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Using layers in Dreamweaver CS4


lagerfox
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I am new to webdesign - I just finished a course in Dreamweaver 8. In that course, I was taught how to design using layers that I could drag around the page similarly to the way I could drag things around in photoshop. However, when I tried to find this function in CS4 I found that it was no longer in the menu, only create new "div tag" which I know is similar but not exactly the same thing (I couldn't position it like I was hoping). I also was taught that I could add the pre-fabbed "flash buttons" to my navigation bar to create a bar that would change upon linking, rolling over etc. I found that this no longer exists either and has been replaced by "Spry".

 

Sorry to ask such a newbie question but I took that course to fulfill a job and now - having believed that I could create a website using a design I had already come up with in photoshop would be easy - I find it takes me all day just to lay down a few elements because nothing from Dreamweaver 8 has survived in CS4 - or at least anywhere I can find it.

 

My question is: is there a way to place elements such as images or even tables where you want them on the page - simlarly to how you would do it in photoshop? I find it hard to believe that they elimated something so useful in the most up to date program and no tutorial that I can find provides any guidance on this.

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You realize Dreamweaver 8 was released in 2005, right? I'm not saying that what you learned isn't valid, but just be aware that a lot of things have changed since them, and some things won't apply.

 

"Layers" was a feature that was included in Dreamweaver to try to make it make it a bit easier for people to work with positioning. However, all layers are are absolutely positioned divs. Creating an entire site using absolutely positioned divs (without the aid of Dreamweaver) is quite a challenge, and not something that I would recommend to anyone. It makes things quite difficult to work with, and often doesn't take into account changing browser size, scrolling, etc. I'm not saying it is impossible, just that it is hard to work with.

 

The way I do all my layouts are through the use of divs and the CSS float property, and that is the way that most professionals do things now. Dreamweaver "layers" really don't exist any more, unless you want to create absolutely positioned divs by hand.

 

Div video: http://idea22.com/video/details/id/200708142374231780

Series on converting a photoshop mockup to a working HTML layout (near the bottom of the page): http://css-tricks.com/video-screencasts/

 

I really can't comment on Spry -- I believe it is a javascript based framework, along the lines of jQuery or Mootools. I personally use jQuery.

 

...anyone who reads this, feel free to chime in if you have comments or corrections to what I have said. I have used Dreamweaver 8, though I personally never learned Dreamweaver's "layers" functionality -- it never made much sense to me, and the code was always terribly messy -- I just read up on it.

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is there a way to place elements such as images or even tables where you want them on the page?

 

Use position: absolute; top: yyypx; left: zzzpx; for every element (div or table).

 

Falkencreative says that it's complicated, but not necessarily if you have a simple layout. Just make sure that each element has enough height so that if someone increases text size, the text doesn't overflow onto a lower element, because each one is fixed from the top left corner of the screen and doesn't take any notice of any other element's position, which is why falkencreative says most professionals now use position: relative where each element relates its position to others.

 

If you are a beginner, you may have more trouble with a flexible position: relative layout.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest WestWing

A related question from an equally stuck fairly amateur Dreamweaver 8 user - I'm just about to upgrade to CS4 and all our existing web pages for our business site that I manage have been designed using layers. Do I have to redo them? and if so, how - can I work with the existing layers or should I start from scratch (it's a big site... I'd really love not to have to redo it all...) Thanks a million

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A related question from an equally stuck fairly amateur Dreamweaver 8 user - I'm just about to upgrade to CS4 and all our existing web pages for our business site that I manage have been designed using layers. Do I have to redo them? and if so, how - can I work with the existing layers or should I start from scratch (it's a big site... I'd really love not to have to redo it all...) Thanks a million

 

Well, layers are just absolutely positioned divs. There really isn't anything technically wrong with them, except that they can be complicated to edit and work with. No, you don't HAVE to redo them... though you may have to eventually.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest robtommay

In reply to any one thinking of upgrading to Dreamweaver Cs4 from Dreamweaver8,

i say don't do it, i just did it and totally regret it, it does not matter that Dreamweaver8 was released in 2005

it is easier to use. I regret wasting my money on CS4

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  • 2 weeks later...

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