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The Next Level: Creating an Inline Random Graphic in Dreamweaver CS3

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Go to the “Next Level” in Dreamweaver CS3! Let designer/animator Andy Anderson show you how to spice up your Web pages by generating random graphic images in a layer or table cell so that the image changes every time the page is loaded or refreshed. Although the technique isn’t new to Web design, Dreamweaver CS3 makes it easier than ever. As a matter of fact, it’s so easy, you just might find yourself using this technique more and more.
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Dynamic pages add interest to a Web site. Your visitors will believe you're hard at work keeping your site alive and fresh—well, let them think that's what you're doing. In fact, once the necessary images are created and loaded, all you'll have to do is sit back and let Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 do the work for you. Sounds like a plan to me.

Go Beyond the Static Web Page

Ah, those ubiquitous static Web pages...I've created quite a few myself. We've all seen them. They just sit there day after day, never changing, always the same (excuse the yawn).

Of course, static is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, our university (Wichita State) maintains a Web archive containing literally thousands of scanned documents, some well over 100 years old. Those Web pages haven't changed since the site's inception in 1991. So for the sake of argument, let's say that static Web pages can be a useful part of site design—depending, of course, on the purpose of the site. Most sites today, however, need and demand a bit more.

Dynamic Web pages are changing Web pages—they've forever changed how our visitors view Web content and what they demand from that content. Depending on the method employed, dynamic pages can display articles about important events around the world, a daily weather report, or even the current state of the stock market. Examples of dynamic Web pages abound; check out http://www.msnbc.com or http://www.adobe.com to see a couple of familiar ones.

Dynamic pages can be updated in a number of ways. For example, you could create a template for a page, occasionally update that template, and then use Dreamweaver CS3 to update the entire site. In a more efficient way, you could use Contribute CS3 (comes bundled with the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection) and easily make changes. The good news is that Contribute CS3 requires no knowledge of programming or Web design on the part of the contributor.

With both these updating methods (and in others we could cite), human intervention is required—that means you. Of course, if you wanted to show off, you could always attach an RSS feed to your site and have the feed automatically change the Web content; but that's a subject for another day.

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