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If you want to move beyond customizing Dreamweaver into extending its functionality, you're ready for some new extensions. If you want to take advantage of the programming prowess of others without having to write extensions yourself, you're ready for the Macromedia Exchange for Dreamweaver and the Extension Manager.
The Macromedia Exchange for Dreamweaver is a huge storehouse of extensions that Macromedia has collected and put on the Web for all to use. Although Macromedia wrote some of these extensions, the majority were written by independent developers who created the extensions to help themselves and who have agreed to share them with the Dreamweaver community. These extensions have been packaged in a common format (MXP) and put on the Exchange for everyone to use. Most are free, but a few are commercially produced and might have a small cost.
The Exchange is not the only place to find extensions. Many extension-writing Dreamweaver developers have extensions and have placed them and others on various websites .
You access the Macromedia Exchange for Dreamweaver, shown in Figure 28.15, by pointing your browser to www.macromedia.com/exchange/dreamweaver. Hundreds of different extensions are available for adding all sorts of functionality to Dreamweavereverything from enabling site searches to installing lists of country codes to adding new Flash button styles. All extensions have been tested by Macromedia to ensure that they'll install and function correctly. Those with Macromedia approval have been tested more rigorously and meet Macromedia UI guidelines, so they blend in smoothly with the Dreamweaver interface. You can browse extensions by category or search by title or author. To download extensions, you need to sign up for a free Macromedia Exchange account.
You can also access the Exchange from within Dreamweaver by choosing Help > Dreamweaver Exchange or any of the Get More commands, such as Insert > Get More Objects, Commands > Get More Commands, or the Get More Behaviors command at the bottom of the Behaviors panel's Actions pop-up menu. Choosing any of these commands launches your browser and takes you to the Exchange home page.
To download an extension from the Exchange, find the extension you want and follow the links to its download page. Choose the Windows or Mac version, and download. Extensions are usually very small files (most are less than 100KB) and therefore download quickly, even on slow connections. The downloaded file is a special installer file with the .mxp extension (Macromedia eXtension Package), which can be installed into Dreamweaver using the Extension Manager utility.
The Extension Manager (EM), shown in Figure 28.16, is a utility program used to install and manage your downloaded extensions. You can launch the Extension Manager from within Dreamweaver by choosing Commands > Manage Extensions or Help > Manage Extensions. You can also launch it from the desktop by selecting Start > Programs > Macromedia > Macromedia Extensions Manager (Windows) or by finding and launching it from within the /Applications/Macromedia Extension Manager folder (Mac). From the desktop, you can also double-click any MXP file to automatically launch the Extension Manager.
The Extension Manager isn't just for Dreamweaver. It also installs and manages Flash and Fireworks extensions.
To install an extension using the Extension Manager, double-click the MXP file on your hard drive, which launches the EM and starts the installation process. You also can launch the EM separately and then choose File > Install Extension or click the Install icon in the Extension Manager window. During the installation process, extension files are added to the appropriate places in the user 's Configuration folder, and the user copies of any relevant XML files (such as Insertbar.xml or menus .xml ) are updated. Some extensions require that Dreamweaver be restarted before they appear in the interface; the EM alerts you if this is the case.
After the extension is installed, you can read all about it in the EM interface (refer to Figure 28.16). You can temporarily deactivate the extension by deselecting it in the extensions list. Or you can permanently delete it by selecting it and choosing File > Remove Extension or by clicking the Uninstall icon in the Extension Manager window.
In addition to installing extensions, the Extension Manager can be used to package files that make up an extension into MXP files, and even to submit them to the Macromedia Exchange for Dreamweaver. See the section "Packaging Your Extensions" in Chapter 29 for more on this.
In this exercise, you will download and install Sascha Frinken's Line Remover extension, a simple but handy command that stops Internet Explorer from leaving those ugly highlight boxes around links after you've clicked them. The boxes are meant to show that the link has focus and are intended to enhance usability, but they are very unpopular with many web designers. They are especially distracting when used with irregular-shaped hotspots in image maps.
The Line Remover extension is available on this book's website at www.peachpit.com, in case it's not available on the Exchange by the time you read this.
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