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  MX Includes Dreamweaver Extension

For Dreamweaver MX developers (PHP and ColdFusion) who need to save time by reusing code in their web applications, MX Includes is a Dreamweaver MX extension that provides server behaviors allowing the effective use of statically or dynamically included files within your site.

Unlike the standard method of requiring files that is quite incompatible with Dreamweaver MX, our product offers a working implementation of SSI (Server Side Includes), allowing you to efficiently reuse code and use Server Behaviors inside required files.

Supported server technologies: ColdFusion, PHP_MySQL and PHP_ADODB

I'd like to say first off that it isn't very often that I do reviews for products that the magazine has actually purchased, let alone products that I have personally purchased out of my own pocket. But in this case I feel I can add that much more feeling towards it as I did actually purchase this one and use it daily.

More often than not web designers these days are finding ways to save time and code on large websites. Face it, sites aren't as small and static as they used to be. One of the ways that designers do this is to reuse code on several pages using SSI (Server Side Includes). This is where a single line of code added to a page can add a complete block of code from another page on as many pages as required - while only writing that code once. I for one could not imagine being without includes even for the most simplest tasks as a copyright footer on a page. Can you imagine changing the copyright date on a 400 page website? Its easy with includes .... one file, one change.

Server Side Includes are certainly nothing new to design or even Dreamweaver but until now it was extremely difficult to include and pages that included database or other dynamic elements without knowing a lot of hand coding.

One of the key strengths of MX Includes is that you no longer have the broken tags in DW Design View and the pages display within Dreamweaver as they will when displayed in a browser. This can be done because the MX Includes only displays whats between the Body tags of the included file. No more having to strip the tags before including. The MX Includes will also keep in tact any other server behaviors that were used on the included page.

Another native PHP limitation is the way it handles your required files from different folder depths. When all files are in the same folder, the require works just fine, but when files are placed in different folders, the second require will consider its original path as the first file path. However, the way Dreamweaver handles require files forced us to find a way to leave the generated code as it is. The actual MX Includes implementation will make sure that on each request, the current folder name is stored in a data structure, then we change the folder to the required file one, and then we do the actual inclusion. The required file, if it will need to do subsequent requires, will take the current folder as the original folder, thereby overcoming the problem.

When creating a site containing nuggets, header and menu, you will be able to define these elements only once and the main content will be dynamically loaded using the Dynamic Include server behavior. No more duplicated code!

Yes, you can do includes within Dreamweaver, but you can't do it as well as you can with the InterAKT way. Use InterAKT's MX Includes just once and it will change the way you use Includes forever. It has for me and it will for you. InterAKT Extensions are to Dreamweaver what Dreamweaver is to Web Design. Watch for more InterAKT Product reviews here soon!

Review ID Number: 296
  Product Details
Review Date: 2005-01-28
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
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