Site testing guidelines

Site testing guidelines

Before uploading your site to a server and declaring it ready for viewing, it’s a good idea to test it locally. (In fact, it’s a good idea to test and troubleshoot your site frequently throughout its construction--you can catch problems early and avoid repeating them.)

You should make sure that your pages look and work as expected in the browsers you’re targeting, that there are no broken links, and that the pages don’t take too long to download. You can also test and troubleshoot your entire site by running a site report.

The following guidelines will help you create a good experience for visitors to your site:

  • Make sure your pages function as expected in the browsers you’re targeting and that they either work or "fail gracefully" in other browsers.

    Your pages should be legible and functional in browsers that do not support styles, layers, plug-ins, or JavaScript (see Checking for browser compatibility). For pages that fail badly in older browsers, consider using the Check Browser behavior to automatically redirect visitors to another page (see Check Browser).

  • Preview your pages in as many different browsers and on as many different platforms as possible.

    This gives you an opportunity to see differences in layout, color, font sizes, and default browser window size that cannot be predicted in a target browser check (see Previewing and testing pages in browsers).

  • Check your site for broken links, then fix them.

    Other sites undergo redesign and reorganization too, and the page you’re linking to may have been moved or deleted. You can run a link check report to test your links (see Checking for broken, external, and orphaned links and Fixing broken links).

  • Monitor the file size of your pages and the time they take to download (see Setting download time and size preferences).

    Keep in mind that if a page consists of one large table, in some browsers, visitors will see nothing until the entire table finishes loading. Consider breaking up large tables; if this is not possible, consider putting a small amount of content--such as a welcome message or an advertising banner--outside the table at the top of the page so users can view this material while the table downloads.

  • Run a few site reports to test and troubleshoot the entire site.

    You can check your entire site for problems, such as untitled documents, empty tags, and redundant nested tags (see Testing your site).

  • Validate your code to locate tag or syntax errors (see Validating your tags).
  • Once the bulk of the site has been published, continue to update and maintain it.

    Publishing your site--that is, making it live--can be accomplished in several ways and is an ongoing process. An important part of the process is defining and implementing a version-control system, either with the tools Dreamweaver includes or through an external version-control application.

  • Use the Dreamweaver discussion forums found on the Macromedia website at

    The forums are a great resource for getting information on different browsers, platforms, and so on. You can also discuss technical issues and share helpful hints with other Dreamweaver users.

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