Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 Unleashed- P20

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Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 Unleashed- P20

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Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 Unleashed- P20: The good news is Dreamweaver provides numerous windows, panels, inspectors, and toolbars for streamlining the way you build websites. The bad news, unfortunately, is that Dreamweaver provides numerous windows, panels, inspectors, and toolbars for streamlining the way you build websites. Why so many windows, panels, and so on, Dreamweaver is unprecedented in the feature set it provides, allowing developers complete control when building websites and applications....

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  1. The Dynamic Vecta Corp Intranet Application Up to this point, we've used various web pages in the Vecta Corp site as examples of how to work with basic page formatting techniques, tables, CSS, frames, forms and form objects, behaviors, AP elements, and more. Up until now, the process has been simple: We create a new page, add some images and text to the page, format it with tables or divs, and then save it for viewing in the browser. In a real-world scenario, however, our workflow process would be inadequate and inefficient. Imagine having 500 pages within an intranet site and trying to perform day-to-day web-maintenance operations. As it relates to our Vecta Corp example, the process might resemble the following scenario: Company Events— As a web developer, your job is to manually add and remove company events as they're announced. After the company event is on the main page, you must also create a dedicated page for the company event that includes pictures, directions, times, and perhaps a reservation system that, you guessed it, would be manually updated by you based on email reservations sent to you. HelpDesk— The HelpDesk functions as a repository for employee hardware, software, and general office maintenance problems. In a traditional scenario, you are responsible for fielding emails from employees with problems and then manually posting information to the website so that the IT department can view the problems and respond accordingly. Even worse, after the IT department responds and fixes the problem, they would send you an email so that you could manually remove the ticket from the site. Company Directory— As the web developer, your job is to continuously add, modify, and remove employees from the employee directory page. Given today's volatile marketplace, this in itself could become a daunting task! Employee Store— As the web developer, your job also involves manually adding, modifying, and removing products from the company's employee store. But wait, there's more. You are also responsible for fielding emails from employees who are interested in a product, collecting cash, giving the employee the product, and then manually updating a spreadsheet of inventory information. After reviewing this process, you've probably come to one conclusion: job security! As you can see, these tasks are enough to keep you busy all day, leaving little time for your talents and skills elsewhere on the website. Rather than taking a design or development role as it relates to the website, you might be stuck in maintenance mode, constantly adding, updating, and removing data from the website. This is where dynamic web pages and web applications come into play. Using a web application containing numerous dynamic web pages, you could easily streamline your workflow so that it begins to model the following workflow process: Company Events— Rather than manually adding, removing, and deleting company events, you tie the main page of the site to a database. A table within the database could contain the company events that are in turn fed to an HTML table within the main page. Even better, you can create a second page that allows Herbert in HR to add, update, and remove company events from the database using a simple administrative web page. HelpDesk— Instead of fielding emails from employees who have problems, why not create a two- page HelpDesk system in which employees can create new HelpDesk tickets? These tickets can be stored in a table in the database. A second administrative page, accessible by the IT staff, provides a list of employees with problems (fed in from the database). When the problem has been fixed, the IT staff member selects from a drop-down menu that changes the status of the HelpDesk ticket from Open to Closed.
  2. Company Directory— Rather than manually adding, modifying, and removing employees from the company directory, you can easily create functionality within an administrative page that allows you to centrally add, modify, and delete employees from a database table. This approach effectively eliminates the need for manually connecting to the site, opening the HTML page, making changes, and then re-uploading the site. Employee Store— By far the most complex part of the Vecta Corp site is the employee store. Manually trying to add, modify, and remove products as well as collect cash, distribute products, and update inventories can be an extremely time-consuming process. Instead, add the products to a database and display those products within a dynamic page. Add shopping cart functionality to the page that allows users to add and update a shopping cart on their own. When it comes time to check out, you can easily integrate payment system functionality such as PayPal to automate the process of collecting money from the employee. Admin— As the web developer/administrator, you'll want a centralized interface for adding, modifying, and deleting employees. Additionally, you'll want to centrally add, modify, and remove product information from your site. This is where the administrative page comes in. By creating a digital dashboard of sorts, you can easily fulfill these tasks without ever having to connect to your site within Dreamweaver. After reviewing this process, you're probably starting to wonder about that job security. The downside to using dynamic web pages and databases is that you're effectively taken out of some of the processes you've become accustomed to dealing with. The upside is that you can now focus on building more applications for your organization. Even better, you can now focus on designing and developing the fun stuff! And though the initial setup and development time is greater for our web application than for the equivalent static pages, the benefits down the line far outweigh the time it would take to develop the application. Keep in mind that Dreamweaver cuts your development time in half. Because you're working with an intuitive visual editor and not coding by hand, the time needed to create the dynamic Vecta Corp web application in Dreamweaver will be short. The next nine chapters of the book involve building the dynamic pages for the Vecta Corp employee store. As you've seen from the bullet points describing the pages above, our web application has the potential of becoming a massive undertaking. Since this is the case, we'll focus on the employee store page. I'll outline how to work with databases in Dreamweaver by establishing a connection to a database, how to create bindings to the database, and how to work with the many server behaviors in Dreamweaver to build view catalog page, login functionality, search functionality, and more. By the book's end, you should be able to take the concepts learned in the next nine chapters and build out the rest of the pages outlined in the previous bullet points.
  3. Summary Understanding what a web application is—and how different it is from a static website—is only the first step in creating one. Making decisions about server-side technologies and databases all comes down to one thing: what tools are easily available? If your company has Oracle installed and there are plenty of PHP developers available to build and support your web application, that's likely the way you'll go. However, if you are running a small company and cost is an issue, PHP/MySQL, ASP.NET/Access, or ColdFusion/Access might be more prudent. In the next chapter, you'll take the foundation-level concepts from this chapter to the next level. You'll actually pick a server-side technology to use, learn how to install it, and then configure it to work with Dreamweaver and the Vecta Corp application.
  4. Chapter 21. Working with Server-Side Technologies IN THIS CHAPTER Working with the IIS Web Server Working with ASP Installing and Working with ASP.NET Installing and Working with ColdFusion Installing and Working with PHP Now that you've been formally introduced to the terminology that is server-side web development—including dynamic web pages, web applications, databases, SQL, and DSNs—you're ready to move forward into the realm of installation, set up, and configuration for the actual server-side technology you plan to use. By now, you should have some sort of idea about the architecture of your organization. Do you have a Windows server-based operating system such as Windows Server 2000 or 2003, or are you looking at Mac OS X Server? Are your plans to develop web applications using a development machine running Windows XP Pro, Vista, or OS X and then upload the finished product to a server when you're finished? Do you want to minimize installation and configuration? Are you merely a novice who is interested in tinkering with dynamic web page development? The answers to these questions can help you quickly determine what server-side technology you plan to use with Dreamweaver. It's important to note that Dreamweaver's functionality for creating dynamic web pages is nearly identical regardless of server-side technology. And because you won't be interacting with the code all that much, picking a server-side technology shouldn't be all that difficult; they all have the same bells and whistles built in to Dreamweaver. If you haven't made a decision on the server-side technology you want to use, don't worry. In this chapter, I'll demystify each of your options. I'll provide an overview of the web server we'll be using (IIS) as well as detail the nuances, installation procedures, and configuration routines (if any) for the four server-side technologies that we'll cover throughout the rest of the book. By the end of the chapter, you'll have a web server up and running, a server-side technology installed and configured, and a simple dynamic page working! Note We'll be using IIS as our web server as we work through the examples in the book. This server is not available for Mac users. However, OS X ships with the Apache web server included, and it is enabled simply by opening System Preferences, selecting the Sharing preferences pane, and clicking the Personal Web Sharing check box. You can then install MySQL and PHP, or just install MAMP/Pro (http://www.mamp.info/) which installs MySQL and PHP all at once. Working with the Internet Information Services (IIS) Web Server In the previous chapter, I made reference to the fact that users interact with web applications through a
  5. series of carefully crafted form objects exposed to the user in the browser window. The user interacts with the form objects and then typically clicks a button, expecting to see results. What we haven't discussed, however, is how those results are returned to the user. In general, servers rely on a piece of software that is crucial in the HTTP request/response process. This piece of software, the web server, is primarily responsible for managing various websites, FTP sites, a mail client, and more on our server. Working in conjunction with the server-side technology, the web server is also responsible for facilitating the handoff between the client's request, the server-side technology used to handle the request, the collection of the response from the server-side technology, and the subsequent handoff of the response back to the client browser. Internet Information Services (IIS) is Microsoft's web server solution and is the primary focus of examples throughout the rest of the book. IIS comes bundled with most Microsoft server-based operating systems, including Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 Pro, Server and Advanced Server, Window 2003 Server, Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, and Vista Enterprise. Note Obviously, IIS isn't the only web server on the market. For the sake of simplicity, we'll cover only one web server—IIS. However, other web servers exist—the open source Apache, Sun's iPlanet, IBM's WebSphere, and more—that can run just as well on Mac and UNIX environments as they can on Windows machines. In some cases, IIS installs when the OS is installed, but in other cases, you must manually walk through the process of setting it up on your own. More on this later. Table 21.1 outlines the major Windows operating systems and shows whether the web server comes preinstalled with the specific operating system. Table 21.1. Major Windows Systems and IIS Support OS Web Server Preinstalled Technologies Supported Win 95, 98, ME, XP Home No N/A ColdFusion Only ColdFusion only Win XP Pro IIS 5 No All Win NT 4 IIS 4 Yes All Win 2000 Pro IIS 5 No All Win 2000 Server IIS 5 Yes All Win 2003 IIS 6 Yes All Win Vista Home Premium IIS 7 Yes All Win Vista Business IIS 7 Yes All Win Vista Ultimate IIS 7 Yes All Win Vista Enterprise IIS 7 Yes All If you're not sure whether IIS is preinstalled on your computer, you can use one of these three methods to find out: Check for a folder called Inetpub located in the root of your system (typically C:\) drive. If you have
  6. that folder—as well as the wwwroot folder within it—chances are you're fine. Select Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools. If you have a menu item for Internet Services Manager, IIS is indeed installed. Navigate to http://localhost in a browser. If you see the IIS Welcome screen, IIS is installed and running. If IIS is there, you've got the web server installed. If not, follow the steps in the next section. Installing IIS One of the questions in application development is whether IIS has to be installed even if you are not hosting your own web applications. The answer is yes. Even if you are uploading your web applications using FTP to your web host provider, installing IIS allows you to view and configure your applications locally before they are ready for production. Note As you've seen, Dreamweaver allows you to define a testing server when you define a site. The site that you define within IIS (covered later) will become the site you specify in the testing server category in the Site Definition dialog. IIS comes with most versions of server-based Windows operating systems, but it's not installed automatically in all versions, which is why it might not be present on your computer. If you've come to the conclusion that IIS isn't installed on your computer and you have a compatible operating system similar to the ones listed in Table 21.1, follow these steps to install it: 1. Access the Control Panel by choosing Start, Settings, Control Panel. 2. In the Control Panel, select Add or Remove Programs. In Vista, the menu item is titled Programs and Features. 3. Choose Add/Remove Windows Components. In Vista, the menu item is titled Turn Windows Features On or Off. The list of components becomes visible within a few seconds. 4. In the list of components, enable the Internet Information Services (IIS) option. If you're using Vista, you might take the time to expand the Internet Information Services node, expand the World Wide Web Services node, expand the Application Development Features node, and then enable ASP. This will guarantee that traditional ASP will work with Vista. 5. Click Next (Windows may or may not prompt you to insert the original Windows software CD) to install IIS. 6. After IIS is installed, close the Add or Remove Programs (Programs and Features) dialog. You can now check to see whether IIS installed correctly by performing one or all three checkpoints highlighted in the previous section. You are now ready to begin hosting web applications. Although we won't cover how to configure IIS for
  7. external use, I will show you how to configure IIS to support local development of ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, and PHP applications so that you can upload them later to your external web host provider. Configuring IIS Although little configuration needs to be done to begin working with IIS, I will use this section to introduce some basic features and functionality within IIS. Reading this section will help you better troubleshoot problems that may arise later in development. This section explains the following topics: Where to keep files on the web server Using Localhost How to start and stop the web server Where to Keep File on the Web Server Now that you have IIS up and running, let's take a closer look at where the files for your Web applications are kept on the computer. Up to this point, we've been saving our projects in the C:\VectaCorp\ directory. This works fine for static web pages because we're merely testing the functionality of the pages in the browser. IIS works a bit differently, however. By default, IIS reads and processes the code in the file from the C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ folder. If you open this folder and compare it to the folder tree in IIS, you'll notice some similarities. Although it is not a requirement to keep applications in this folder, it is generally considered a good repository for storing and managing your server- side applications. Note Technically, your files don't have to be in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\. You can also create what's called a virtual directory. A virtual directory is essentially an alias within IIS that points to a folder somewhere else on your computer. To make things easier, however, we'll work with C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ for the rest of the book. So that we can test how our web server works, let's create a new folder within C:\Inetpub\wwwroot and add a simple HTML page to the new folder. You can do this on your own by following these steps:
  8. 1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the root of C:\Inetpub\wwwroot. 2. Within wwwroot, create a new folder called VectaCorp. 3. Open the VectaCorp folder. 4. Right-click an empty area in the folder and choose New, Text Document from the context menu. 5. After you select the New Text Document option, you can rename the file. Change the name, including its extension, to index.html. This action converts the text document to an HTML file. 6. Right-click the file and choose Open With, Notepad from the context menu. The file will open in Notepad. 7. In the document, add the following basic HTML: Sample HTML Page Hello World 8. Save the page and close Notepad. That's it! You've just created your first basic page within the context of the web server. In the next section, we'll browse to the page using the default name of the web server. Using Localhost Now that you have a new file in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorp, your web server has access to it. If you've been developing static HTML web pages for a long time, habit may drive you to open files directly in your browser. Dynamic pages can't be opened directly from the browser because your web server needs to have a crack at the file before it is sent to your browser for display. If the application server doesn't get the chance to interpret the request coded into a dynamic page, the code behind the dynamic page is never converted into HTML that your browser can understand. To repeat: dynamic pages can't be opened directly from the browser. Instead, you'll have to open the browser and navigate to the web directory using the local web address for your computer, also known as http://localhost (or by the IP address http://127.0.0.1). More specifically, because the VectaCorp folder is located in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorp on your computer, you can access it directly from the browser by typing in the URL http://localhost/VectaCorp. Figure 21.1 shows IIS and the browser side by side so that you can visualize the point I'm trying to make. Figure 21.1. http://localhost/VectaCorp is the URL that points to the folder C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorp. [View full size image]
  9. In this case, the process was simple. Because our default page is essentially an HTML file, nothing is really required of the web server. Most of the work in this case is handled by the browser. The browser parses the literal text out of the HTML tags and presents the text Hello World to the user. Because our page contained only HTML, we could have just as easily opened the page directly in the browser, displaying the same results. Remember though, that the web server (IIS) is the only piece of software that can access your server-side code (such as ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, or ColdFusion) directly. For this reason, it's a good idea that you get into the habit of accessing your dynamic pages directly from http://localhost/. This is how it will be done throughout the rest of the book manually and via Dreamweaver. Stopping and Starting IIS With IIS now up and running, let's now look at how you can start, stop, and restart IIS if the need arises. For the most part, you'll always want to have IIS running except when you're using certain programs locally that open ports allowing intruders to compromise the security of your computer. Some programs, such as peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, automatically stop IIS when it launches because of potential security vulnerabilities. If you want to stop IIS when it's not being used, follow these steps: 1. Open IIS by choosing Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Internet Information Services. (Now would be a good time to create a shortcut on the desktop for this application.) 2. With IIS open, select Default Web Site. The Start, Stop, and Restart icons become visible. 3. Click the Stop option shown in Figure 21.2. The web server is now stopped. Figure 21.2. Select Stop to stop IIS.
  10. 4. To start IIS again, all you need to do is click the Start icon. IIS will start again. If you want to restart IIS, you can perform the steps just listed or you can make life easier on yourself by entering a simple command in the Run dialog. To do this, follow these steps:
  11. 1. Select Start and then choose Run. The Run dialog appears. 2. Type iisreset into the text box and click OK. The Command window appears and runs through the reset routine shown on Figure 21.3. Figure 21.3. The Command window runs a script that restarts IIS. [View full size image]
  12. Chapter 21. Working with Server-Side Technologies IN THIS CHAPTER Working with the IIS Web Server Working with ASP Installing and Working with ASP.NET Installing and Working with ColdFusion Installing and Working with PHP Now that you've been formally introduced to the terminology that is server-side web development—including dynamic web pages, web applications, databases, SQL, and DSNs—you're ready to move forward into the realm of installation, set up, and configuration for the actual server-side technology you plan to use. By now, you should have some sort of idea about the architecture of your organization. Do you have a Windows server-based operating system such as Windows Server 2000 or 2003, or are you looking at Mac OS X Server? Are your plans to develop web applications using a development machine running Windows XP Pro, Vista, or OS X and then upload the finished product to a server when you're finished? Do you want to minimize installation and configuration? Are you merely a novice who is interested in tinkering with dynamic web page development? The answers to these questions can help you quickly determine what server-side technology you plan to use with Dreamweaver. It's important to note that Dreamweaver's functionality for creating dynamic web pages is nearly identical regardless of server-side technology. And because you won't be interacting with the code all that much, picking a server-side technology shouldn't be all that difficult; they all have the same bells and whistles built in to Dreamweaver. If you haven't made a decision on the server-side technology you want to use, don't worry. In this chapter, I'll demystify each of your options. I'll provide an overview of the web server we'll be using (IIS) as well as detail the nuances, installation procedures, and configuration routines (if any) for the four server-side technologies that we'll cover throughout the rest of the book. By the end of the chapter, you'll have a web server up and running, a server-side technology installed and configured, and a simple dynamic page working! Note We'll be using IIS as our web server as we work through the examples in the book. This server is not available for Mac users. However, OS X ships with the Apache web server included, and it is enabled simply by opening System Preferences, selecting the Sharing preferences pane, and clicking the Personal Web Sharing check box. You can then install MySQL and PHP, or just install MAMP/Pro (http://www.mamp.info/) which installs MySQL and PHP all at once. Working with the Internet Information Services (IIS) Web Server In the previous chapter, I made reference to the fact that users interact with web applications through a
  13. series of carefully crafted form objects exposed to the user in the browser window. The user interacts with the form objects and then typically clicks a button, expecting to see results. What we haven't discussed, however, is how those results are returned to the user. In general, servers rely on a piece of software that is crucial in the HTTP request/response process. This piece of software, the web server, is primarily responsible for managing various websites, FTP sites, a mail client, and more on our server. Working in conjunction with the server-side technology, the web server is also responsible for facilitating the handoff between the client's request, the server-side technology used to handle the request, the collection of the response from the server-side technology, and the subsequent handoff of the response back to the client browser. Internet Information Services (IIS) is Microsoft's web server solution and is the primary focus of examples throughout the rest of the book. IIS comes bundled with most Microsoft server-based operating systems, including Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 Pro, Server and Advanced Server, Window 2003 Server, Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, and Vista Enterprise. Note Obviously, IIS isn't the only web server on the market. For the sake of simplicity, we'll cover only one web server—IIS. However, other web servers exist—the open source Apache, Sun's iPlanet, IBM's WebSphere, and more—that can run just as well on Mac and UNIX environments as they can on Windows machines. In some cases, IIS installs when the OS is installed, but in other cases, you must manually walk through the process of setting it up on your own. More on this later. Table 21.1 outlines the major Windows operating systems and shows whether the web server comes preinstalled with the specific operating system. Table 21.1. Major Windows Systems and IIS Support OS Web Server Preinstalled Technologies Supported Win 95, 98, ME, XP Home No N/A ColdFusion Only ColdFusion only Win XP Pro IIS 5 No All Win NT 4 IIS 4 Yes All Win 2000 Pro IIS 5 No All Win 2000 Server IIS 5 Yes All Win 2003 IIS 6 Yes All Win Vista Home Premium IIS 7 Yes All Win Vista Business IIS 7 Yes All Win Vista Ultimate IIS 7 Yes All Win Vista Enterprise IIS 7 Yes All If you're not sure whether IIS is preinstalled on your computer, you can use one of these three methods to find out: Check for a folder called Inetpub located in the root of your system (typically C:\) drive. If you have
  14. that folder—as well as the wwwroot folder within it—chances are you're fine. Select Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools. If you have a menu item for Internet Services Manager, IIS is indeed installed. Navigate to http://localhost in a browser. If you see the IIS Welcome screen, IIS is installed and running. If IIS is there, you've got the web server installed. If not, follow the steps in the next section. Installing IIS One of the questions in application development is whether IIS has to be installed even if you are not hosting your own web applications. The answer is yes. Even if you are uploading your web applications using FTP to your web host provider, installing IIS allows you to view and configure your applications locally before they are ready for production. Note As you've seen, Dreamweaver allows you to define a testing server when you define a site. The site that you define within IIS (covered later) will become the site you specify in the testing server category in the Site Definition dialog. IIS comes with most versions of server-based Windows operating systems, but it's not installed automatically in all versions, which is why it might not be present on your computer. If you've come to the conclusion that IIS isn't installed on your computer and you have a compatible operating system similar to the ones listed in Table 21.1, follow these steps to install it: 1. Access the Control Panel by choosing Start, Settings, Control Panel. 2. In the Control Panel, select Add or Remove Programs. In Vista, the menu item is titled Programs and Features. 3. Choose Add/Remove Windows Components. In Vista, the menu item is titled Turn Windows Features On or Off. The list of components becomes visible within a few seconds. 4. In the list of components, enable the Internet Information Services (IIS) option. If you're using Vista, you might take the time to expand the Internet Information Services node, expand the World Wide Web Services node, expand the Application Development Features node, and then enable ASP. This will guarantee that traditional ASP will work with Vista. 5. Click Next (Windows may or may not prompt you to insert the original Windows software CD) to install IIS. 6. After IIS is installed, close the Add or Remove Programs (Programs and Features) dialog. You can now check to see whether IIS installed correctly by performing one or all three checkpoints highlighted in the previous section. You are now ready to begin hosting web applications. Although we won't cover how to configure IIS for
  15. external use, I will show you how to configure IIS to support local development of ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, and PHP applications so that you can upload them later to your external web host provider. Configuring IIS Although little configuration needs to be done to begin working with IIS, I will use this section to introduce some basic features and functionality within IIS. Reading this section will help you better troubleshoot problems that may arise later in development. This section explains the following topics: Where to keep files on the web server Using Localhost How to start and stop the web server Where to Keep File on the Web Server Now that you have IIS up and running, let's take a closer look at where the files for your Web applications are kept on the computer. Up to this point, we've been saving our projects in the C:\VectaCorp\ directory. This works fine for static web pages because we're merely testing the functionality of the pages in the browser. IIS works a bit differently, however. By default, IIS reads and processes the code in the file from the C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ folder. If you open this folder and compare it to the folder tree in IIS, you'll notice some similarities. Although it is not a requirement to keep applications in this folder, it is generally considered a good repository for storing and managing your server- side applications. Note Technically, your files don't have to be in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\. You can also create what's called a virtual directory. A virtual directory is essentially an alias within IIS that points to a folder somewhere else on your computer. To make things easier, however, we'll work with C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\ for the rest of the book. So that we can test how our web server works, let's create a new folder within C:\Inetpub\wwwroot and add a simple HTML page to the new folder. You can do this on your own by following these steps:
  16. 1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the root of C:\Inetpub\wwwroot. 2. Within wwwroot, create a new folder called VectaCorp. 3. Open the VectaCorp folder. 4. Right-click an empty area in the folder and choose New, Text Document from the context menu. 5. After you select the New Text Document option, you can rename the file. Change the name, including its extension, to index.html. This action converts the text document to an HTML file. 6. Right-click the file and choose Open With, Notepad from the context menu. The file will open in Notepad. 7. In the document, add the following basic HTML: Sample HTML Page Hello World 8. Save the page and close Notepad. That's it! You've just created your first basic page within the context of the web server. In the next section, we'll browse to the page using the default name of the web server. Using Localhost Now that you have a new file in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorp, your web server has access to it. If you've been developing static HTML web pages for a long time, habit may drive you to open files directly in your browser. Dynamic pages can't be opened directly from the browser because your web server needs to have a crack at the file before it is sent to your browser for display. If the application server doesn't get the chance to interpret the request coded into a dynamic page, the code behind the dynamic page is never converted into HTML that your browser can understand. To repeat: dynamic pages can't be opened directly from the browser. Instead, you'll have to open the browser and navigate to the web directory using the local web address for your computer, also known as http://localhost (or by the IP address http://127.0.0.1). More specifically, because the VectaCorp folder is located in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorp on your computer, you can access it directly from the browser by typing in the URL http://localhost/VectaCorp. Figure 21.1 shows IIS and the browser side by side so that you can visualize the point I'm trying to make. Figure 21.1. http://localhost/VectaCorp is the URL that points to the folder C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorp. [View full size image]
  17. In this case, the process was simple. Because our default page is essentially an HTML file, nothing is really required of the web server. Most of the work in this case is handled by the browser. The browser parses the literal text out of the HTML tags and presents the text Hello World to the user. Because our page contained only HTML, we could have just as easily opened the page directly in the browser, displaying the same results. Remember though, that the web server (IIS) is the only piece of software that can access your server-side code (such as ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, or ColdFusion) directly. For this reason, it's a good idea that you get into the habit of accessing your dynamic pages directly from http://localhost/. This is how it will be done throughout the rest of the book manually and via Dreamweaver. Stopping and Starting IIS With IIS now up and running, let's now look at how you can start, stop, and restart IIS if the need arises. For the most part, you'll always want to have IIS running except when you're using certain programs locally that open ports allowing intruders to compromise the security of your computer. Some programs, such as peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, automatically stop IIS when it launches because of potential security vulnerabilities. If you want to stop IIS when it's not being used, follow these steps: 1. Open IIS by choosing Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Internet Information Services. (Now would be a good time to create a shortcut on the desktop for this application.) 2. With IIS open, select Default Web Site. The Start, Stop, and Restart icons become visible. 3. Click the Stop option shown in Figure 21.2. The web server is now stopped. Figure 21.2. Select Stop to stop IIS.
  18. 4. To start IIS again, all you need to do is click the Start icon. IIS will start again. If you want to restart IIS, you can perform the steps just listed or you can make life easier on yourself by entering a simple command in the Run dialog. To do this, follow these steps:
  19. 1. Select Start and then choose Run. The Run dialog appears. 2. Type iisreset into the text box and click OK. The Command window appears and runs through the reset routine shown on Figure 21.3. Figure 21.3. The Command window runs a script that restarts IIS. [View full size image]
  20. Working with ASP Quite possibly the simplest technology to use in conjunction with Dreamweaver dynamic web page development is ASP. ASP, or Active Server Pages, is a Microsoft-developed web-scripting language that took the web development world by storm when it was introduced in the mid 1990s. ASP is easy to understand and easy to use—and setup is a breeze because the required files are preinstalled on virtually all Windows servers. Like many other server-side technologies, ASP enables you to embed special instructions in HTML pages that can do a variety of tasks, such as connect to a database, perform looping instructions, conditionally test for certain values, send emails, read from and write to the file system, and more. Because ASP runs natively on Microsoft's IIS web server, installing ASP generally means installing IIS. If IIS is up and running, chances are, so is ASP. It's no wonder that the majority of users who create dynamic web pages in Dreamweaver still use traditional ASP as their server-side technology of choice; if you have IIS installed (which most people who are building dynamic web pages do), there's little or no setup and nothing to install. Creating a Simple ASP Page Let's walk through the process of creating a simple ASP page. Not only will this process help familiarize you with the technology, but you'll also get a decent understanding of how IIS handles the processing of a dynamic ASP page. To create a simple ASP page, follow these steps: 1. Create a new folder in C:\Inetpub\wwwroot called VectaCorpASP. 2. Open Notepad (we'll get to Dreamweaver later). 3. In the document, add the following code: Sample ASP Page This is plain text 4. Save your work as sample.asp in the new folder named C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\VectaCorpASP. Tip If you plan to try out numerous server-side technologies, it's beneficial to create the folder with the VectaCorp name followed by the three-letter server-side technology you plan to use. This convention prevents you from continuously having to redefine the site for every server-side technology. To test your work, open the browser and type the http://localhost/VectaCorpASP/sample.asp URL into the address bar. As you can see from Figure 21.4, two lines of text appear in the browser.
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