Using Dreamweaver FTP with a Team

June 26th, 2009 | Tutorials

The Problem

When you have a site that multiple designers, developers or contributors might be working on you run the risk of stepping on one another’s toes, losing data, and at its worse; breaking something on your website. This can happen very easily. Take the following image as a very basic example. Let’s say you have a yellow page with an A on it. Person 1 decides the page should be blue, Person 2 decides the letter should be B. Both changes are done at once. Who ever uploads last has their change live on the site.

changes to site files

For both changes to take place they would have to be done one after the other, not simultaneously.

The Solution

To help prevent these kinds of problems Dreamweaver’s FTP protocol can manage a Check in/Check out process. There are several reasons why this is a great tool:

  • When Person 1 grabs the file, they grab it from the Remote location (the server) as opposed to a local version. This means that he’s working off the most recent version in case someone has made changes they don’t know about.
  • When you access a file Dreamweaver gives you the option to download all related files (images etc.). This is perfect for when you are overhauling the whole page entirely.
  • When Person 1 checks out the file Dreamweaver “locks” it preventing Person 2 from making changes. Instead, they will see that the file is in use by Person 1. (note, if they forget to check the file back in and you absolutely must have it, I connect by an FTP app like FileZilla and remove the .LCK file for that respective file (eg. index.asp.LCK)).

The Setup

It’s pretty easy to setup too!

1) Set Up Your Site: Even though you do not need local copies of the site, you do need to setup a Site within Dreamweaver. Then when you check out files it downloads them to the site directory. Create a directory on your computer for the site, then in Dreamweaver’s menu: Site > New Site.

Go to the Advanced tab. Give the site a name, and select the Local Root folder to the directory you just made. You can skip all the other form fields.

2) Setup the FTP Connection: From the Site Definition window’s left pane click Remote Info and select FTP. Enter your host/ip, username and password.

Keep “Maintain synchronization information” checked, and check “Check out files when opening”. Now enter your name and email address that everyone else with server access will see.

3 Test the Setup Once it has finished caching / checking the connection go to your site window (F8 is the keyshort to toggle it). You will need to click the Connect button (circled here)


Once you do this the left pane should show you the remote server, and the right pane the local directory.

Using the FTP

Double click one of the page files. Usually I say no to dependent files (unless I know I’ll need them). Now that file should appear in the Local pane. When I double click it opens and a green check mark appears next to it in my Files window. This means it is currently checked out. If you haven’t downloaded the dependent files the page will look VERY different as the images and CSS that style the page are gone.

Make your changes, and save the file. Now click the file and click the Check In button to put it back on the server. This not only updates the page, but relinquishes your checking-it out, making it available to other people.

check in

You’ve now successfully set up Dreamweaver FTP. This will hopefully keep everything a lot safer. It’s still no replacement for frequent back ups, but it’s one more layer of security to help you sleep at night!

One Response to “Using Dreamweaver FTP with a Team”

  1. pixelflex says:

    I’ve used this for years and the issue we had with DW “Check in/Check out” was nobody ever checked out. Then you’d get a prompt every time you where overriding a file that’s been checked in by someone, so really you’re adding an extra click to your development process.

    “Using Subversion for web projects”

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