How to Manage Files with Dreamweaver Sites - dummies

By David Karlins, Doug Sahlin

Without careful file management, images on your web pages will appear as blank boxes, your videos won’t play, your links will lead to error messages, and your creative design and compelling content will all go to waste.

File management is one of the most important things that Dreamweaver does for you. Here’s why: You create a website (in Dreamweaver, but this applies more generally) on your own computer. You make the site available to the world by uploading it to a server.

That server is a powerful computer that stores your site content and makes it available to anyone who visits your website. And one of the things Dreamweaver does is manage the transfer of files from your computer to your remote hosting server, making sure each file gets safely from your computer to the server.

So, before diving into the how-tos of defining and working within a Dreamweaver site, take a minute to see why it’s so critical that all your work in Dreamweaver be done within a defined site.

For the most part, after you define a Dreamweaver site, that defined site does its thing invisibly, in the background, making sure that linked and embedded files stay linked and embedded.

Here’s a quick look at some of the work that a Dreamweaver site does, humming along on the background as you define and design web pages. Dreamweaver sites do the following:

  • Manage files. Dreamweaver sites update links within pages when you rename or move a file, thus preventing embedded images, video, or links from becoming corrupted.

  • Manage links. Typically, every page you create in Dreamweaver (and beyond that, any web page in general) involves as many as dozens of links — clickable elements (such as text or images) that, when clicked, open other pages within and outside your site. As long as you create and work within a Dreamweaver site, all those links are created automatically.

  • Upload your site. When it comes time to upload the site you build on your own computer to a remote server accessible to the world, your Dreamweaver site will manage all the file transfer issues.

  • Move your site. If you want to move your local site (the one on your own computer) to another computer, Dreamweaver’s site tools make that process smooth and painless.

  • Manage file transfer. Dreamweaver sites do the work of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) programs for moving files between your computer and your remote (online) site. So, using third-party FTP programs, like FileZilla, aren’t necessary if you’re using Dreamweaver.

  • And more. Dreamweaver sites enable sitewide tools like spell checking, search-and-replace, collaboration within teams of designers (to make sure two people don’t edit the same file at the same time), and error checking.

The integrity of linkages within your site (and between your site and other sites) is ensured if — but only if — you rely on Dreamweaver’s site tools. Or you can manually manage these linkages, but that would be a painful and tedious process.