Lesson 1. The Present and the Future

The Web is changing. HTML is no longer a new technology, and most established organizations are no longer seeking attractive Web presence sites, that is, sites that establish a static presence on the Internet but do little else. They already have sites, and in many cases, these sites have been around for several years. Web designers and developers today increasingly face a different set of problems than they did a few years ago.

  • Rather than creating brand-new sites, today's designers and developers need to maintain existing sites in the face of changing standards and evolving content.

  • The variations among different browsers, now including assisting technologies for the millions of users with impairments, have become so pronounced that it is no longer acceptable to simply check the page in both Netscape and Internet Explorer.

    The homepage of the Newland Tours site looks good enough, but certain parts of it, such as the weekly Traveler's Journal column (at right) require a lot of work to maintain.


  • Instead of offering a static presence, modern Web sites need to respond to users' needs, which often means that Web sites now need to react on-the-fly to user interaction.

  • Today's designers and developers often need to build content management systems, which facilitate the movement of site content maintenance from IT departments to non-technical business users by creating Web forms that post content.

Needs such as these raise a series of practical questions. What is the fastest way to update the look or structure of a site? How can one design a site so that a non-technical content expert can contribute to it? How does one develop a site that customizes itself to the needs and interests of the user? And finally, how does one accomplish all these goals at the same time?

In response to these issues, a whole new series of technology solutions have appeared: cascading style sheets (CSS), ColdFusion, ASP, SQL, database servers, XHTML, DHTML, XML, Web services, ADO, JavaScript, Flash, PHP, Java, .NET, XSLT, and more. Web development software, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, has kept up so that developers can create sites using any of the technologies just mentioned. But for the HTML jockey of yesteryear, this onslaught of technical solutions may seem as problematic as the problems they purport to solve.

Increasingly, mastering many of these technologies is part of the core skill set of today's Web developers. The goal of this book is to set you well on your way to that mastery. The central project of this book transforms a static Web site into an interactive, easy to maintain, and standards-compliant site. The site is for a fictional travel tour operator, called Newland Tours. By the time you are done, site visitors will be able to home in on the content they are looking for quickly and easily. In addition, the non-technical users who own the site will be able to update it without having to know any HTML code. These are ambitious but attainable goals; and thanks to Dreamweaver's tools and environment, they are easier to achieve than you might think.

In this lesson, you will get familiar with the book's starting and ending points. You'll open the site as it exists today within Dreamweaver and go over its shortcomings. Its shortcomings can be divided into two categories: technical shortcomings, such as the outdated and non-compliant code used throughout the site, and business shortcomings, where the site no longer meets the needs of its business. You'll also hop onto the Web and see the completed version that you'll build over the course of the book.


In this lesson, you will:

  • Define a static site in Dreamweaver

  • Explore the existing HTML code

  • Learn about the client's needs

  • Explore the completed project as it appears at the end of the book

  • Outline a strategy for upgrading the site


This lesson takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.


Starting Files:






Completed Files: