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Chapter 8. Setting Up Optional and Repeat Regions

Chapter 8. Setting Up Optional and Repeat Regions

The combination of a locked template with editable regions is a potent one, especially for Macromedia Contribute users. However, the sole use of editable regions leads to a certain rigidity in page layout: Content contributors can modify the page only in the precise areas that you designate. It's not uncommon for the page requirements to change from time to time; modest variations in design keep an audience interested and benefit special needs. For example, when an online product is reduced in price, an “On Sale Now!” banner is often appropriate. Naturally, as a designer, you want to control both the look of the banner and its placement on the page. Editable regions, by themselves, are rather limited in this regard.

One goal to strive for in template design is to strike a balance between consistent design and flexible layout. Two advanced Dreamweaver template features—optional regions and repeating regions—go a long way toward reaching that goal. An optional region is a template area that's conditionally inserted into or removed from a child page at design-time. You can even control whether the content within a specific optional region is used. The optional region is directly enabled through the Template Properties dialog box. Optional regions can also be controlled by the state of another optional region; for example, if the “On Sale Now!” banner is enabled, another area displaying the everyday discount could be disabled. Both of these methods for controlling optional regions are covered in this lesson; a more advanced technique using template expressions is discussed in Lesson 9.


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