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Set up your computer for application development

  1. Dreamweaver User Guide
  2. Introduction
    1. Responsive web design basics
    2. What's new in Dreamweaver
    3. Web development using Dreamweaver - An Overview
    4. Dreamweaver / Common Questions
    5. Keyboard shortcuts
    6. Dreamweaver system requirements
    7. Feature summary
  3. Dreamweaver and Creative Cloud
    1. Synchronize Dreamweaver settings with Creative Cloud
    2. Creative Cloud Libraries in Dreamweaver
    3. Using Photoshop files in Dreamweaver
    4. Work with Adobe Animate and Dreamweaver
    5. Extract web-optimized SVG files from Libraries
  4. Dreamweaver workspaces and views
    1. The Dreamweaver workspace
    2. Optimize Dreamweaver workspace for visual development
    3. Search files based on filename or content | Mac OS
  5. Set up sites
    1. About Dreamweaver sites
    2. Set up a local version of your site
    3. Connect to a publishing server
    4. Set up a testing server
    5. Import and export Dreamweaver site settings
    6. Bring existing websites from a remote server to your local site root
    7. Accessibility features in Dreamweaver
    8. Advanced settings
    9. Set site preferences for transferring files
    10. Specify proxy server settings in Dreamweaver
    11. Synchronize Dreamweaver settings with Creative Cloud
    12. Using Git in Dreamweaver
  6. Manage files
    1. Create and open files
    2. Manage files and folders
    3. Getting and putting files to and from your server
    4. Check in and check out files
    5. Synchronize files
    6. Compare files for differences
    7. Cloak files and folders in your Dreamweaver site
    8. Enable Design Notes for Dreamweaver sites
    9. Preventing potential Gatekeeper exploit
  7. Layout and design
    1. Use visual aids for layout
    2. About using CSS to lay out your page
    3. Design responsive websites using Bootstrap
    4. Creating and using media queries in Dreamweaver
    5. Present content with tables
    6. Colors
    7. Responsive design using fluid grid layouts
    8. Extract in Dreamweaver
  8. CSS
    1. Understand Cascading Style Sheets
    2. Laying out pages using CSS Designer
    3. Using CSS preprocessors in Dreamweaver
    4. How to set CSS Style preferences in Dreamweaver
    5. Move CSS rules in Dreamweaver
    6. Convert inline CSS to a CSS rule in Dreamweaver
    7. Work with div tags
    8. Apply gradients to background
    9. Create and edit CSS3 transition effects in Dreamweaver
    10. Format code
  9. Page content and assets
    1. Set page properties
    2. Set CSS heading properties and CSS link properties
    3. Work with text
    4. Find and replace text, tags, and attributes
    5. DOM panel
    6. Edit in Live View
    7. Encoding documents in Dreamweaver
    8. Select and view elements in the Document window
    9. Set text properties in the Property inspector
    10. Spell check a web page
    11. Using horizontal rules in Dreamweaver
    12. Add and modify font combinations in Dreamweaver
    13. Work with assets
    14. Insert and update dates in Dreamweaver
    15. Create and manage favorite assets in Dreamweaver
    16. Insert and edit images in Dreamweaver
    17. Add media objects
    18. Adding videos in Dreamweaver
    19. Insert HTML5 video
    20. Insert SWF files
    21. Add audio effects
    22. Insert HTML5 audio in Dreamweaver
    23. Work with library items
    24. Using Arabic and Hebrew text in Dreamweaver
  10. Linking and navigation
    1. About linking and navigation
    2. Linking
    3. Image maps
    4. Troubleshoot links
  11. jQuery widgets and effects
    1. Use jQuery UI and mobile widgets in Dreamweaver
    2. Use jQuery effects in Dreamweaver
  12. Coding websites
    1. About coding in Dreamweaver
    2. Coding environment in Dreamweaver
    3. Set coding preferences
    4. Customize code coloring
    5. Write and edit code
    6. Code hinting and code completion
    7. Collapse and expand code
    8. Reuse code with snippets
    9. Lint code
    10. Optimize code
    11. Edit code in Design view
    12. Work with head content for pages
    13. Insert server-side includes in Dreamweaver
    14. Using tag libraries in Dreamweaver
    15. Importing custom tags into Dreamweaver
    16. Use JavaScript behaviors (general instructions)
    17. Apply built-in JavaScript behaviors
    18. About XML and XSLT
    19. Perform server-side XSL transformations in Dreamweaver
    20. Performing client-side XSL transformations in Dreamweaver
    21. Add character entities for XSLT in Dreamweaver
    22. Format code
  13. Cross-product workflows
    1. Installing and using extensions to Dreamweaver
    2. In-App updates in Dreamweaver
    3. Insert Microsoft Office documents in Dreamweaver (Windows only)
    4. Working with Fireworks and Dreamweaver
    5. Edit content in Dreamweaver sites using Contribute
    6. Dreamweaver-Business Catalyst integration
    7. Create personalized email campaigns
  14. Templates
    1. About Dreamweaver templates
    2. Recognizing templates and template-based documents
    3. Create a Dreamweaver template
    4. Create editable regions in templates
    5. Create repeating regions and tables in Dreamweaver
    6. Use optional regions in templates
    7. Define editable tag attributes in Dreamweaver
    8. How to create nested templates in Dreamweaver
    9. Edit, update, and delete templates
    10. Export and import xml content in Dreamweaver
    11. Apply or remove a template from an existing document
    12. Edit content in Dreamweaver templates
    13. Syntax rules for template tags in Dreamweaver
    14. Set highlighting preferences for template regions
    15. Benefits of using templates in Dreamweaver
  15. Mobile and multiscreen
    1. Create media queries
    2. Changing page orientation for mobile devices
    3. Create web apps for mobile devices using Dreamweaver
  16. Dynamic sites, pages and web forms
    1. Understand web applications
    2. Set up your computer for application development
    3. Troubleshoot database connections
    4. Removing connection scripts in Dreamweaver
    5. Design dynamic pages
    6. Dynamic content sources overview
    7. Define sources of dynamic content
    8. Add dynamic content to pages
    9. Changing dynamic content in Dreamweaver
    10. Display database records
    11. Provide and troubleshoot live data in Dreamweaver
    12. Add custom server behaviors in Dreamweaver
    13. Building forms using Dreamweaver
    14. Use forms to collect information from users
    15. Create and enable ColdFusion forms in Dreamweaver
    16. Create web forms
    17. Enhanced HTML5 support for form elements
    18. Develop a form using Dreamweaver
  17. Building applications visually
    1. Build master and detail pages in Dreamweaver
    2. Build search and results pages
    3. Build a record insert page
    4. Build an update record page in Dreamweaver
    5. Building record delete pages in Dreamweaver
    6. Use ASP commands to modify database in Dreamweaver
    7. Build a registration page
    8. Build a login page
    9. Build a page that only authorized users can access
    10. Securing folders in Coldfusion using Dreamweaver
    11. Using ColdFusion components in Dreamweaver
  18. Test, preview, and publish websites
    1. Preview pages
    2. Preview Dreamweaver web pages on multiple devices
    3. Test your Dreamweaver site
  19. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues
    2. Known issues



Learn about web servers, databases, and understand how to set up your computer to develop a web application in Dreamweaver.

The user interface has been simplified in Dreamweaver and later. As a result, you may not find some of the options described in this article in Dreamweaver and later. For more information, see this article.

What you need to build web applications

To build web applications in Adobe Dreamweaver, you need the following software:

  • A web server
  • An application server that works with your web server  

In the context of web applications, the terms web server and application server refer to software, not hardware.  

  • If you want to use a database with your application, you require the following additional software:

  • A database system

  • A database driver that supports your database

    Several web hosting companies offer plans that let you use their software to test and deploy web applications. In some cases, you can install the required software on the same computer as Dreamweaver for development purposes. You can also install the software on a network computer (typically a Windows 2000 or XP computer) so that other developers on your team can work on a project.

    If you want to use a database with your web application, you must first connect to it.

Web server basics

To develop and test dynamic web pages, you need a functioning web server. A web server is software that serves web pages in response to requests from web browsers. A web server is sometimes called an HTTP server. You can install and use a web server on your local computer.

If you’re a Macintosh user, you can use the Apache web server already installed on your Macintosh.

Adobe does not provide technical support for third-party software such as Microsoft Internet Information Server. If you need assistance with a Microsoft product, please contact Microsoft technical support.

If you use Internet Information Server (IIS) to develop web applications, the default name of your web server is the name of your computer. You can change the server name by changing the name of your computer. If your computer has no name, the server uses the word localhost.

The server name corresponds to the server’s root folder, which (on a Windows computer) is most likely C:\Inetpub\wwwroot. You can open any web page stored in the root folder by entering the following URL in a browser running on your computer:


For example, if the server name is mer_noire and a web page called soleil.html is stored in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\, you can open the page by entering the following URL in a browser running on the local computer:


Remember to use forward slashes, not backslashes, in URLs.

You can also open any web page stored in any subfolder of the root folder by specifying the subfolder in the URL. For example, suppose the soleil.html file is stored in a subfolder called gamelan, as follows:


You can open this page by entering the following URL in a browser running on your computer:


When the web server is running on your computer, you can replace the server name with localhost. For example, the following URLs open the same page in a browser:



Another expression you can use instead of the server name or localhost is (for example,

Choose a web server

To develop and test web applications, you can choose from a number of common web servers including Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) and Apache HTTP Server.

If you’re not using a web hosting service, choose a web server and install it on your local computer for development purposes. Windows and Macintosh users who want to develop ColdFusion web applications can use the web server included in the developer edition of the ColdFusion 8 application server, which you can install and use for free.

Other Windows users can run a web server on their local computer by installing IIS. This web server may already be installed on your system. Check your folder structure to see if it contains a C:\Inetpub or D:\Inetpub folder. IIS creates this folder during installation.

Mac OS users can use the local Apache web server installed with the operating system.

For information on installing and configuring other web servers, see the server vendor’s documentation or your system administrator.

Choose an application server

An application server is software that helps a web server process dynamic pages. When choosing an application server, you should consider several factors, including your budget, the server technology you want to use (ColdFusion, ASP, or PHP), and the type of web server.


Some vendors sell high‑end application servers that are expensive to buy and administer. Others vendors provide easier, more cost-effective solutions (an example is ColdFusion). Some application servers are built into web servers (such as Microsoft IIS) and others can be downloaded for free from the Internet (such as PHP).

Server technology

Application servers use different technologies. Dreamweaver supports three server technologies: ColdFusion, ASP, and PHP. The following table shows common application servers available for the server technologies supported by Dreamweaver:

Server technology

Application server


Adobe ColdFusion 8


Microsoft IIS


PHP server

To learn more about ColdFusion, select ColdFusion Help from the Help menu.

To learn more about ASP, visit the Microsoft website at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa286483.aspx.

To learn more about PHP, visit the PHP website at www.php.net/.

Choose a database

Databases come in many forms depending upon the amount and the complexity of the data they must store. When choosing a database, you should consider several factors, including your budget and the number of users you anticipate will access the database.


Some vendors produce high‑end application database servers that are expensive to buy and administer. Others vendors provide easier, more cost-effective solutions, such as Microsoft Access or the open-source database MySQL.


If you anticipate a large user community accessing the site, select a database designed to support your site’s intended user base. For websites requiring greater flexibility in their data modeling, and the ability to support large, concurrent user communities, consider server-based relational databases (typically referred to as RDBMS) like Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

Set up a ColdFusion development environment

For detailed instructions on setting up a ColdFusion development environment for Dreamweaver on your Windows or Mac computer, see the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/articles/setup_cf.html.

Both Windows and Macintosh users can download and install a free, fully functional, developer edition of the ColdFusion application server from the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/coldfusion/.

The Developer Edition is for non-commercial use for developing and testing web applications. It is not licensed for deployment. It supports requests from the local host and two remote IP addresses. You can use it to develop and test your web applications as long as you want; the software does not expire. For more information, see ColdFusion help (Help > ColdFusion Help).

During installation, you can configure ColdFusion to use the web server built into ColdFusion or another web server installed on your system. Generally, it’s best to match your development environment to your production environment. Therefore, if you have an existing web server such as Microsoft IIS on your development computer, you may want to use it instead of the built‑in ColdFusion web server.

Set up a PHP development environment

For detailed instructions on setting up a PHP development environment for Dreamweaver on your Windows or Mac computer, see the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/articles/setup_php.html.

Editions of the PHP application server exist for Windows, Linux, UNIX, HP‑UX, Solaris, and Mac OS X systems. For more information on the application server, see the PHP documentation, which you can also download from the PHP website at www.php.net/download-docs.php.

Set up an ASP development environment

For detailed instructions on setting up an ASP development environment for Dreamweaver on your Windows or Mac computer, see the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/articles/setup_asp.html.

To run ASP pages, you need an application server that supports Microsoft Active Server Pages 2.0., such as Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services), which comes with Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional. Windows XP Professional users can install and run IIS on their local computer. Macintosh users can use a web hosting service with an ASP plan or install IIS on a remote computer.

Create a root folder for the application

After signing up with a web hosting company or setting up the server software yourself, create a root folder for your web application on the computer running the web server. The root folder can be local or remote, depending on where your web server is running.

The web server can serve any file in this folder or in any of its subfolders in response to an HTTP request from a web browser. For example, on a computer running ColdFusion 8, any file in the \ColdFusion8\wwwroot folder or any of its subfolders can be served to a web browser.

The following are the default root folders of selected web servers:

Web server

Default root folder

ColdFusion 8




Apache (Windows)


Apache (Macintosh)


To test the web server, place a test HTML page in the default root folder and attempt to open it by entering the page’s URL in a browser. The URL comprises the domain name and the filename of the HTML page, as follows: www.example.com/testpage.htm.

If the web server is running on your local computer, you can use localhost instead of a domain name. Enter one of the following localhost URLs to match your web server:

Web server

Localhost URL

ColdFusion 8




Apache (Windows)


Apache (Macintosh)

http://localhost/~MyUserName/testpage.htm (where MyUserName is your Macintosh user name)


By default the ColdFusion web server runs on port 8500 and the Apache web server for Windows runs on port 80.

If the page doesn’t open as expected, check for the following errors:

  • The web server is not started. Consult the web server’s documentation for starting instructions.

  • The file does not have an .htm or .html extension.

  • You entered the page’s file path (for example, c:\ColdFusion8\wwwroot\testpage.htm), not its URL (for example, http://localhost:8500/testpage.htm), in the browser’s address text box.

  • The URL contains a typing mistake. Check for errors and make sure the filename is not followed by a slash, such as http://localhost:8080/testpage.htm/.

    After creating a root folder for your application, define a Dreamweaver site to manage your files.

About defining a Dreamweaver site

After configuring your system to develop web applications, define a Dreamweaver site to manage your files.

Before you start, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • You have access to a web server. The web server can be running on your local computer, on a remote computer such as a development server, or on a server maintained by a web hosting company.

  • An application server is installed and running on the system running your web server.

  • You created a root folder for your web application on the system running your web server.

Defining a Dreamweaver site for your web application consists of three steps:

1. Define a local folder

The local folder is the folder you use to store working copies of site files on your hard disk. You can define a local folder for each new web application you create. Defining a local folder also gives you the ability to manage your files and to transfer files to and from your web server easily.

2. Define a remote folder

Define a folder located on the computer running your web server as a Dreamweaver remote folder. The remote folder is the folder you created for your web application on the web server.

3. Define a testing folder

Dreamweaver uses this folder to generate and display dynamic content and connect to databases while you work. The testing server can be your local computer, a development server, a staging server, or a production server. As long as it can process the kind of dynamic pages you plan to develop, the choice doesn’t matter.

After the Dreamweaver site is defined, you can start building your web application.


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