If you're looking to pep up your portfolio with interactive elements, but haven't quite grasped the complexities of Flash don't panic, says Chris Schmidt. DreamWeaver's components could be just what you're looking for.
Dreamweaver provides the core environment around which most web designers now work. The software has become the industry standard for defining site structures, page layouts, CSS files and even database components that enable the author to create impressive dynamic web content. And with a little help from your favourite image editor, you have all you need to create professional web content without having to look at a line of HTML.
However, such results, although impressive, can often result in static, two-dimensional content because the viewer is forced to read through page after page of dry copy with little to interest them. Of course, this is an issue that affects most sites, but for the struggling designer keen to make a living from their chosen path, methods of holding their audience's attention become even more important.
A quick glance through your bookmarks will reveal a possible answer - Macromedia Flash. With Flash .SWF content embedded into your site you'll be able to add animation or interactive content to give your site that little bit extra. But Flash is an expensive package, which demands a huge investment in time, and both money and time are valuable commodities to the struggling designer.
Macromedia has pre-empted these problems by including a selection of Flash components, which can be added to your site quickly and require only a little knowledge of HTML to control and modify them. Look under Dreamweaver's Insert>Media menu and you'll find a variety of features, from image viewers to the PDF alternative FlashPaper, which I'll walk you through over the following pages.