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Editing hand-coded files
derek mcgilvray

 7:50 pm on Jul 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

A friend wants to know if it's possible to edit ANY website using Dreamweaver, even those which have not been written using it. He wants to be able to edit in 'design mode', but design view is blank. Should it be possible?

Having never used dreamweaver, I said I'd find out but haven't found an answer so far - can anyone comment?




 10:14 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

The short answer is yes...

...but it will depend on the source of the files and how they are compiled. for example DW users often employ static includes (library files) and templates to pages.

If these pages were then edited in Frontpage (also possible) the link correlation between the templates and the children may be lost. And vice versa.

Simple text and markup alterations can be carried out with DW in code view, the same goes for any text editor like notepad.

I recommend that you find out how the original files were created, and what technology has been applied. This will influence whether you think it will be safe to edit them outside of their originator software.

edit - added

Just re-read the title of this message - if the files are hand coded and are not showing up in design view in DW (MX?) it would indicate they are using a server side script like PHP. DW does not render server code in design view - it can only be rendered using a testing server and is a little more complicated.

Maybe you could post a snippet of the code so we can see what you are dealing with?

derek mcgilvray

 10:28 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that.

I know he got someone to hand-code his entire site and now he wants to be able to edit in design mode because he doesn't know basic html. Will this be difficult?


 10:46 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's not hard to learn HTML. But it takes a certain aptitude and dedication to become efficient web developer - it can take many weeks of hair pulling just to get your head round the simpler stuff.

If the client has a reasonable knowledge of computers and is not afraid to try their hand, then having a go themselves is an option.

But if the site is doing well now, and the code is quite complex then it might not be the be place to start. Mistakes can be expensive to rectify.

Assuming they are honest, the best person to quiz about this would be the original designer/developer - because their understanding of the site markup/server code will be better than anyones.


 12:31 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

He should save a page off the site and open it in DW and see what you have.

derek mcgilvray

 7:16 pm on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

He's just tried that - he can see the html code but only a blank screen in design view. Does that mean it's not possible?


 7:51 pm on Jul 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have minimal knowledge of HTML, but it is growing quickly. After making my first website using Antenna Studio, I started discovering the limitations of Antenna, particularly the code which it rendered was not very cross compatible at all between browsers; I made the site to work best in Firefox, and it would not work well at all in IE. I switched to dreamweaver and imported my site into it from my local system, and had no problem editing any part of it.
To answer your question directly, YES, DreamWeaver should have no problem editing a hand coded site, providing ALL dependant files and images etc. are also available for DW to access. In my experience, a site of purely HTML should be viewable in design view.
Have you tried opening the site (one page at a time) in Dreamweaver from the online address? This also works well, though this way you may not get the dependant files, just the view, which you can edit and save.
And as a previous poster indicated, if there is a php or server included stuff, it will not show up on local machine, unless you have installed a testing server and the necessary script languages.

[edited by: GrapefruiTgirl at 7:54 pm (utc) on July 29, 2006]

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