View Full Version : Inaccurate design display in Dreamweaver MX2004 Ver7.0.1

11-15-2007, 06:31 PM
Can anyone tell me if there is a way to force dreamweaver's design display to render what will actually appear in a browser, specifically a good browser like FF? The design view in dreamweaver does me absolutely no good. It doesn't display a large percentage of the changes in CSS code accurately. About the only thing I can count on it for is colors. I might as well be using BBedit and preview in a browser, just like I have to do in dreamweaver. Actually, the only real way to see what it will look like is to constantly upload the updated code to the server and test it live.

Are the newer versions of Dreamweaver any better at rendering the page accurately?

Does anyone have any suggestions for me, or should I just continue to write the code by hand and check on a hosted test site?


11-15-2007, 06:58 PM
I'm a big proponent of setting up a local playpen for development. If you need PHP/MySQL to render the pages correctly you could set up something like WAMP (http://www.wampserver.com/en/) which will run apache/mysql5/phpmyadmin/php5 on your local box without requiring any complicated setup or mainenance. You can even make the webserver online if you'd like to use a box of your as an actual webserver. There are similar solutions for JSP/Tomcat and RoR.

Of course if you work on a Mac most of what you need (apache/php/ror) is already installed.

This way you can develop everything separate from your production server, and simply upload it when it's ready. This also allows you to make changes later on without fear of screwing something up on the live server, so you can deploy it when it's stable.

To answer your question DW 2004 uses their own rendering engine for design view, so there's really nothing you can do to improve it. The only compelling reason I've ever had for using Dreamweaver was that it was a pretty good source code/CSS/PHP editor, but there are plenty of great solutions out there that work.

What I would suggest you do is download WAMP and set up your box to develop locally, use a good css/html/php editor to edit code, and your own browsers to view the site live.

11-16-2007, 05:59 AM
Maybe I just don't know what you're talking about (or what I'm talking about?), but why not just use the Preview button?

11-16-2007, 06:50 AM
Assuming you don't have any server side programming in your pages, you can just hit F12, and your browser will open with the page loaded. Just save the file in Dreamweaver and refresh the browser page and you'll see any changes. A browser can open HTML files on the local computer (which this basically is doing). You can specify under File->Preview which browser to preview in.

If you have server side programming (PHP,ASP, etc) you have to load it into a test server. Theres no other way because the browser can't read that code. So as vtjustinb suggests WAMP is a good solution to setup a test server on your own computer so you don't have to load pages onto the web to see them. If you have this set up and running, you can specify a test server in your Dreamweaver Site Settings, and then you can use F12 again to preview the files in the browser.

WYSIWYG editors are notorious for being useful only to newbies because of the very issues you are pointing out. It sounds like you are able to edit your CSS and know how it works, so use Dreamweaver to edit the source code and then preview it in the browser. Besides, why preview a file in anything besides a browser unless you intend it to be displayed there too!

11-16-2007, 02:16 PM
Actually, the only real way to see what it will look like is to constantly upload the updated code to the server and test it live.

Thatís true and thatís the only really reliable way. If you do it as suggested before (local server or local testing w/o server if not necessary) then this is going really quick as well. That's how Iím donig it (especially if styling a page with CSS): typing a line of code, saving/uploading, previewing, typing, saving/uploading, previewingÖ You get used to it and itís not disruping any of the workflow in my opinion.

Are the newer versions of Dreamweaver any better at rendering the page accurately?

Yes. DW 8 was pretty good already, and DW 9 (a.k.a CS3) is even better. But still, the only really reliable resource is an actual browser.