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After the shock of the Start page, the Dreamweaver interface is not that much different from the old MX interface. (Quite a lot of furniture-rearranging went into MX!) But the more you snoop around in there, the more subtle and not-so-subtle differences you'll find.
Say good-bye to Insert bar tabs. The categories of objects available in the Insert bar are now available from a drop-down menu, and there are fewer categories than before (see Figure 1.2): just Common, Layout, Forms, HTML, Application, and the new and very exciting Favorites. Within each category, you'll find a mixture of objects (indicated by icons) and object groups (indicated by triangle buttons sitting beside object icons). Within the Common category, you have the Hyperlink, Email Link, and Anchor objects. But then you also have Tables, Images, Media Objects, Template Objects, and more. Tables, Layers , and Layout Tables are all in the Layout category, in addition to some handy items such as Table Rows and Table Columns, and table tags for hand-coding . The most recently used object in each group is the one that displays in the Insert bar. To choose any of the others, click the triangle and choose from the list. While it may be a bit disconcerting at first to hunt around for a particular object only to find it hiding in an object group , you'll quickly learn to love the way your most recently used objects are right there in front of you. After all, if the last layout item you inserted was a table, you'll probably insert more tables before you draw any layers or layout cells .
And if you still don't like the way objects are grouped, it's easy to do something about it! Just go to the Favorites category, and you can pick and choose which objects to display there, right there, where you can see them and access them without any hunting or pecking at all (see Figure 1.3).
If you're on the Mac and are opening Dreamweaver MX 2004 for the first time, your first thought may be, "Where the heck did the Site panel go?" It has been integrated into the Files panel group, so it appears in abbreviated mode as one of the cascading panels down the right side of your monitor, the same way it displays in the Dreamweaver/Windows workspace (see Figure 1.4). Click the Expand button in its upper-right corner, and it undocks and expands to show both halves . Or, of course, you can undock it as you would undock any panel and have your own independent Site window back again.
Possibly the best news about this integration is that the Mac Site panel now owns its own set of menu commands, like its Windows counterpart . It's accessible from the panel window's Options menu, and it includes commands such as New File, New Folder, Select Newer Local, and other commands that used to be buried in the Site Files View submenu of the main Site menu. How cumbersome was that?
For Windows users, a new workspace innovation is toolbars that dock to the Document window instead of to the underside of the Insert bar. Although this may take some getting used to, it's very efficient, putting the toolbar closer to the active area of the document where you're working and enabling you to turn toolbars on and off individually for different documents. Toolbars can still be undocked by dragging their grabber handles, or they can be docked with the Insert bar, as in MX.
The new, redesigned Tag Inspector (Window > Tag Inspector) is a wonderful (and very compact) way of viewing and working with any page element. Like Dreamweaver's very own Swiss army knife , almost everything you'll ever need is in thereeven if you didn't know you needed it.
The Attributes tab (see Figure 1.5) is the grown-up version of the Dreamweaver MX Tag Inspector. From this handy and compact little panel, you can set properties for any selected item, from page properties to text properties, to tables and imagesyou name it. Displayed alphabetically or by category (your choice), each property has its place, along with all the standard browse buttons, color pickers, and dynamic options to help you enter values quickly and accurately.
The Behaviors tab (see Figure 1.6) hosts the redesigned interface for the Behaviors panel, which now includes two options for viewing available event handlers.
The Tag Inspector/CSS tab (see Figure 1.7) is a style rule inspector, a new and useful way to examine and edit the CSS styles applied to objects. View style-formatting elements in categories or alphabetically, and edit them on the spot, without having to go through the CSS Styles panel. If you thought working with CSS was too cumbersome before, get ready for a smooth new stylin' experience!
If all of this seems like way too much information for you, then you're a Property Inspector kind of user , and there's nothing wrong with that. Or you might want to use the Property Inspector for the everyday meat-and-potatoes work you do, and crack open the Selection Inspector for special occasions. Whichever way you work, this new bunch of tools is a welcome addition to the family, putting a wealth of HTML possibilities at your fingertips.
It's a little improvement, but it's one that puts a smile on my face. The Window menu now lists all panels and inspectors in one main window, instead of relegating things such as Layers and Frames to the ghetto of the Others submenu. Of course, once I've got my keyboard shortcuts set up and memorized, I probably won't ever visit the Window menu again, but just on general principle, it's nice to see a company of equals there.
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