I mentioned last month that we use Adobe Dreamweaver to assist in the maintenance of content pages on the bulk of web sites in our portfolio. Our largest site has around 10,000 HTML pages plus 5.5 gigs of word docs, spreadsheets, PowerPoints, podcasts, and various other attachments.
A few years ago I introduced my team to the power of Dreamweaver’s nested templating system and helped reorganize our content so that each content page now derives from a template; each of these templates then derives from a master template.
This nested system allows us to refactor common markup into the templates at 2 levels:
- markup shared among content pages in a given section, such as local navigation and shared attachments;
- markup shared across all 10,000 pages in the site, such as root-level markup and styles that preserve a common look and feel.
Dreamweaver’s template parameters and conditional regions allow us to embed some pretty advanced logic in those templates that allow whole regions of widget-like markup to be toggled on and off in the child content pages with just a few mouse clicks. Not only are those regions guaranteed by the templates to be marked up in a consistent fashion, but those regions can themselves contain editable regions, allowing them to be customized on a given page.
With the click of a button, we can toggle our site header, footer, and common widget headings between English and French. With another click we can add or remove a “related resources” menu.
At the end of the day, this content architecture allows us to get the maximum benefit and productivity out of the Dreamweaver software, letting us centralize repetitive markup and focus on just the HTML that is specific to a given page.