Best Practices for Dreamweaver Web Development
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Start with a template
  2. Organize your files
  3. Use CSS for styling
  4. Apply responsive design principles
  5. Make use of Dreamweaver extensions
  6. Validate your code
  7. Use the built-in FTP
  8. Leverage the Live View
  9. Backup regularly
  10. Keep up-to-date with Dreamweaver updates

Web development and responsive design are two peas in a pod, and Adobe Dreamweaver is the perfect tool to make them sing in harmony. If you're looking to make your mark in the realm of web development, this guide is your companion on that journey. We'll walk through the best practices for Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design, offering tried-and-true tips that will take your web designs from good to great. So, let's dive right into it, shall we?

Start with a Template

When embarking on your Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design journey, a great place to begin is with a template. All too often, the blank canvas can be intimidating. But fear not, Adobe Dreamweaver has a range of pre-built templates that could be the perfect solution to overcome that initial hurdle.

  • Save Time: Starting with a template can save you a heap of time. Instead of creating everything from scratch, you can modify a template to suit your needs. Think of it as a ready-made blueprint for your web design project.
  • Easy Customization: Templates in Adobe Dreamweaver are easily customizable. You can change colors, fonts, layout, and more to match your brand's aesthetic, all with just a few clicks.
  • Responsive Design: Most templates come pre-equipped with responsive design elements. This means they'll look great on devices of all sizes — from the tiniest smartphone to the largest desktop screen.

Remember, a template is just a starting point. It's up to you to mold it into the unique, eye-catching website you envision. So, pick a template that aligns with your goals and start making it your own.

Organize Your Files

Doesn't it feel great when you find what you're looking for right when you need it? That's the result of good organization, and it's every bit as important in Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design as it is in your day-to-day life.

When it comes to web development, having a well-organized file system is a game-changer. It streamlines your workflow, makes it easier to collaborate with others, and helps you keep track of all the different elements that come together to create your website.

  • Folder Structure: Start by creating a logical folder structure. This might include separate folders for your HTML files, CSS files, scripts, and images. Think of it as creating different drawers for different types of clothes in your wardrobe. It's all about making things easier to find.
  • Naming Conventions: Be consistent with your file names. If you're working on a project about dogs, for instance, it might be tempting to name an image file "cute_puppy.jpg". But what happens when you have hundreds of cute puppy images? Instead, consider a more descriptive naming system, like "beagle_puppy_in_park.jpg". It might take a little longer, but it'll save you a ton of time in the long run.
  • Version Control: Finally, keep track of different versions of your files. This can be as simple as adding a version number or date to the end of your file names. It's like a safety net - if something goes wrong, you can always roll back to a previous version.

Remember, organization is not a one-time event. It's an ongoing process. So, keep your files tidy and your workflow will thank you.

Use CSS for Styling

Imagine trying to paint a masterpiece, but you're only allowed to use one color. Sounds limiting, right? That's what web development feels like without CSS. CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is the magic wand that brings color and style to your Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design projects.

  • Separation of Content and Design: One of the key benefits of using CSS is that it separates your website's content from its design. This means you can tinker with the look of your site without messing up your content. It's like having your cake and decorating it too!
  • Efficiency: Remember the time you spent hours changing the font color on every single page of your website? With CSS, you can make global changes in one go. Change the color in one place, and it updates across your entire site. Talk about a time-saver!
  • Responsive Design: In the world of Adobe Dreamweaver web development, responsive design is king. And CSS is your key to creating websites that look great on any device. Whether your visitors are using a smartphone, a tablet, or a desktop computer, CSS ensures your site always puts its best foot forward.

So, the next time you're working on a web development project, remember: CSS is your friend. Embrace it, use it, and watch as your websites transform from plain to spectacular.

Apply Responsive Design Principles

Picture this: you've just crafted an amazing website with Adobe Dreamweaver—every detail is just right. But then, you view it on a different device and it's a mess. That's where responsive design comes in.

  • Fluid Grids: These are the backbone of responsive design. Think of your layout as a grid, and each element on the page takes up a certain number of grid spaces. But instead of defining these spaces in pixels (which are static), use percentages. This way, your elements will resize themselves based on the screen size. It's like magic!
  • Flexible Images: Have you ever seen an image that's bigger than the screen it's on? It's not a great look. With responsive design, you can make your images flexible—they'll shrink or grow to fit their container. No more awkwardly large images!
  • Media Queries: These are the secret sauce in your responsive design recipe. With media queries, you can apply different styles to different devices based on features like screen size or orientation. It's like having a personal stylist for each device!

Remember, the goal of responsive design is to make your website user-friendly on any device. Using these principles in your Adobe Dreamweaver web development projects will ensure your site looks great, whether it's viewed on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. So, are you ready to make your websites responsive?

Make Use of Dreamweaver Extensions

You know that feeling when you find the perfect tool that makes your work a breeze? That's exactly how you'll feel when you start using Dreamweaver extensions. They're like your personal sidekicks in the world of Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design.

  • WebAssist: If you're tired of coding from scratch, WebAssist is your new best friend. This extension comes with pre-built PHP, CSS, and JavaScript solutions. It's like getting a head start in a race!
  • Project Seven: This extension is a one-stop-shop for all things design. From image galleries to navigation menus, Project Seven has it all. It's like a Swiss Army knife for your web development toolbox!
  • DMXzone: This extension is all about dynamic content. With DMXzone, you can easily create dynamic tables, charts, and forms. It's like a magic wand that brings your website to life!

These are just a few examples of the many Dreamweaver extensions out there. Each one offers unique features that can streamline your web development process and enhance the functionality of your websites. So why not give them a try? After all, there's no harm in accepting a little help, especially when it makes your Adobe Dreamweaver web development projects shine.

Validate Your Code

Imagine you're baking a cake. You've mixed all the ingredients, poured the batter in the pan, and then... you forget to put it in the oven. That's pretty much what happens when you forget to validate your code in Adobe Dreamweaver web development. You've done all the work, but without validation, your website might not 'bake' properly.

When you validate your code, you're essentially checking it for errors. It's a bit like proofreading an essay before you hand it in. And just as your teacher would mark you down for spelling mistakes, web browsers can be equally unforgiving with coding errors. So, how can you avoid these potential pitfalls?

  1. Use Dreamweaver's built-in validation tool: Adobe Dreamweaver has a built-in validator that you can access from the File menu. It's like having your personal grammar checker for code!
  2. Test in multiple browsers: Different browsers interpret code in slightly different ways. So, if you want to ensure your website looks great for all users, it's a good idea to test it in several browsers. Think of it like trying on a pair of shoes in different sizes to find the perfect fit.
  3. Consider using an external validator: There are many online tools that can provide a second opinion on your code. It's like having a second set of eyes to catch any errors you might have missed.

Remember, a little time spent on code validation can save you from a lot of headaches down the line. Plus, it's a great way to ensure your Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design projects are top-notch. And who doesn't want that?

Use the Built-in FTP

Imagine you've just painted a beautiful portrait. You're excited to share it with the world, but it's stuck in your studio. How do you get it to the gallery for everyone to see? In the world of Adobe Dreamweaver web development, that's where the built-in File Transfer Protocol (FTP) comes in. It's like the delivery truck for your website, moving your files from your computer to your web server.

FTP is a standard network protocol used for the transfer of computer files between a client and server on a computer network. Think of it as a conversation between your computer (the client) and the web server, where they agree on how to transfer files.

  1. Access the FTP: You can find the built-in FTP in the Site menu of Dreamweaver. It's as easy as clicking on "Manage Sites" and then "New Site". You'll then be able to add your FTP details in the Servers section.
  2. Enter your details: You'll need to know your FTP host (usually your website URL), username, and password. It's kind of like logging into your email — you need the right details to access your account.
  3. Upload your files: Once you've entered your FTP details, you can use the built-in FTP to upload your files. Just select the files you want to upload, and Dreamweaver will do the rest. It's like dropping your portrait off at the gallery — all you have to do is hand it over, and the gallery takes care of the rest.

Using the built-in FTP in Adobe Dreamweaver is a quick and easy way to get your web development and responsive design projects live on the web. So why wait? Start sharing your creations with the world today.

Leverage the Live View

What if you could see the result of your web development work in real-time, just like watching a cooking show where the chef demonstrates each step and you see the dish taking shape? Well, with Adobe Dreamweaver, you can do just that by leveraging the Live View feature.

Live View is one of the most useful features in Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design. It's like a mirror that reflects your coding efforts instantly. So, no need to wonder about the outcome - see it as you code!

  1. How to Use Live View: Navigate to the Document toolbar, and you'll find the Live button. One click, and you're in Live View. You've just opened the door to real-time coding experience.
  2. Preview Your Design: Live View gives you an instant preview of your website as you code. It's like having a dressing room in a boutique, where you try on different outfits and see what fits you best before making a purchase.
  3. Inspect and Modify: With Live View, you can inspect elements and modify your CSS in real-time. It's like having a magnifying glass that not only lets you examine the fine details of your design but also allows you to tweak them then and there.

So, why guess and check when you can see and correct? Start using the Live View in Adobe Dreamweaver for your web development and responsive design projects, and bring the power of real-time preview to your workflow.

Backup Regularly

Imagine you're working on a jigsaw puzzle. You've invested hours, sorted out the corners and edges, and you're finally seeing the big picture come together. Suddenly, the table shakes, and pieces scatter. Frustrating, right? That's exactly how it feels when you lose your work in Adobe Dreamweaver without a proper backup.

Backing up your work is like taking a snapshot of your progress in the puzzle. If anything goes wrong, you can always pick up from where you left off. Here's how you can make the most of this best practice in Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design:

  1. Save early, save often: It might sound obvious, but the first step to backing up is saving your work. Don't wait till you've written hundreds of lines of code. Make saving a habit.
  2. Use Version Control: Ever wish you could just hit the undo button on life? Well, in Adobe Dreamweaver, you can. Using a Version Control System (VCS) like Git lets you track changes and revert back to previous versions of your work.
  3. Use Cloud Storage: Storing your files in the cloud is like keeping your puzzle pieces in a secure, transparent box. You can access them anytime, anywhere, and you won't lose them even if your computer crashes.

Remember, spending a few minutes on backup can save you hours of redoing work. So, next time you dive into Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design, don't forget to backup your progress regularly.

Keep up-to-date with Dreamweaver updates

Imagine you're a chef, and you've just heard about a new spice. It adds a unique flavor to your dishes, and everyone’s raving about it. Would you ignore it or try to incorporate it into your recipes to make them even better? The same concept applies to Adobe Dreamweaver updates.

Adobe is always cooking up new features, enhancements, and fixes to make Dreamweaver more powerful and user-friendly. Staying up-to-date with these changes can help you stay ahead of the curve in web development and responsive design. Here's how:

  1. Embrace New Features: Just like a new spice, every update brings new features to the table. These tools can help you create more efficient and effective designs. So don't be afraid to try them out. You might find your new favorite tool.
  2. Stay Secure: Updates often come with security patches to protect your work from online threats. Updating regularly is like having a top-notch security system for your web development project.
  3. Fix Bugs: Like any software, Dreamweaver isn't perfect. Sometimes, it has bugs. But updates often fix these issues, helping you ensure that your web development and responsive design projects run smoothly.

So don't get left behind. Keep an eye on Dreamweaver updates to add more flavor to your Adobe Dreamweaver web development and responsive design projects. After all, the only constant in the tech world is change, right?

If you're looking to improve your web development skills with Dreamweaver, we recommend checking out the workshop 'How To Build a Money-Making Creative Website' by Jasmine MacPhee. This workshop is an excellent resource for creatives looking to build a successful and profitable website using Dreamweaver and other best practices in web development.