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Like this article? We recommend Shift Away from Automatic Code Generation

Shift Away from Automatic Code Generation

The attraction of server behaviors is that they make it possible to build a basic database-driven website with just a few mouse clicks, never touching a line of code. The downside is that without an understanding of the code, the developer is limited to a very tiny toolset. Dreamweaver CS5 comes with a much richer set of tools, but it's no longer point-and-click. The onus is on the developer to adopt a more hands-on approach to PHP.

What makes server-side development so powerful is the decision-making logic of conditional statements. PHP has more than 2,000 built-in functions and dozens of classes that perform an amazing range of tasks, from simple manipulation of text to generation of images and PDFs. Closing your mind to this rich toolset is like a graphic designer stubbornly clinging to the 216 colors of the web-safe palette. Yes, you can get the job done—after a fashion. But the result is far from satisfactory, and frustration rapidly sets in.

The server behaviors are still part of Dreamweaver CS5, but they're no longer recommended for use in a production environment. The idea is to use them for rapid prototyping, but then to use a more robust solution when the site goes live.

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