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Week: 1 At a Glance > In Review

Week 1. In Review

The past seven days have been a crash course in the Dreamweaver MX authoring environment. A great deal of information was covered, so let's take a look at the important things that you should have learned. If any of this remains unclear, you should review these portions of the text before continuing. Understanding the Dreamweaver MX environment and available HTML tools is of paramount importance in using the dynamic behaviors.

HTML Design Tools— The Dreamweaver MX Insert panel lets you quickly add and manipulate objects in the Dreamweaver MX design window. Clicking an item in the Insert panel will either directly add the item to the design, or present the users with a configuration dialog box so that they can choose the parameters needed to create the object. There are two modes of design—the standard mode and the layout mode. Using the layout mode, you can quickly define content regions within your document with pixel accuracy. Be sure that you are comfortable with using this mode and the other tools at your disposal to lay out HTML documents.

Properties Panel— The Properties panel lets you view and modify almost any attribute of an HTML tag from within the graphical Dreamweaver MX environment. This eliminates much of the need for an HTML reference because everything you would want to modify is presented visually. If you need a quick reference, Dreamweaver MX includes an extensive online help area for HTML, cascading style sheets, and JavaScript.

Timelines and DHTML— Dynamic HTML is a powerful combination of JavaScript and layers that makes it possible to create dynamic applications that run from within the client browser. Using the timeline, you can create time-based animations, or add actual interactivity with the Drag Layer behavior. Understanding these features, although not necessary for writing server-based behaviors, is important for deciding which portions of your code should run on the client and which should run on the server.

Database Design— The final days of the week introduce the concepts behind database design. In order to author effective database-driven applications, you must be able to create the data structures that drive the Web site. Being able to normalize your data is critical for the rest of the text. Without this information, you'll be unable to design an efficient backend for Dreamweaver MX to communicate with.


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