To get the most out of Dreamweaver UltraDev 4, you should be familiar with the following topics:

  • How dynamic pages work in general
  • The workflow involved in creating a dynamic page in UltraDev
  • The UltraDev 4 working environment

This chapter looks briefly at each of these topics. First, here’s some basic terminology:

A web application is a collection of static and dynamic pages that interact with each other and with various resources on a web server, including databases.

A dynamic page is a web page modified at run time by the web server before being sent to a browser.

A server technology is a technology such as ASP, JSP, or ColdFusion that gives the web server the ability to modify a web page at run time.

A server behavior is the set of instructions executed on the server at run time. Server behaviors are inserted in the web page at design time.

About dynamic pages

A web application is a collection of static and dynamic pages. Dynamic pages resemble static pages in all aspects except one: where some of their scripts are run. Both kinds of pages are plain text (ASCII) files, contain HTML, and sit on a server waiting to be served up to a web browser. Both can contain scripts written in languages like VBScript or JavaScript. However, certain scripts in a dynamic page can run on a server while those in a static page cannot.

Note: strictly speaking, a “static” page may not be static at all. For example, a rollover image or a Flash movie can make a static page come alive. However, this guide refers to a page as static if it doesn’t contain scripts that are executed on a server.

Scripts that run on a server, or server-side scripts, give you the ability to work with resources such as databases on the server. For example, before a page is served up to the browser, a server-side script in the page could instruct the server to extract data from a database and insert it into the page’s HTML. In UltraDev 4, server-side scripts are called server behaviors.

In effect, the server creates a part of your page during run time and adds it to the parts you designed earlier in UltraDev 4. The resulting page is then sent to the browser.

UltraDev 4 supports the following server technologies:

  • Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP). To learn more about ASP, visit the Microsoft web site at http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/server/toc.htm.
  • Sun JavaServer Pages (JSP). To learn more about JSP, visit the Sun website at http://java.sun.com/products/jsp/.
  • Allaire ColdFusion. To learn more about ColdFusion, visit the Allaire website at http://www.allaire.com/Products/ColdFusion/productinformation/.

A web application can have many kinds of dynamic pages. The most common are search pages, results pages, detail pages, and record-editing pages (which allow users to insert, update or delete records in a database). Each type of page has different requirements in terms of HTML code, dynamic content, and server behaviors.