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10.1 Roundtrip HTML
Unlike many other visual HTML editors, Dreamweaver has always graciously accepted HTML written by hand (and even by other programs). In fact, Dreamweaver has always made it easy to jump between itself and text-editing programs like HomeSite (for Windows) and BBEdit (for the Mac).
This ability, which Macromedia calls Roundtrip HTML, lets Web developers write code the way they want, without worrying that Dreamweaver will change it. For example, suppose you have a particular way of formatting your handwritten code. Maybe you insert an extra carriage return for spacing after every <td> (table cell) tag or like to use multiple tabs to indent nested tags. In such cases, Dreamweaver won't try to rewrite that to fit its own style梪nless you ask it to.
10.1.1 Auto-Fixing Your Code
That's not to say that Dreamweaver doesn't ever change your code. In fact, the program can automatically fix errors when you open a page that was created in another program, including:
The "Warn when Fixing or Removing Tags" option isn't really a warning as much as it is a report. By the time you see the "Warning" message, Dreamweaver's already rewritten the code in your page. (You can, however, close the file without saving it to discard Dreamweaver's changes.)
Dreamweaver can also change the capitalization (case) of HTML tags and properties, if you want. For example, if you prefer lowercase letters for tags and properties, like this?/P>
<a href="nextpage.html">Click here</a>
桪reamweaver can convert uppercase tags (<A HREF="next.html">) to lowercase, or vice versa, when it finds them in pages created by other programs. (You can turn on this feature as described in Section 10.2.2.4.)
10.1.2 Web Application Server Pages
Dreamweaver can leave pages with certain file name extensions untouched梡ages created for Web application servers, for example. Web application servers process Web pages that access databases and other dynamic services like shopping cart programs and form processing applications. You'll read about this in Part VI of this book. Many of these systems rely on special code within the HTML of a page梒ode that Dreamweaver might "fix," interpreting them as HTML errors.
Unless you change its settings, Dreamweaver doesn't rewrite code in pages that are designed for the leading application server technologies: that is, files whose names end in .asp (Active Server Pages that run on Microsoft's IIS Web Server), .cfm and .cfml (Cold Fusion Markup Language pages that run on Macromedia's Cold Fusion Server), .jsp (Java Server Pages that run on any Java Server), or .php (PHP pages) among others. To add an extension to this list, see Figure 10-1.
10.1.3 Special Characters and Encoding
The Code Rewriting Preferences window also lets you control how Dreamweaver handles special characters like <, >, and ", whenever you enter them into the Property inspector or a dialog box. Some characters have special meaning; the "less than" symbol (<), for example, indicates the beginning of an HTML tag, so, you can't just link to a page named "bob<zero.html." If you did, a Web browser would think a new HTML tag (called zero) was starting after the < symbol.
There are several ways to avoid this problem. The simplest and wisest method: avoid strange characters when you name pages, graphics, CSS styles, or any other object in your site. Sticking to letters, numbers, and underscores (_) will make your life much easier.
Another option is to let Dreamweaver encode those special characters. Encoding a character simply means using a code to represent it. For example, you can represent a space as %20, or a < symbol as %3C. Thus, the infamous "bob<zero.html" file becomes "bob%3C.html," and your link will work just fine. To set up encoding, choose Edit Preferences (DreamweaverPreferences on the Mac) and select the Code Rewriting category. Your options are as follows:
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