December 2, 2005

Dreamweaver FTP

I recently finished a website for a client whose in-house graphic designer was to take over updates. To that end, I spent some time "hatting" him on how to use Dreamweaver 8 — including using its internal FTP.

Dreamweaver FTPI've always used WS_FTP for uploading files, with brief usage of WinSCP because in earlier versions of WS_FTP, when uploading securely (SFTP), weird line-endings were added to files. This would "break" .cgi programs, and it would sometimes take a while to determine what the problem was.

I'll also admit to a certain "geek" smugness about using a "real" FTP program rather than a WYSIWYG's internal uploader. Tsk. <lol>

At any rate, having seen how slick DW8's internal FTP is, I've now tried it for my own sites and I'm must say I'm quite pleased. Thing is, DW8 shows you a website's local files in a "tree" fashion (see picture); select one or more files, press a button, and you're done. (Contrast that with starting your FTP program, maneuvering to the proper local and remote folders, etc.) AND it supports passive FTP and secure FTP (SFTP).

Setting up a Site: To make this work, you have to set up the copy of the website on your hard drive as a "Site" — this identifies to DW that everything in a particular folder is "a website". You then get other neat features, such as the ability to make Dreamweaver templates that update your entire site when you edit them (the Templates). Or enabling DW to update links to a file if you move it or change its name. On the File/Edit menu:

Site > New
Site

Then just fill out the popup window … site name, browse to location on the hard drive, etc. The FTP stuff is contained in the "Remote Info/Advanced" tab. By default, it's set to "none" so none of the information boxes display; just select "FTP" and fill in your info. Then, simply select a file, press the "up" arrow (the glassy blue one), and it'll upload. It's great: you're already looking at the file in DW's tree view, so why not be able to upload from there?

IMPORTANT – Path to Root: Dreamweaver will upload files and folders exactly as they sit in the copy on your local drive. For example, if images are in a subfolder of the "root" directory, DW will emulate that, so it is vital to give DW8 the proper path to the website's root directory … root being where the home page resides. That would not be mysite.com but something like:

/usr/local/whatever/whoever/mysite.com

For this reason, I have I have not yet tried uploading .cgi scripts with it — simply because on many sites, the cgi-bin is *above* the website's root, and to have DW emulate that, I'd have to set up every site on my hard drive that way, which I'm not prepared to do. At least, today.

At any rate, I lump this little convenience into the "one less hassle" group. I've been used to doing things a certain way, but this is so intuitive that it's quite brilliant in its obviousness and simplicity.

Once more, Macromedia has turned my head. LOL

Dreamweaver FTP Line Endings: I discovered that Dreamweaver was apparently adding Windows line endings to files upon upload (whereas this didn't occur with WS_FTP when uploading files created in DW). A discussion at the WordPress forums noted that this issue is controlled in Preferences -> Code Format — select the Unix line endings. I've tested it, and it works (on a UNIX server, of course).

6 Comments to "Dreamweaver FTP"

  1. Adrian says:

    Cool feature eh Diane? :D
    I've been using it on MX and MX2004 for a while and it's generally pretty good. I do get problems with it communicating with the server as quickly as I'd like at times, even to the extent that I'd have an FTP client open as well when its really bad.

    Generally good though, perhaps they've ironed out a few bugs in version 8.

  2. DianeV says:

    Hi Adrian (nice to see you!).

    I hadn't ever tried it before, but I find, strangely enough, that the upload is *very* fast, perhaps even faster than WS_FTP 9.01 Professional. I've been pleasantly surprised, and even grateful for Macromedia's taking the one extra step out of the way.

  3. Adrian says:

    Ah, sounds like they have worked out some of the bugs then, I do get frustrated with the versions i've used seeming to take a long time to 'connect' to the server before actually uploading. once it's done that, it seems fine.

    The sync facility is quite good too, being able to compare local and remote folders, and to even work directly on the remote files, if you really want to.

  4. DianeV says:

    Hm. I will need to check into that (the sync feature); sounds useful.

  5. John says:

    Hi, Diane. I've been using Dreamweaver since it's first release date and I'm very happy with it, but now it's somewhat cumbersome for me, I'm using simple text editor with highlighting, and using Dreamweaver for sync only getting very inconvenient.

    Can you suggest some app for sync local copy → remote FTP?

    Thanks..

  6. Diane Vigil says:

    Hi, John. I know what you mean. I was hand-coding before I started with Dreamweaver, and I still hand-code quite a bit in its code view.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a recommendation for sync-ing local and remote copies.

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