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Dreamweaver Cs3 And Css

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a W3C standard mark-up language for defining the appearance of web pages. The use of CSS allows developers to fully separate the content of the page from its presentation, speeding up the development process and also making the pages load more quickly in the browser. Whereas 20th century websites typically used tables to construct web pages and position elements, CSS now provides a cleaner and more efficient way of controlling all aspects of web page layout.

The range of computer users who have some involvement in building web pages and web sites is vast and a good many of these users choose Dreamweaver as the software tool that helps them create the web content they need without needing to become an expert on underlying technologies such as CSS. Dreamweaver CS3 includes better support for Cascading Style Sheets than previous versions. However, there is still room for improvement.

Dreamweaver CS3 is the first version of the program which assumes that the user will want to use CSS to control the layout of their web pages. To assist inexperienced and would-be web developers, each time a new page is created, the program allows the user to choose allocate a preset CSS layout to the page. There are about 30 such layouts and they come in single, double and three column varieties.

Pages created using CSS rely heavily on the use of the HTML DIV element, a multipurpose container of web content. Choosing one of the Dreamweaver CSS presets creates a page containing a series of DIV elements complete with placeholder

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text and the CSS code necessary to control the position and dimension of the DIVs. The placeholder text and HTML code both contain brief explanations of the techniques used and advice on how to customise these basic pages for your own purposes.

The CSS code for pages created using Dreamweaver’s preset layouts is embedded in the page itself. If a user creates a series of such pages, each one will have its own CSS code making updating very time-consuming. It is far more efficient to have all of the CSS code in one external file and link each page to this one file. At present, Dreamweaver doesn’t really make this clear to new users. However, it does have an excellent feature for moving embedded CSS code into an external file. You simply select all of the CSS definitions you wish to externalise then choose Text – CSS Styles – Move CSS Rules.

This ability to move blocks of CSS is an excellent feature but one has to ask if new users will see its significance and actually use it. The fact is that, given the increasing importance of CSS and Dreamweaver’s role as the fledgling developers best friend, the program could use some improvement in the way it handles CSS.

It is also disappointing that Dreamweaver still automatically generates CSS styles called “style1″, etc. each time the user applies a font or colour to selected text. Surely it would be easier to simply remove these basic attributes and just let the user either apply a style to the selection or, if no styles exist, create a new one. Perhaps this will be introduced in the next release of this excellent program.

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