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The idea behind Dreamweaver Design Notes is simple: A Design Note is a small file that contains pieces of information about a document. That file follows that document wherever it goes (from your office computer to all the other computers in the office, and even to the web server itself if necessary). It can be accessed at any time by any design team member. Therefore, Design Notes allow you to leave notes associated with specific files for yourself and your coworkers. This means that you can track changes to documents, map their progress and history, or update and change a document's completion status. Although this chapter focuses on using Design Notes to save information such as file status for HTML documents, they can potentially store any type of information you can think of and can be attached to any kind of file.
Design Notes as they pertain to image editing are discussed in Chapter 5, "Working with Images." Customizing your file view columns using Design Notes is covered in Chapter 17, "Local Site Management."
As mentioned, Design Notes are small files that are "attached" to a document that store designer information about the document (see Figure 19.1). The Design Note is not literally attached; it is stored in a _ notes folder next to the document. The _ notes folder is the repository for all your site's Design Notes.
Open this folder, and you'll see a selection of files, all named after various files from your site, but with the .mno extension added. These are your Design Notes files. This folder cannot be seen within the Dream- weaver Site window. The _ before the folder name makes the folder invisible to the Dreamweaver Site window, so to see this folder, you have to go to the site folder through the operating system file explorer. Design Note files are basically small XML text files. Open one of the files, either in your favorite text editor or in Dreamweaver Code view, and you'll see a chunk of XML code that looks something like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1" ?> <info> <infoitem key="status" value="draft" /> <infoitem key="author" value="Julius Marx" /> </info>
Each piece of information about the parent file is stored as an <infoitem/> tag containing a key/value pair ( status/draft , for instance). The first time a document needs a piece of information about itself to be stored, Dreamweaver creates the MNO file. After that, every new piece of information that needs to be stored adds another <infoitem/> tag. Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash can all access and read the same Design Notes, which is what makes the tight integration between the programs possible. And when the site files are moved from one computer to another, the Design Notes are moved as well, so various team members can all access the same pieces of information and coordinate their work.
Before you begin using Design Notes, you need to set up basic Design Notes capability in your site. To enable Design Notes, follow these steps:
After you've enabled Design Notes, you can view, create, edit, and delete notes as needed to store any document- related information you like.
The main interface for working with Design Notes is the Design Notes dialog box. To access this dialog box, do one of the following:
Open the file whose Design Note you want to work with, and select File > Design Notes.
In the Site Files pane of the Site panel, right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac) the file whose Design Note you want to work with. From the context menu that appears, select Design Notes.
The Basic Info tab, shown in Figure 19.3, contains a simple interface for assigning document status and jotting down comments to share with coworkers (or reminders to yourself). The All Info tab, shown in Figure 19.4, displays all Design Notes for the current document, including status, comments, and any other Design Notes (including those added automatically by Dreamweaver, Fireworks, or Flash for working with the document).
If the file Check In/Check Out system is in use, you need to check out a file before accessing its associated Design Note.
When you are in the Design Notes interface, you can create notes, edit them, and remove them using the Basic Info and All Info tabs of the dialog box.
Labeling documents according to their current status (draft, revision1, and so on) is an important tool in a collaborative workflow.
To set the document status to one of the predefined choices, bring the Basic Info tab of the dialog box to the front, and choose from the Status pop-up menu.
To set the document status to a value not on the list of choices (such as Beta 1 or Beta 2), bring the All Info tab to the front. Click the + button to add a new note. In the Name field, enter status; in the Value field, enter your custom value ( beta 1 ). When making custom notes such as status, make them clear to other users. It might be a good idea to have a defined set of values for everyone to reference.
You can make miscellaneous notes regarding a documentinstructions on what needs to be revised, peer review, whateverby typing into the Comment field in the Basic Info tab. To put a date stamp on the note, click the date icon above the Note field. After you've filled in a note, bringing the All Info tab to the front reveals that the note is actually saved as a name/value pair Design Note, just like status.
You can save any name/value pair as a comment by using the All Info tab of the Design Notes dialog box. For collaborative workflow, for instance, you might want to track authorship of documents, due dates, or task hours. To add any of these pieces of information, bring the All Info tab to the front, click the + button to add a new pair, and enter a name and value for that item. Check "Show when file is opened" to help ensure that the note is noticed.
Design Notes are great for job tracking because documents can be organized and searched according to the name portion of the name/value pair. If you want to use custom Design Notes for this purpose, however, make sure that you are consistent and predictable in naming your name/value pairs. For instance, it's no good trying to track authorship of documents across a site if some documents have a Design Note named author and others have a Design Note named writer .
You can see at a glance which files in your site have Design Notes by examining the Site Files list. Any file with at least one Design Note displays an icon in the Notes column. If the Site panel doesn't display the Notes column, either because the column doesn't fit in the window pane or because the column is not enabled, you can change the File View Columns settings in the Site Definition dialog box so that this column does show in the expanded Site panel.
You can also customize the File View Columns in the Site panel to show the value of a particular Design Note. To do this, follow these steps:
In this exercise, you'll create status Design Notes for several files within a site. You'll set different status values and examine how Dreamweaver implements the Design Note.
Before you start, download the files from the chapter_19 folder on the book's website at www.peachpit.com to your hard drive.
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