6.5 Using Design Notes

Design Notes allow you to track the thoughts, difficulties, and solutions encountered by developers working on a site. Enable the Maintain Design Notes option in the Site Definition dialog box, as described earlier in Section 6.2.3. In a collaborative environment, all team members should use Design Notes; without full participation, you get only half the story regarding each file's status. (Enable the Upload Design Notes for Sharing option when collaborating with others.)

Macromedia SiteSpring is a new, high-end product designed to facilitate collaborative web site development. See http://www.macromedia.com/software/sitespring/ for details.

To add a Design Note or edit an existing one, highlight the file to which the note applies and select File figs/u2192.gif Design Notes. This opens the Design Notes dialog box shown in Figure 6-12.

Figure 6-12. The Basic Info tab in the Design Notes dialog box

Design Notes can be attached to HTML files and asset files (such as GIFs and JPEGs) in the Site Map pane, Local Files pane, or Document window. Design Notes cannot be attached to some items in the Site Mapnamely broken links, external links, and read-only (locked) files; nor can Design Notes be attached in the Remote Files pane (use the Upload Design Notes for Sharing option to post design notes to the server automatically).

You can even attach Design Notes to folders in the Local Files pane. Attach notes about the entire site to the home page or a dummy file maintained for this purpose.

Design Notes can be used informally, but if you structure your notes using name /value pairs , they can be a highly effective site-management tool. Name/value pairs simply say, "This is the name of the data I want to keep track of, and here is its particular value." (Name/value pairs should sound familiarthey are used similarly in URLs when submitting form data using the HTTP GET method, as described in Chapter 2.) Luckily, Dreamweaver provides some predefined name/value pairs for you and also lets you define your own. Let's see how this concept works.

6.5.1 Adding Basic Info to Design Notes

In the Basic Info tab of the Design Notes dialog box, Dreamweaver provides three commonly needed name/value pairs.


Select the development status of the file related to this note from the pop-up menu. This selection creates a name/value pair with the name status and the value draft , revision1 , revision2 , revision3 , alpha , beta , final , or needs attention .


Enter notes of your choosing, such as "Problem fixed" or "Waiting on Joe to provide artwork." Entering notes creates a name/value pair with the name notes and the value of the text specified in the box. Use the Insert Date icon, indicated in Figure 6-12, to add today's date to the notes. The date simply becomes part of the notes text; it does not become a separate name/value pair.

Show When File is Opened

Enable this checkbox to open the note automatically whenever the file is opened. This creates a name/value pair with the name showOnOpen and the value true .

6.5.2 Adding and Editing Customized Info in Design Notes

In the All Info tab of the Design Notes dialog box, shown in Figure 6-13, you can edit the existing name/value pairs or add custom ones.

Figure 6-13. The All Info tab in the Design Notes dialog box

The following fields control the editing of name/value pairs:


A list of the name/value pairs for this design note. You may see the status , notes , and showOnOpen name/value pairs from the Basic Info tab listed here. You can add custom name/value pairs using the plus (+) button.


Specifies the name portion of the name/value pair highlighted in the Info list. The default names are status , notes , and showOnOpen , but you can add your own custom names. We'll discuss three more pseudo-default names assigned , due , and priority later.


Specifies the value portion of the name/value pair highlighted in the Info list.

You can edit, add, and delete name/value pairs.

Editing an existing name/value pair

Highlight an existing name/value pair in the Info list. Its name appears in the Name field and its value appears in the Value field. You can edit the Value, but should generally leave the Name alone. For example, if you change the name notes to myNotes , it creates a new name/value pair whose value will no longer appear under the Basic Info tab.

To add a custom name/value pair

Use the plus (+) button to create a blank line in the Info list. Specify a name for your new property in the Name field and assign a value to it using the Value field. You might specify priority for the Name and then fill in a Value such as low. (Later, we'll see how to display custom name/value pairs in the Site Files window.)

By using name/value pairs consistently in all your Design Notes, you'll be able to display and sort the information easily.

To delete a name/value pair

Select the item you wish to delete from the Info list and then click the minus (-) button. If you accidentally delete a name/value pair, use the Cancel button in the dialog box to abort the changes.

6.5.3 Viewing and Sorting Contents of Design Notes

If a Design Note is attached to a document, Dreamweaver displays a little balloon icon next to the document name in the Site Files window, as shown in Figure 6-14.

Figure 6-14. A Design Note associated with a document

There are many ways to view some or all of the information within your Design Notes. To view the contents of a design note associated with a document use any of these methods :

  • Double-click a file's Design Notes icon in the Site Files window, as seen in Figure 6-14.

  • Select a file and choose File figs/u2192.gif Design Notes.

  • Choose Design Notes from the contextual menu in the Local Files pane or Site Map pane.

  • If the Show When File is Opened option is enabled in the Design Notes dialog box, the Design Note will open automatically when you open the document with which it is associated.

The contents of your Design Notes can be retrieved and displayed in the Local Files and Remote Files panes of the Site Files window.

Here's how it works:

  1. Use View figs/u2192.gif File View Columns in the Site window (Windows) or Site figs/u2192.gif Site Files View figs/u2192.gif File View Columns (Macintosh) to open the File View Columns category of the Site Definition dialog box (see Figure 6-6).

  2. The Notes item in the Column List merely displays a balloon indicator in the Site Files window next to documents with associated Design Notes (see Figure 6-14). Enable this column by selecting Notes from the Column List and checking the Show checkbox. To add a custom column that displays the actual contents of notes, continue with Step 3.

  3. Use the plus (+) button to add a new column.

  4. Specify a Column Name of your choice, such as Status. (Although using a name that matches the property specified in Step 5 is advisable, you can use any name you like for the column heading.)

  5. In the Associate with Design Note field, specify the Name portion of the name/value pair you want to display in this column. You can pick a predefined name ( Assigned , Due , Status , or Priority ) from the pop-up menu, or enter a custom name (which should match a name/value pair used commonly across all your Design Notes, not the name of a specific document). Pick Status to extract the status field from the Basic Info tab of the Design Notes. To display the full text of the Notes field, enter notes (it isn't one of the pop-up menu options, but it corresponds to the comments entered into Design Notes).

  6. Enable the Show checkbox for this item.

  7. You can also set the column alignment and choose whether to share the column configuration publicly .

  8. Click OK to close the File View Columns dialog box.

  9. In the Design Notes dialog box associated with each document, provide a value for the name/value pair used in Step 5. For example, you might choose a status from the Status pop-up menu under the Basic Info tab or assign a value to a custom name/value pair under the All Info tab. See the previous section for details.

The columns you create in the File View Columns category of the Site Definition dialog box are shown in the Site Files window. You can sort files in the Local Files pane of the Site Files window by clicking on the column headings. For example, you can sort files according to which have Design Notes or according to their status or priority fields (if you've created appropriate custom columns for these). If you've enabled the Upload Design Notes for Sharing option, Design Notes is uploaded to the server and made available in the Remote Files pane of the Site Files window.

Design Notes can also be sorted and searched using the Design Notes Report, explained in Section 6.9 later in this chapter.

6.5.4 Removing Design Notes

Design Notes are stored in .mno files (which are just XML files). Dreamweaver stores .mno files in _notes folders (one for each folder of your site, including its local root folder). Of course, Dreamweaver handles the housekeeping for you, so you usually don't have to worry about this issue.

You can delete unwanted Design Notes in several ways:

  • To delete a Design Note attached to an individual file, use File figs/u2192.gif Design Notes to open the Design Notes dialog box. Click on the All Info tab in this dialog box and then use the minus (-) button to delete all properties listed in the Info field. Once you've deleted all the contents, click OK and Dreamweaver will delete the entire .mno file.

  • To delete Design Notes associated with files that no longer exist, use the Clean Up button in the Design Notes category of the Site Definition dialog box.

  • To delete Design Notes en masse, delete one or more .mno files in the _notes folders scattered throughout your site's local folder and its subfolders . The Site figs/u2192.gif Define Sites figs/u2192.gif Remove command, which deletes a site definition, also deletes Design Notes for the site but leaves behind the empty _notes folders. (You'll have to use the Windows File Explorer or the Macintosh Finder to delete the folders.)

Dreamweaver in a Nutshell
Dreamweaver in a Nutshell
Year: 2005
Pages: 208

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