Design dynamic pages in Dreamweaver
Design dynamic pages in Dreamweaver.


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

Prerequisites to building dynamic websites

Before you begin building dynamic web pages, there are a few preparations that must be done, including setting up a web application server and connecting to a database for Coldfusion, ASP, and PHP applications. Adobe Dreamweaver handles database connections differently depending on your server technology.


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

Dreamweaver and dynamic page design

Follow these general steps to successfully design and create a dynamic website.

  1. Design the page.

    A key step in designing any website—whether static or dynamic—is the visual design of the page. When adding dynamic elements to a web page, the design of the page becomes crucial to its usability. You should carefully consider how users will interact with both individual pages and the website as a whole.

    A common method of incorporating dynamic content into a web page is to create a table to present content, and import dynamic content into one or more of the table’s cells. Using this method you can present information of various types in a structured format.

  2. Create a source of dynamic content.

    Dynamic websites require a content source from which to extract data before they can display it on a web page. Before you can use content sources in a web page, you must do the following:

    • Create a connection to the dynamic content source (such as a database) and the application server processing the page. Create the data source by using the Bindings panel; then you can select and insert the data source in the page.

    • Specify what information in the database you want to display, or what variables to include in the page by creating a recordset. You can also test the query from within the Recordset dialog box, and make any needed adjustments before adding it to the Bindings panel.

    • Select and insert dynamic content elements into the selected page.

  3. Add dynamic content to a web page.

    After you define a recordset or other data source, and add it to the Bindings panel, you can insert the dynamic content the recordset represents into the page. The Dreamweaver menu-driven interface makes adding dynamic content elements as easy as selecting a dynamic content source from the Bindings panel, and inserting it into an appropriate text, image, or form object within the current page.

    When you insert a dynamic content element or other server behavior into a page, Dreamweaver inserts a server-side script into the page’s source code. This script instructs the server to retrieve data from the defined data source and render it within the web page. To place dynamic content within a web page, you can do one of the following:

    • Place it at the insertion point in either Code or Design view.

    • Replace a text string or other placeholder.

      Insert it into an HTML attribute. For example, dynamic content can define the src attribute of an image or the value attribute of a form field.

  4. Add server behaviors to a page.

    In addition to adding dynamic content, you can incorporate complex application logic into web pages by using server behaviors. Server behaviors are predefined pieces of server-side code that add application logic to web pages, providing greater interaction and functionality.

    The Dreamweaver server behaviors let you add application logic to a website without having to write the code yourself. The server behaviors supplied with Dreamweaver support ColdFusion, ASP, and PHP document types. The server behaviors are written and tested to be fast, secure, and robust. The built‑in server behaviors support cross-platform web pages for all browsers.

    Dreamweaver provides a point-and-click interface that makes applying dynamic content and complex behaviors to a page as easy as inserting textual and design elements. The following server behaviors are available:

    • Define a recordset from an existing database. The recordset you define is then stored in the Bindings panel.

    • Display multiple records on a single page. You select either an entire table or individual cells or rows that contain dynamic content, and specify the number of records to display on each page view.

    • Create and insert a dynamic table into a page, and associate the table with a recordset. You can later modify both the table’s appearance and the repeating region by using the Property inspector and Repeating Region Server Behavior, respectively.

    • Insert a dynamic text object into a page. The text object you insert is an item from a predefined recordset, to which you can apply any of the data formats.

    • Create record navigation and status controls, master/detail pages, and forms for updating information in a database.

    • Display more than one record from a database record.

    • Create recordset navigation links that allow users to view the previous or next records from a database record.

    • Add a record counter to help users keep track of how many records were returned, and where they are in the returned result.

    You can also extend Dreamweaver server behaviors by writing your own, or installing server behaviors written by third parties.

  5. Test and debug the page.

    Before making a dynamic page—or an entire website—available on the web, you should test its functionality. You should also consider how your application’s functionality might affect people with disabilities.