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First steps

Directory structure

You need to plan your site. Most sites have an entry page; index.htm in the root directory. This then has links to the rest of the site in sub-directories of the root. This seems like a good idea; it keeps the root directory uncluttered and gives a natural hierarchy to the site.


Dreamweaver is good at site control. I suggest one (or more) templates that are attached to all of your pages. Normally you'd want to create a table (this page is set in a 2X3 table) where only one section is editable. The rest is as per the template... update the template and everything non-editable is updated too. Alternatively, the navigation may be such that you want it editable so that it changes for every page (www.another-planet.com uses this).


Frames lend themselves fairly well to layout of a page. Unfortunately, their layout changes between browsers and seach engines find them difficult to handle (see search engines).

Cascading Style Sheets

These seem to work very well. You can configure a standard html tag to have specific properties, or you can add styles of your own to existing tags. Check out this directory to see what I mean.. these are the tags and template for this web site. You may notice that the .css file is within the template. Every page attached to this template has the styles of this .css file, change one attribute and the whole lot will change too... neat if you want it, a pain if you haven't planned for it.

Start your pages

You're ready to go. Remember to put an index.htm file in every directory. Files can have the extension .htm or .html. Don't mix them. The .htm comes from our friend, Mr Microsoft, having 3 letter extensions, we can live with that.


Ha! The www is public domain, ask any record company about the mp3 scandal. You can put a copyright notice on your site, on every page. It may make a difference, it probably won't, but, you have no defence if you don't! Basically, don't put anything sensitive on your site.

Exported files

You can make a document in, for example, Word and then export the html. Dreamweaver has a tool set to extract the Microsoft specific code from the garbage that is output. Unfortunately, you never know what it'll look like in Netscape or in different screen sizes. I suggest just copying the text and laying it out as you wish.


Aren't fonts great! You never knew what they were until you had the choice, and now there's loads of them.. well sort of. A browser can only show fonts that are available on the host machine. If its not available the default font will be shown.. all that work for nothing. Stick to the basic fonts available on most machines, or font families that are available in Dreamweaver. Remember, there are a lot of Mac computers out their that have no windows fonts at all!

Remember, keep it simple.

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Last modified: August 14, 2006