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Layout View

Dreamweaver Design view includes two separate modes of working: Standard view and Layout view. Layout view is an alternate way of viewing and working with documents containing table-based layouts, where the tables and cells appear more like rectangular boxes full of content than like HTML tables—something like the text boxes and picture boxes that print designers are familiar with from QuarkXPress and InDesign. To create the layout, draw some boxes. To adjust the layout after it’s been created, adjust the size and shape of your boxes. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Dreamweaver is creating and adjusting the HTML table code for you.

Note

Unfortunately, the Layout View feature has a bug (a flaw in the way the software functions), which was present in Dreamweaver 4 and was not fixed in Dreamweaver MX. When Dreamweaver writes table code from the design you create in Layout View, it often includes empty table cells, which look like this:

<td></td>

Empty table cells produce serious display problems in some browsers, and might cause your page to look very different than you expect or intend. Netscape 4 browsers, in particular, don’t display empty table cells well.

For this reason, we recommend that Layout View be used only when absolutely necessary, and when it is used, that the empty table cells be filled with either a non-breaking space character (&nbsp;) or a single-pixel GIF spacer. This can be done by using Dreamweaver’s Find and Replace feature, or simply by reviewing the page code and adding the non-breaking spaces or GIFs manually.

There’s another problem with the code written by Dreamweaver when pages are designed in Layout View; it often specifies table heights and widths in pixels. As of this writing, the commonly used browsers do not all display table and cell heights and widths as specified in pixels.

If you do use Layout View, these height and width attributes should be removed. See the discussion on “Formatting Layout Tables,” later in this chapter for more on removing height values.



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