Setting up a Dreamweaver Site Definition

This class explores many great DW CS5 features that simplify the development of server-based web applications.   There are many useful features that become available in DW by using  Site Definitions, such as local caching, the Assets Panel features and the ability to autocreate links using either relative or site absolute referencing. Many Dreamweaver Site  features are available only if you are working within a Dreamweaver Site where you have defined a Testing Server.  This post is a step by step guide to creating a Dreamweaver Site definition with a Testing Server.   This Site Defintion will be used to manage your website throughout the semester. First let’s look at these terms:

Dreamweaver Sites

A Dreamweaver Site is a set of information about where and how the files of your site are organized.  Using the Sites features of DW really comes in handy when you need to manage many different sites on different servers.   CS5 simplified site definitions quite a bit. (watch video below)
A Dreamweaver Site has a name, and tracks the root folder of your website on your local computer; and the root and login information for  the production server and  testing servers for the site.

Dreamweaver sites can be defined, deleted, edited, exported and imported (using .ste files).  Once a site is set up, you typically interact with the site through the Files Panel and the Assets Panel.

Dreamweaver Testing Servers

Setting up Testing Servers in DW  allow you to keep a parallel version of your files on a server (i.e. proofs) in a separate root folder from your production site.   But even more importantly, they can be set up with information about the server programming components of your website  so  DW can introspect your code and provide better features to help you code your site.  All you need to do is choose PHP MySQL in the advanced tab of the server setup dialog and you will have a test server defined for this class.

Once your testing server is set up, you can test it using the Live View feature of the Dreamweaver Design View window.   Pages 53-54 of the testbook explain how to do this.  In class on January 20 we got to do some troubleshooting on my own testing server and took a few shots until we got Live View working.    Once Live View is working, you know your testing server is ready to go.

Setting Up Your Site – Step by Step

  • Click the Manage Sites button and choose a name and local root folder for your website.
  • For this class you only need to set up a testing server.   Enter your account information, test the connection, and click the advanced tab to choose the PHP MySQL server model.
  • Connect to your student server account, and create a new folder on the server with a name such as adv-dw.
  • The student server has limited file storage capacity, so delete any unnecessary folders or files from previous classes (you may want to first download and store them locally as an archive of your work.)
  • Edit  your Dreamweaver Site definition to set the root folder of your testing server to adv-dw.
  • Export the definition as a backup and you are ready to start working on your projects.

Once your site is set up, you will work with it primarily in the Files Panel, where you can easily switch from one site to another using the drop list.


Step by Step Site Setup tutorial by David Powers

Setting up a local testing server by David Powers

3 comments for “Setting up a Dreamweaver Site Definition

  1. January 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I made some minor additions to this post. Let me know if you have any questions.

  2. Mitch Vetter
    January 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Just a quick question for anybody who might have dealt with this before:
    I usually click the check-box for “automatically upload files to server on save”. This speeds up the precess (for me anywhoo) of maintaining the most relevant and recent incarnation of my work on a server, rather then having to manually synchronize everything. I know, DW has a synchronize function….but have you u used it? I don’t like it. Im one of those people who have a hard time coming to terms with having to do more work than i previously had to, just to achieve the same results…! Anyways, Could this issue be due to the fact that we’ve designated a testing server rather than a remote server?

    Well, thanks to any and all who may have some enlightening paraphrase of a google search or something that I couldnt find…


  3. January 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I’m not sure what the issue is? You can set this option in CS5 in the remote server advanced setup panel

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