already mentioned, I will postpone discussion of these settings until later.

Managing Site Resources

ImportantIf you try and use a resource such as an image from a folder that is not part of your site (i.e., a folder outside the root folder of your site) then Dreamweaver will spot this and offer to copy the file into your site. You should always allow Dreamweaver to do this to ensure the integrity of your site.

Further, if you wish to move, rename or delete existing files within your site, you must to this from within Dreamweaver and never use the Windows file manager. This is because Dreamweaver will automatically check the other pages in your site to make sure that all links to the moved or renamed resources are kept up to date. It will also warn you if you delete something that is used somewhere in your site. Again, using Dreamweaver to make these updates ensures the integrity of your site.

Back back to the main Dreamweaver page