Dreamweaver CS5 New Features Part 1: The All New CSS Starter Pages

By: Sheri German

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The big launch has finally come, and now it's time to make a decision. Upgrade, or skip this time around? Arm yourself with knowledge of the new features before you decide. Does CMS and Wordpress integration appeal to you? New CSS troubleshooting tools? How about new CSS Starter Pages? These features and many more are yours when you get a Suite or Dreamweaver CS5 by itself. In the upcoming days, we'll take a look at what's new and exciting in this fabulous upgrade.

Let's start with the new CSS Starter Pages...

I am a big fan of the CSS Starter Pages. They're great teaching tools for my college students in the Communications Arts Technology program. We dissect and modify them, and even produce real, working sites with them.

If you've been following CMX in the past year or so, you may have read the fifteen-part CSS Starter Page Series that I have been writing. I feel as though I know the CSS Starter Pages inside and out. Much as I love and appreciate them, I did feel like there were things that needed improving. And improve they did in Dreamweaver CS5!

Mean, Lean, and Spot On

The first thing you'll notice is that the number of CSS Starter Pages has been reduced. There were complaints that there were too many, and that they were too confusing. There are now sixteen CSS Starter Pages, in the kinds of layouts you'll use most.

Image 1: The new CSS Starter Pages are fewer in number and more versatile in function

Let's select the 2 column, fixed-width, left sidebar, header and footer page and look at its makeover.

Image 2: The 2 column, fixed-width, left sidebar, header and footer CSS Starter Page

You'll immediately notice the complete overhaul. The CSS Starter Pages now include the following:

  • Navigation buttons
  • Coding in such as way that no Conditional Comments are necessary in the page's default state
  • A placeholder logo

    Image 3: A placeholder logo with instructions for inserting your own

  • A new 960 pixel width that follows the latest design trend

    Image 4: The new CSS Starter Pages are 960 pixels in width

  • All floated columns for independent block formatting context
  • Clearing on the footer for a true separation of the presentation and content – no clearing element in the markup
  • No classes on the body – nice simplified code
  • Lots of instructions for using and modifying them
  • Color coding according to kind

Image 5: The liquid two column CSS Starter Page has its own colors

The CSS Starter Pages have dropped support for Internet Explorer 5, but do continue to support Internet Explorer 6.


We'll be rolling out new features in the coming days. I introduced the new CSS Starter Pages first because of course I will start a new series devoted to dissecting them and modifying them.

See you soon. :-)


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