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Add custom server behaviors in Dreamweaver

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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.

About custom server behaviors

Dreamweaver comes with a set of built‑in server behaviors that lets you easily add dynamic capabilities to a site. You can extend the Dreamweaver functionality by creating server behaviors to suit your development needs, or by obtaining server behaviors from the Dreamweaver Exchange website.

Before creating your own server behaviors, you should check the Dreamweaver Exchange website to see if another party has already created a server behavior that supplies the functionality you’d like to add to your website. Often, a third-party developer has created and tested a server behavior that will address your needs.

Access Dreamweaver Exchange

  1. In Dreamweaver, access Dreamweaver Exchange in one of these ways:
    • Select Help > Dreamweaver Exchange.

    • Select Window > Server Behaviors, click the Plus (+) button, and select Get More Server Behaviors.

    The Dreamweaver Exchange web page opens in your browser.

  2. Log on to the Exchange using your Adobe ID, or, if you have not yet created a Dreamweaver Exchange ID for yourself, follow the instructions to open an Adobe account.

Install a server behavior or other extension in Dreamweaver

  1. Start the Extension Manager by selecting Commands > Manage Extensions.
  2. Select File > Install Package in the Extension Manager.

    For more information, see Using the Extension Manager.

Custom server behaviors workflow

If you are a web developer proficient in ColdFusion, JavaScript, VBScript, or PHP, you can write your own server behaviors. The steps to create a server behavior include the following tasks:

  • Write one or more code blocks that perform the required action.

  • Specify where the code block should be inserted within the page’s HTML code.

  • If the server behavior requires that a value be specified for a parameter, create a dialog box that prompts the web developer applying the behavior to supply an appropriate value.

  • Test the server behavior before making it available to others.

Use the Server Behavior Builder

Use the Server Behavior Builder to add the code block or blocks that the behavior inserts into a page.

  1. In the Server Behaviors panel (Window > Server Behaviors), click the Plus (+) button, and select New Server Behavior.
  2. From the Document Type pop‑up menu, select the document type that you are developing the server behavior for.
  3. In the Name box, enter a name for the server behavior.
  4. (Optional) To copy an existing server behavior to add to the behavior you are creating, select the Copy Existing Server Behavior option, and then select the server behavior in the Behavior to Copy pop‑up menu. Click OK.

    The Server Behavior Builder dialog box is displayed.

  5. To add a new code block, click the Plus (+) button, enter a name for the code block, and click OK.

    The name you enter appears in the Server Behavior Builder, with the appropriate scripting tags visible in the Code block box.

  6. In the Code Block box, enter the run-time code necessary to implement the server behavior.

    When entering code in the Code Block box, you can only insert a single tag or code block for each named code block (for example, myBehavior_block1, myBehavior_block2, myBehavior_blockn, etc.). If you have to enter multiple tags or code blocks, create an individual code block for each one. You can also copy and paste code from other pages.

  7. Place the insertion point in the code block where you’d like to insert the parameter, or select a string to replace with a parameter.
  8. Click the Insert Parameters in Code Block button.
  9. Enter a name for the parameter in the Parameter Name box (for example, Session), and click OK.

    The parameter is inserted into the code block at the location where you placed the insertion point prior to defining the parameter. If you selected a string, every instance of the selected string in the code block is replaced with a parameter marker (for example, @@Session@@).

  10. Select an option from the Insert Code pop‑up menu specifying where to embed the code blocks.
  11. (Optional) To specify additional information about the server behavior, click the Advanced button.
  12. To create more code blocks, repeat steps 5 through 11.
  13. If the server behavior requires that parameters be supplied to it, you must create a dialog box that accepts parameters from the person applying the behavior. See the link below.
  14. After you perform the required steps to create the server behavior, click OK.

    The Server Behaviors panel lists the server behavior.

  15. Test the server behavior and ensure that it functions properly.

Advanced options

After you specify the source code and insert location for each code block, the server behavior is completely defined. In most cases, you don’t need to specify any additional information.

If you are an advanced user, you can set any of the following options:


Specifies whether the code block should be treated as an identifier.

By default, every code block is an identifier. If Dreamweaver finds an identifier code block anywhere in a document, it lists the behavior in the Server Behaviors panel. Use the Identifier option to specify whether the code block should be treated as an identifier.

At least one of the server behavior’s code blocks must be an identifier. A code block should not be an identifier if one of the following conditions applies: the same code block is used by some other server behavior; or the code block is so simple that it might occur naturally on the page.

Server Behavior Title

Specifies the title of the behavior in the Server Behaviors panel.

When the page designer clicks the Plus (+) button on the Server Behaviors panel, the new server behavior’s title will appear in the pop‑up menu. When a designer applies an instance of a server behavior to a document, the behavior appears in the list of applied behaviors in the Server Behaviors panel. Use the Server Behavior Title box to specify the contents of the Plus (+) pop‑up menu and the list of applied behaviors.

The initial value in the box is the name you supplied in the New Server Behavior dialog box. As parameters are defined, the name is automatically updated so that the parameters appear inside parentheses after the server behavior name.

Set Session Variable (@@Name@@, @@Value@@)

If the user accepts the default value, everything before the parentheses appears in the Plus (+) pop‑up menu (for example, Set Session Variable). The name plus the parameters will appear in the list of applied behaviors—for example, Set Session Variable ("abcd", "5").

Code Block to Select

Specifies what code block is selected when the user selects the behavior in the Server Behaviors panel.

When you apply a server behavior, one of the code blocks within the behavior is designated the “code block to select.” If you apply the server behavior and then select the behavior in the Server Behaviors panel, the designated block is selected in the Document window. By default, Dreamweaver selects the first code block that is not above the html tag. If all the code blocks are above the html tag, then the first one is selected. Advanced users can specify which code block is the selected one.

Create code blocks

The code blocks you create in the Server Behavior Builder are encapsulated in a server behavior that appears in the Server Behaviors panel. The code can be any valid run-time code for the specified server model. For example, if you choose ColdFusion as the document type for your custom server behavior, the code you write must be valid ColdFusion code that runs on a ColdFusion application server.

You can create the code blocks either directly in the Server Behavior Builder, or you can copy and paste the code from other sources. Each code block you create in the Server Behavior Builder must be a single tag or script block. If you must insert multiple tag blocks, split them into separate code blocks.

Conditions in code blocks

Dreamweaver lets you develop code blocks that incorporate control statements that execute conditionally. The Server Behavior Builder uses if, elseif, and else statements, and may also contain server behavior parameters. This enables you to insert alternate text blocks based on the values of OR relationships among server behavior parameters.

The following example shows the if, elseif, and else statements. The square brackets ([ ]) denote optional code and the asterisk (*) denotes zero or more instances. To execute a portion of a code block or the entire code block only if a certain condition or conditions apply, use the following syntax:

<@ if (expression1) @>    conditional
text1[<@ elseif (expression2) @>    conditional text2]*[<@ else @> 
    conditional text3]<@ endif @>

Condition expressions can be any JavaScript expression that can be evaluated using the JavaScript eval() function, and may include a server behavior parameter marked by @@’s. (The @@’s distinguish the parameter from JavaScript variables and keywords.)

Effectively using conditional expressions

When using if, else, and elseif directives within the insertText XML tag, the participant text is preprocessed to resolve the if directives and to determine which text to include in the result. The if and elseif directives take the expression as an argument. The condition expression is the same as that for JavaScript condition expressions, and can also contain server behavior parameters. Directives such as this allow you to choose between alternative code blocks based on the values of, or relationships between, server behavior parameters.

For example, the following JSP code comes from a Dreamweaver server behavior that uses a conditional code block:

<@ if (@@callableName@@ != '') @> 
@@rsName@@ = @@callableName@@.getResultSet();<@ else @> 
@@rsName@@ = Statement@@rsName@@.executeQuery(); 
<@ endif @> 
@@rsName@@_hasData =;

The conditional code block starts with <@ if (@@callableName@@ != '') @> and ends with <@ endif @>. According to the code, if the user enters a value for the @@callableName@@ parameter in the server behavior's Parameter dialog box—in other words, if the @@callableName@@ parameter value is not null, or (@@callableName@@ != '')—then the conditional code block is replaced with the following statements:

@@rsName@@ = @@callableName@@.getResultSet();

Otherwise, the code block is replaced with the following statement:

@@rsName@@ = Statement@@rsName@@.executeQuery();

Position a code block

When you create code blocks using the Server Behavior Builder, you must specify where to insert them in the page’s HTML code.

For example, if you insert a code block above the opening <html> tag, you must then specify the code block’s position relative to other tags, scripts, and server behaviors in that section of the page’s HTML code. Typical examples include positioning a behavior either before or after any recordset queries that might also exist in the page code above the opening <html> tag.

When you select a positioning option from the Insert Code pop‑up menu, the options available in the Relative Position pop‑up menu change to provide relevant options for that part of the page. For example, if you select Above The <html> Tag In The Insert Code pop‑up menu, the positioning options available in the Relative Position pop‑up menu reflect choices relevant for that part of the page.

The following table shows the code block insert options, and the relative positioning options available for each:

Insert Code options

Relative position options

Above the <html> Tag

  • At the beginning of the file

  • Just before the recordsets

  • Just after the recordsets

  • Just above the <html> tag

  • Custom position

Below the </html> Tag

  • Before the end of the file

  • Before the recordset close

  • After the recordset close

  • After the </html> tag

  • Custom position

Relative to a Specific Tag

Select a tag from the Tag pop‑up menu, and then choose from the tag positioning options.

Relative to the Selection

Before the selection

After the selection

Replace the selection

Wrap the selection

To specify a custom position, you must assign a weight to the code block. Use the Custom Position option when you need to insert more than one code block in a particular order. For example, to insert an ordered series of three code blocks after the code blocks that open recordsets, you would enter a weight of 60 for the first block, 65 for the second, and 70 for the third.

By default, Dreamweaver assigns a weight of 50 to all recordset-opening code blocks inserted above the <html> tag. If the weight of two or more blocks match, Dreamweaver randomly sets the order among the blocks.

Position a code block (general instructions)

  1. Using the Server Behavior Builder, write a code block.
  2. In the Server Behavior Builder dialog box, select a position in which to insert the code block from the Insert Code pop‑up menu.
  3. In the Server Behavior Builder dialog box, select a position relative to that which you selected in the Insert Code pop‑up menu.
  4. If you complete the authoring of the code block, click OK.

    The server behavior is listed in the Server Behaviors panel (Window > Server Behavior); click the Plus (+) button to view the server behavior.

  5. Test the server behavior and ensure that it functions properly.

Position a code block relative to another tag on the page

  1. In the Insert Code pop‑up menu, select Relative To A Specific Tag.
  2. In the Tag box, enter the tag or select one from the pop‑up menu.

    If you enter a tag, don’t include the angled brackets (<>).

  3. Specify a location relative to the tag by choosing an option in the Relative Position pop‑up menu.

Position a code block relative to a tag selected by the page designer

  1. In the Insert Code pop‑up menu, select Relative To The Selection.
  2. Specify a location relative to the selection by choosing an option in the Relative Position pop‑up menu.

    You can insert your code block just before or just after the selection. You can also replace the selection with your code block, or you can wrap the code block around the selection.

    To wrap the code block around a selection, the selection must consist of an opening and closing tag with nothing in between, as follows:

    <CFIF Day=”Monday”></CFIF>

    Insert the opening tag piece of the code block before the selection’s opening tag and the closing tag piece of the code block after the selection’s closing tag.

Repeat code blocks with the loop directive

To repeat a portion of a code block or the entire code block a number of times, use the following syntax:

<@ loop (@@param1@@,@@param2@@) @>    code
block<@ endloop @>

When creating server behaviors, you can use looping constructs to repeat a code block a specified number of times. <@ loop (@@param1@@,@@param2@@,@@param3@@,@@param_n@@) @> code block <@ endloop @>The loop directive accepts a comma-separated list of parameter arrays as arguments. In this case, parameter array arguments allow a user to supply multiple values for a single parameter. The repeating text is duplicated n times, where n is the length of the parameter array arguments. If more than one parameter array argument is specified, all the arrays must have the same length. On the ith evaluation of the loop, the ith elements of the parameter arrays replace the associated parameter instances in the code block.

When you create a dialog box for the server behavior, you can add a control to the dialog box that lets the page designer create parameter arrays. Dreamweaver includes a simple array control that you can use to create dialog boxes. This control, called Text Field Comma Separated List, is available through the Server Behavior Builder. To create user interface elements of greater complexity, see the API documentation to create a dialog box with a control to create arrays (a grid control, for example).

You can nest any number of conditionals or a loop directive within a conditional directive. For example, you can specify that if an expression is true to execute a loop.

The following example shows how such repeating code blocks can be used to create server behaviors (the example is a ColdFusion behavior used to access a stored procedure):

<@ loop (@@param1@@,@@param2@@,@@param3@@,@@param_n@@) @>    code block 
<@ endloop @>
<CFSTOREDPROC procedure="AddNewBook" 
<CFPROCPARAM type="IN" dbvarname="@CategoryId" value="#Form.CategoryID#" 
<CFPROCPARAM type="IN" dbvarname="@ISBN" value="#Form.ISBN#" 

In this example, the CFSTOREDPROC tag can include zero or more CFPROCPARAM tags. However, without support for the loop directive, there is no way to include the CFPROCPARAM tags within the inserted CFSTOREDPROC tag. If this were to be created as a server behavior without the use of the loop directive, you would need to divide this example into two participants: a main CFSTOREDPROC tag, and a CFPROCPARAM tag whose participant type is multiple.

Using the loop directive, you can write the same procedure as follows:

<CFSTOREDPROC procedure="@@procedure@@" 
<@ loop (@@paramName@@,@@value@@,@@type@@) @> 
    <CFPROCPARAM type="IN" 
<@ endloop @> 

New lines after each “@>” are ignored.

If the user entered the following parameter values in the Server Behavior Builder dialog box:

procedure = "proc1" 
conn = "connection1" 
paramName = ["@CategoryId", "@Year", "@ISBN"] 
value = ["#Form.CategoryId#", "#Form.Year#", "#Form.ISBN#"] 

The server behavior would insert the following run-time code in the page:

<CFSTOREDPROC procedure="proc1" 
<CFPROCPARAM type="IN" dbvarname="@CategoryId" value="#Form.CategoryId#" 
<CFPROCPARAM type="IN" dbvarname="@Year" value="#Form.Year#" 
<CFPROCPARAM type="IN" dbvarname="@ISBN" value="#Form.ISBN#" 

Parameter arrays cannot be used outside of a loop except as part of a conditional directive expression.

Using the loop directive’s _length and _index variables

The loop directive includes two built‑in variables that you can use for embedded if conditions. The variables are: _length and _index. The _length variable evaluates to the length of the arrays processed by the loop directive, while the _index variable evaluates to the current index of the loop directive. To ensure that the variables are only recognized as directives, and not as actual parameters to be passed into the loop, do not enclose either variable in @@s.

An example of using built‑in variables is to apply them to the import attribute of the page directive. The import attribute requires comma separation of packages. If the loop directive extends around the entire import attribute, you would only output the attribute name import= on the first iteration of the loop—this includes the closing double quote (")—and not output a comma on the last iteration of the loop. Using the built‑in variable, you can express this as follows:

<@loop (@@Import@@)@> 
<@ if(_index == 0)@>import=" 
<@endif@>@@Import@@<@if (_index == _length-1)@>"<@else@>, 
<@ endif @> 

Request a parameter for the server behavior

Server behaviors often require that the page designer supply a parameter value. This value must be inserted before the server behavior’s code is inserted into the page.

You create the dialog box by defining the designer-supplied parameters in the code. Then you generate a dialog box for the server behavior, which prompts the page designer for a parameter value.


A parameter is added to your code block without your intervention if you specify that your code should be inserted relative to a specific tag chosen by the page designer (that is, you chose Relative to a Specific Tag in the Insert Code pop‑up menu). The parameter adds a tag menu to the behavior’s dialog box to let the page designer select a tag.

Define the parameter in the server behavior code

  1. Enter a parameter marker in the code where you want to insert the supplied parameter value. The parameter has the following syntax:
  2. Enclose the formParam string in parameter markers (@@):
    <% Session(“lang_pref”) = Request.Form(“@@formParam@@”); %>

    For example, if the server behavior contains the following code block:

    <% Session(“lang_pref”) = Request.Form(“Form_Object_Name”); %>

    To require the page designer to supply the value of Form_Object_Name, enclose the string in parameter markers (@@):<% Session(“lang_pref”) = Request.Form(“@@Form_Object_Name@@”); %>

    <% Session(“lang_pref”) = Request.Form(“@@Form_Object_Name@@”); %>

You can also highlight the string and click the Insert Parameter In Code Block button. Enter a parameter name and click OK. Dreamweaver replaces every instance of the highlighted string with the specified parameter name enclosed in parameter markers.

Dreamweaver uses the strings that you enclose in parameter markers to label the controls in the dialog box it generates (see the following procedure). In the previous example, Dreamweaver creates a dialog box with the following label:


Parameter names in the server behavior code cannot have any spaces. Therefore, the dialog box labels cannot have any spaces. If you want to include spaces in the label, you can edit the generated HTML file.

Enter a parameter name

Create a dialog box for your server behavior to request the parameter value

  1. In the Server Behavior Builder, click Next.
  2. To change the display order of the dialog box controls, select a parameter and click the up and down arrows.
  3. To change a parameter’s control, select the parameter and select another control in the Display As column.
  4. Click OK.

    Dreamweaver generates a dialog box with a labeled control for each designer-supplied parameter that you defined.

View the dialog box

  1. Click the Plus (+) button in the Server Behaviors panel (Window > Server Behaviors), and select your custom server behavior from the pop‑up menu.

Edit the dialog box you created for the server behavior

  1. In the Server Behaviors panel (Window > Server Behaviors), click the Plus (+) button, and select Edit Server Behaviors from the pop‑up menu.
  2. Select your server behavior from the list, and click Open.
  3. Click Next.

    A dialog box appears listing all the designer-supplied parameters that you defined in your code.

  4. To change the display order of the dialog box controls, select a parameter and click the up and down arrows.
  5. To change a parameter’s control, select the parameter and select another control in the Display As column.
  6. Click OK.

Edit and modify server behaviors

You can edit any server behavior created with the Server Behavior Builder, including server behaviors you download from the Dreamweaver Exchange website, and other third‑party developers.

If you apply a server behavior to a page and then edit the behavior in Dreamweaver, instances of the old behavior no longer appear in the Server Behaviors panel. The Server Behaviors panel searches the page for code that matches the code of known server behaviors. If the code of a server behavior changes, the panel does not recognize earlier versions of the behavior on that page.

Retain the old and new versions of the behavior in the panel

  1. Click the Plus (+) button on the Server Behaviors panel (Window > Server Behaviors), select New Server Behavior, and create a copy of the old server behavior.

Edit the code of a server behavior created with the Server Behavior Builder

  1. In the Server Behaviors panel (Window > Server Behaviors), click the Plus (+) button and select Edit Server Behaviors from the pop‑up menu.

    The Edit Server Behaviors dialog box displays all the behaviors for the current server technology.

  2. Select the server behavior and click Edit.
  3. Select the appropriate code block and modify the code, the parameter marks, or the position of the code block to be inserted in pages.
  4. If the modified code does not contain any designer-supplied parameters, click OK.

    Dreamweaver regenerates the server behavior without a dialog box. The new server behavior appears in the Plus (+) pop‑up menu of the Server Behaviors panel.

  5. If the modified code does contain designer-supplied parameters, click Next.

    Dreamweaver asks you whether you want to create a new dialog box, overwriting the old one. Make your changes and click OK.

    Dreamweaver saves all changes in the server behavior’s EDML file.

Coding guidelines

In general, your server behavior’s code should be compact and robust. Web application developers are very sensitive to the code added to their pages. Follow generally accepted coding practices for the document type’s language (ColdFusion, JavaScript, VBScript, or PHP). When writing comments, consider the different technical audiences that might need to understand the code, such as web and interaction designers, or other web application developers. Include comments that accurately describe the purpose of the code, and any special instructions for including it within a page.

Keep in mind the following coding guidelines when you create server behaviors:

Error checking

An important requirement. The server behavior’s code should handle error cases gracefully. Try to foresee every possibility. For example, what if a parameter request fails? What if no records are returned from a query?

Unique names

Help to ensure that your code is clearly identifiable and avoids name collisions with existing code. For example, if the page contains a function called hideLayer() and a global variable called ERROR_STRING, and your server behavior inserts code that uses those names too, the server behavior may conflict with the existing code.

Code prefixes

Allow you to identify your own run-time functions and global variables in a page. One convention is to use your initials. Never use the MM_ prefix, as it is reserved for Dreamweaver use only. Dreamweaver precedes all functions and global variables with the prefix MM_ to prevent them from conflicting with any code that you write.

var MM_ERROR_STRING = "..."; 
function MM_hideLayer() {

Avoid similar code blocks

so that the code you write doesn’t resemble too closely the code in other blocks. If a code block looks too much like another code block on the page, the Server Behaviors panel might mistakenly identify the first code block as an instance of the second code block (or conversely). A simple solution is to add a comment to a code block to make it more unique.

Test server behaviors

The Dreamweaver Exchange recommends performing the following tests on each server behavior you create:

  • Apply the behavior from the Server Behaviors panel. If it has a dialog box, enter valid data in each field and click OK. Verify that no error occurs when the behavior is applied. Verify that the run-time code for the server behavior appears in the Code inspector.

  • Apply the server behavior again and enter invalid data in each field of the dialog box. Try leaving the field blank, using large or negative numbers, using invalid characters (such as /, ?, :, *, and so on), and using letters in numeric fields. You can write form validation routines to handle invalid data (validation routines involve hand-coding, which is beyond the scope of this book).

    After successfully applying your server behavior to the page, verify the following:

  • Check the Server Behaviors panel to make sure the name of the server behavior appears in the list of behaviors added to the page.

  • If applicable, verify that server-side script icons show up on the page. The generic server-side script icons are gold shields. To see the icons, enable Invisible Elements (View > Visual Aids > Invisible Elements).

  • In Code view (View > Code), verify that no invalid code is generated.

    In addition, if your server behavior inserts code in the document establishing a connection to a database, create a test database to test the code inserted in the document. Verify the connection by defining queries that produce different sets of data, and different sizes of data sets.

    Finally, upload the page to the server and open it in a browser. View the page’s HTML source code and verify that no invalid HTML has been generated by the server-side scripts.


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Adobe MAX 2024

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Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
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14. – 16. októbra Miami Beach a online

Adobe MAX

Konferencia o kreativite

14. – 16. októbra Miami Beach a online