Web development using Dreamweaver

High-level workflow outlining the design and development of websites using Dreamweaver

This article helps you understand how you can complete various stages or phases of web development using Dreamweaver.


This article assumes that you have a beginner to intermediate level of understanding of the web domain, and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  1. The first stage in web development is the planning phase in which you analyze the audience needs, technical, and marketing requirements. You also gather necessary information required for designing and publishing your website and have answers for questions like some of these:

    • Which service provider do I choose for hosting the website? Do I have access to upload files to the publishing server?
    • What domain name is to be used for the website?
    • In case you are migrating existing websites into Dreamweaver, where are the files and assets stored currently? Do I have access to the server where this information is stored?
    • If you want a dynamic website, which server can I use to test if data is being displayed dynamically? Do I have the details of the web application server that I want to use for loading dynamic data?
    • What kind of assets are required for the website?
    • Will these be assets designed from scratch? If the assets are already available, do I have access to them?
    • What apps do I want to use for designing assets?
    • Do I plan to create a responsive website? 

    Assuming that you have a clear understanding of the website you want to develop and how and where you want to host it, and have chosen Dreamweaver and Creative Cloud for the web development process, proceed to the next step.

  2. Check if you have all the assets required for your website. Gather and organize them together in your local folders or in Adobe's Creative Cloud Libraries.

  3. Create a new document in Dreamweaver using:

    • A new blank document,
    • Starter templates packaged with Dreamweaver, or 
    • Template files (*.dwt) created by someone else

    If you are not familiar with Dreamweaver or just learning web development, starter templates are a great help in getting you up and running with designing web pages.

    Even if you are planning to start from scratch, it is a good idea to peek a little into these pages to understand the elements of a good web page design.

  4. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the Dreamweaver workspace. Find a workspace you are comfortable with, and set a color theme. Reorganize the different panels in a way that suits you.

  5. Set up your site in Dreamweaver. Set about creating a folder structure with files and assets. After you’ve organized your information and determined a structure, you can begin creating your site. (See About Dreamweaver sites.)

    At this stage, it is a good idea to also set up connections to remote servers, and set up testing servers (if you have dynamic content). 

  6. Start coding your web pages in Code view, or designing them in Design / Live view.

    If you plan to use Photoshop comps, you can extract them into Dreamweaver and work on them too. For more information on working with Photoshop comps, see Extract in Dreamweaver.

    Add design elements such as text, images, rollover images, image maps, colors, movies, sound, HTML links, tables, and more.

  7. Style the appearance of your web page using CSS. 

    You can work with CSS in different ways in Dreamweaver:

    • You can hand code the CSS. For information on Dreamweaver's coding features that help you hand code your CSS, see Coding environment in Dreamweaver.
    • If you are not very familiar with creating CSS pages, you can use the CSS Designer panel to help build your CSS. For more information, see Laying out pages using CSS Designer.
    • If you prefer to work with Sass and Less files, Dreamweaver supports that option as well, allowing you to bring in Sass and Less files into your Dreamweaver site, and work with them. Dreamweaver then autocompiles them (or you can choose to manually compile them) and see the results of your CSS changes in real time. For information on using Sass and Less files with Dreamweaver, see CSS preprocessors.
  8. Set up a web application for creating dynamic content.

    Many websites contain dynamic pages that allow visitors to view information stored in databases, and usually allow some visitors to add new information and edit information in the databases. To create such pages, you must first set up a web server and application server, create or modify a Dreamweaver site, and connect to a database. For more information, see Dynamic sites, pages and web forms.

  9. Create dynamic pages.

    In Dreamweaver, you can define a variety of sources of dynamic content, including recordsets extracted from databases, form parameters, and JavaBeans components. To add the dynamic content to a page, simply drag it on to the page.

    You can set your page to display one record or many records at a time, display more than one page of records, add special links to move from one page of records to the next (and back), and create record counters to help users keep track of the records. For more information, see Dynamic sites, pages and web forms.

  10. Test, preview, and publish your website. 

    As you create pages, you need to preview them to see that your website is progressing according to the design. You can code in Split view keeping your Code and Live views side-by-side.

    You can also preview web pages in real-time on a browser.

    If you don't need a live preview experience, you can use the regular preview in-browser experience.

    If you have already defined connections to remote servers, then to publish your website, you need to put your files in the remote server to make them live.

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