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Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 : Installing Additional Server Behaviors, Creating Custom Server Behaviors

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11/25/2012 11:34:11 AM

1. Installing Additional Server Behaviors

Although Dreamweaver's standard server behaviors perform many important functions, they're just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's possible. You can add additional server behaviors — whether created by Adobe, yourself, or a third party — at any time. Although you can transfer files to the appropriate places in the Dreamweaver Configuration folder, most custom server behaviors rely on the Extension Manager for installation.

The Extension Manager is an auxiliary program that installs files compressed in the Adobe Extension Program format; such files carry an .mxp file extension. To access the Extension Manager, choose Commands => Manage Extensions or Help => Manage Extensions. The Extension Manager displays all the extensions — including server behaviors — installed in your system. It also includes information about each extension, such as its type and creator.

The Web offers numerous sources for MXP files, but perhaps the best known is the Dreamweaver Exchange, located on the Adobe site. After you've downloaded the file, you can install it by following these steps:

  1. From Dreamweaver, choose Commands => Manage Extensions to open the Extensions Manager.

    Dreamweaver need not be open for you to install an extension — just double-click the MXP file to invoke the Extension Manager and begin the installation process. However, if you have multiple Adobe products on your system, it's better to open the Extension Manager before beginning the installation.

  2. From the Extension Manager, choose File => Install Extension or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+O (Command+O). You can also click the Install New Extension button on the Extension Manager's toolbar.

  3. Use the Select Extension To Install dialog box to locate the desired MXP file.

  4. When you've located the file, click Install (Open). As part of the installation process, Dreamweaver displays the Adobe Extensions disclaimer.

  5. Click Accept in the Adobe Extensions Disclaimer dialog box to continue. Dreamweaver continues to install the extension, and alerts you if a problem is encountered or if the procedure was successful.

  6. Dreamweaver notifies you if the installed extension requires you to restart Dreamweaver before it can be used.

After the server behavior has been properly installed, it appears in the standard list found under the Add (+) button of the Server Behaviors panel, and it can be applied like other server behaviors. Any special requirements or directions are noted in the bottom pane of the Extension Manager.

Editing Existing Server Behaviors

One of the wonders of Dreamweaver is the capability to extend every piece of the program. This includes making new server behaviors and editing existing ones. Out of the box, Dreamweaver allows you to edit only those server behaviors you've personally created. Editing is controlled by an XML attribute in the .edml file for each individual server behavior. You can gain access to these server behaviors by changing that XML attribute.

Before you continue, please understand that many of the Dreamweaver server behaviors are extremely complex and may not work correctly if edited using the Server Behavior Builder. Instead of editing, I suggest that you create a new server behavior, and copy an existing server behavior to make sure you don't break anything beyond repair.

To show a server behavior in the Server Behavior Builder, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the necessary server behavior .edml file, which is located in your Configuration directory. The default location is Adobe Dreamweaver CS5\Configuration\{Datasources or Server Behaviors}\{server model}\{server behavior name}.edml. For this example, open the Datasources\ASP_Vbs\Request Variable.edml file.

  2. The first line of the .edml file should look like this:

    <group serverBehavior="Dynamic Data.htm" hideFromBuilder="true">

  3. Change hideFromBuilder="true" to hideFromBuilder="false".

  4. Restart Dreamweaver.

The Request Variable server behavior is now available in the edit list of the Server Behavior Builder.

2. Creating Custom Server Behaviors

Dreamweaver provides a very sophisticated tool for creating custom server behaviors, the Server Behavior Builder. With the Server Behavior Builder, you can modify an existing server behavior you've created or create a new one from scratch. You can use the Server Behavior Builder in any server model configuration supported by Dreamweaver.

The Server Behavior Builder breaks up any server behavior into discrete segments called code blocks. Each code block is surrounded by the delimiters for the particular server model: <%...%> for ASP; <cftag>...</cftag> for ColdFusion; and <?...?> for PHP. Each code block may contain one or more user-supplied parameters. The user enters the parameters in a dialog box; the Server Behavior Builder even creates the dialog box for you.

The Server Behavior Builder can also control the positioning of any individual code block. On the server side, code is executed from the top of the page to the bottom, and it is often critical that a particular code segment follows another to be processed properly.

You have the option of modifying an existing server behavior, modifying a copy of an existing server behavior, or creating an entirely new server behavior. The process is about the same for all three methods:

  • Choose your server behavior. If it already exists, select it from the list; if it's new, give it a name.

  • Work in the Server Behavior Builder to modify and create code blocks and parameters. The Server Behavior Builder is also used for code block positioning.

  • Set up the dialog box for any parameters. The Generate Server Behavior Dialog Box command enables you to determine the type and order of any parameter elements.

To modify an existing server behavior, follow these steps:

  1. From the Server Behaviors panel, click the Add (+) button and select Edit Server Behaviors from the list. The Edit Server Behaviors dialog box, shown in Figure 1, appears.

    If you want to create a new server behavior, select New Server Behavior instead of Edit Server Behaviors and skip to Step 4.

    Figure 1. You can create server behaviors for different server models, regardless of the server model of the current site.
  2. From the Document Type list, select the type of code you want to modify.

  3. From the Server Behaviors list, select the specific server behavior you want to adapt. Dreamweaver posts a warning that if you are modifying a server behavior, the Server Behaviors panel may not be able to identify any instances of it already inserted into the current page. In this situation, it is strongly recommended that you choose New Server Behavior (see Figure 2) instead and create a different server behavior based on an existing server behavior.

    After selecting the desired server behavior, the Server Behavior Builder opens, as shown in Figure 3.

    Figure 2. When creating a new server behavior, you can either model it on an existing one or start fresh.
    Figure 3. Dreamweaver's Server Behavior Builder offers tremendous flexibility in positioning code blocks.
  4. Highlight the code block you want to change.

  5. Modify the code as desired in the Code Block area.

  6. To insert a new parameter, place your cursor in the Code Block area where you want to place a variable and click Insert Parameter In Code Block.

    To replace a value with a variable, select the value in the Code Block before clicking Insert Parameter in Code Block.

  7. Enter a unique name for the variable in the Parameter Name field of the Insert Parameter In Code Block dialog box. Click OK when you're finished. The new parameter is inserted in the following format: @@parametername@@.

  8. Determine the positioning of the code by first choosing an option from the Insert Code list: Above The <html> Tag, Below The </html> Tag, Relative To A Specific Tag, or Relative To The Selection.

  9. If you've chosen Insert Code: Relative To A Specific Tag, select the tag name from the Tag list that appears.

  10. From the Relative Position list, select the option best suited for the code block.

  11. If you've chosen Relative Position: Custom Position, enter a numeric value in the Custom Position field.

    Positioning of code blocks is very important. In particular, make sure you don't insert code that depends upon a recordset above the code that creates that recordset.

  12. Repeat Steps 4 through 11 for every code block you need to modify.

  13. Click the Advanced button, and choose how you want the server behavior to be displayed in the Server Behaviors panel. You can add or remove parameters to customize the display. If you don't want it to show in the Server Behaviors panel at all, clear the Identifier checkbox.

  14. In the Code Block area, choose which code block you want Dreamweaver to select when it chooses from the Server Behaviors panel.

  15. Click Next to proceed. If there are parameters in your server behavior, the Generate Behavior Dialog Box dialog box appears.

  16. Set the position of your parameters by selecting an item in the list and using the up and down arrows.

  17. Set the type of control for the parameter by choosing the down arrow next to the Display As column.

    Dreamweaver offers 17 controls to choose from:

    • Recordset Menu

    • Recordset Field Menu

    • Editable Recordset Menu

    • Editable Recordset Field Menu

    • CF DataSource Menu

    • Connection Menu

    • Connection Table Menu

    • Connection Column Menu

    • Text Field

    • Dynamic Text Field

    • URL Text Field

    • Numeric Text Field

    • Recordset Fields Ordered List

    • Text Field Comma Separated List

    • List Menu

    • Checkbox

    • Radio Group


    If you choose List Menu, you must manually open the created server behavior file to populate the list menu.

    The Text Field control is the default.

  18. Click OK when you're finished.

Dreamweaver builds the new or modified server behavior and includes it in the Server Behaviors panel.

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