What's New in Dreamweaver 8
If you've used Dreamweaver before, you'll notice that while some things look very similar, some things also look very different. A comprehensive description of all the new features in Dreamweaver 8 would take up an entire chapter or possibly an entire book, so here are just a few of the highlights:
Chapter 2. Starting Your First Site
Dreamweaver is all about building sites. Sure, it has all of the tools you need to create great Web pages. But the basic building block is the site, not the page. You need to define a site in Dreamweaver, which will then be the container for all of the files and folders that will make up your Web site.
When you build sites, you will start by creating and testing the site on your local machine. Then, when the site is ready, you will send it over the Internet to your Web server, where it will go live for all the world to see. Dreamweaver has all the tools you'll need to create the site, work with its files and folders, and then transfer it to the Web server. That's what we'll be covering in this chapter. So let's get started!
Understanding Local and Remote Sites
Dreamweaver 8 can do a great job of helping you manage all the files and folders that make up your Web site, but for the best results, you'll need to use the program's site management tools to set up and maintain the site. First, you need to understand some of the terminology Dreamweaver uses for sites. You'll want to build and test your Web site within a single folder on your hard disk, which Dreamweaver calls the local root folder . This folder contains all of the files and folders that make up the site. For example, let's say that you're building a company site that has two sections in it, one for product information (called products ), and the other for information about the company (called companyinfo ). Each of the two sections gets its own folder. These folders are located inside the local root folder (which in this example I'm calling MyCompany ). Because each section shares some of the same graphic images, there is also an images folder in the local root folder. The site structure would look something like Figure 2.1 . With one exception, each of the Web pages that you build for the site will go into either the products or companyinfo folder. The exception is the main site page (the one that people see when they load your site in their browsers). That's called the index page , and it usually goes in the local root folder (which is also called the local site ).
Figure 2.1. The top folder here is the local root folder, which contains all of the files and folders that make up the Web site.
After you build the pages for your site, you will use Dreamweaver to copy all of the files and folders (usually over the Internet) to the Web server. Dreamweaver replicates the folder structure from your hard disk on the Web server, so the site's structure and all of the links between the pages are preserved. Dreamweaver refers to the copy of the site on the Web server as the remote site . The remote site should always be a mirror image of your local site, and Dreamweaver has tools that can synchronize the two sites (you'll learn more about that later in this chapter and in Chapter 16).