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An Overview of CSS in Dreamweaver MX 2004 – Property Inspector

Property Inspector

Dreamweaver MX introduced the concept of applying custom styles to a selected text object with the text Property inspector. This workflow may not have been apparent to everyone, however, since the developer had to toggle between HTML styles (which generated HTML font tags and assigned attributes to that tag) and CSS styles (which provided a pop-up menu of all custom styles defined within the available style sheet.)

In Dreamweaver MX 2004, the Property inspector only generates CSS styles, unless a user sets a preference to generate font tags. When I first saw this implementation, I thought this was rather… well… high-handed of the application. I’ve since gotten off my high horse. CSS is here to stay, and the font tag is not. Dreamweaver MX 2004 is driving that point home.

While this adjustment in the Property inspector may be transparent to users who have not been using CSS, CSS devotees will quickly become accustomed to applying custom styles at will from within the Property inspector. This is easy with the new CSS style preview available from the Style pop-up menu.

I think it is almost too easy to define new text styles within the Property inspector (and to end up with a number of poorly named custom styles in the process). Developers will need to find a workflow that makes sense. (Luckily, I have suggested a couple of workflows below.).

Figure 1. Defining page properties.

Figure 1. Defining page properties.

Before we leave the Property inspector, though, let me point out the Page Properties button. In line with the other Macromedia MX products, developers can now define page properties by clicking this button. The Page Properties dialog box appears, just as it will if you choose that command from the Modify menu. As with other improvements, though, the more significant changes happen behind the scenes.