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Chapter 11. Layers in Dreamweaver > Introduction to Layers

Introduction to Layers

When you think of layers, if the first thing that comes to mind are digital imaging programs—stop. Although a stacking order is associated with Dreamweaver layers, they're better known for alternative web page design options than they are for creating collages and masking effects. Layers in the world of web design means freedom from messy table workarounds and total control of content layout. To achieve this, layers expose properties for precise placement of elements on the page. Even better, layers offer a third dimension, much like their names suggest. This dimension is called the z-index, ripped from geometric practices based on x, y, and z coordinates. The higher a layer's z-index value, the closer it appears to the front of the screen. The lower the z-index value, the further away it seems, resulting in an item closer to the background.

Precise placement of elements on the page? Why would you ever fumble with tabled structures again? This is the question that plagues designers and developers. The answer lies in your user's target browser, which, for the most part, is impossible to know. For layers to be visible in a browser, the browser must be a 4.0 or later version of Netscape or Internet Explorer. For advanced properties exposed by layers to be viewed correctly, the browser must be a newer browser version such as Netscape 7, Internet Explorer 6, or Firefox 1. Figure 11.1 shows the Dorknozzle website design using layers in Firefox.


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