The transition from flat (html) to dynamic (php) web pages can seem confusing at the beginning, but once your machine is set up for it, it is really fairly straight forward. It may help if you carry out some set steps, and then we can know what's happening for you at each stage.
I am not a support person either, but the method of setting up a good working development environment is just a series of easy steps. I don't know how far you have got, or whether you mind someone else chiming in, but it may help to have a step-by-step process listed - from downloading and installing a testing server, to setting up a dynamic site in DreamWeaver.
A summary of what has to happen:
• Installation of 'testing server' on your computer.
• Creation of Site Definition in Dreamweaver configured it to work with dynamic (php) pages using your testing server.
• Building your site, and being able to test and preview both flat and dynamic pages as you go on your local machine.
• Uploading your site to your remote server knowing that your dynamic pages will behave as they should.
So, if you're into it, the steps (if you have not already sorted it out) to get going now are:
To get and set up XAMPP (Windows Testing Server)
1. Download XAMPP from HERE
2. Unzip the archive, open the folder 'xampp-win32-1.7.3' and copy the folder inside (called xampp) to your C:\ drive.
3. Open the c:\xampp folder and double-click the 'setup_xampp.bat' file.
4. The windows command (prompt) window will open and display message/option lines:
• "Should I add shortcuts to the startmenu/desktop? (y/n): y" Press return key (to accept 'yes')
• "Should I locate the XAMPP paths correctly? Should I proceed? (y/x=exit setup): y" Press return key (to accept 'yes')
• "Should I etc. - Your choice? (y/n): n" Press return key (to accept 'no')
• "XAMPP is ready to use" Press <return> to continue: " Press Return
• "Timezone settings stuff" Press Return
Finally, type 'x' and press Return to exit the command window.
The XAMPP apache testing server, along with PHP, MySql & phpMyAdmin is installed.
Start the server by clicking the Xampp desktop icon or the start menu item.
Getting XAMPP up and Running(Windows Testing Server)
In the XAMPP control-panel that opens (bottom-right of screen):
• Tick the checkbox for Svc Apache, and click 'OK' to instal Apache service.
• Tick the checkbox for Svc MySql, and click 'OK' to instal MySql service.
• Click 'Start' next to Svc Apache to start the Apache service - (it will take a few moments, it will show 'running' when it has started.
• Click 'Start' next to Svc MySql to start the MySql service - (it will take a few moments, it will show 'running' when it has started.
Clicking 'Admin' in the Apache row takes you to your XAMPP 'home page' (once you have selected a language) in your localhost (web root) folder.
From here, using the links on the left, you can access your MySql databases (and create new ones for your applications when needed), by clicking the 'phpMyAdmin' link under 'tools', and you can check your server's configuration (i.e. what modules are installed etc.) by clicking on the 'phpinfo()' link.
The last task you need to do in order to be able to test your web applications with your testing server's MySql databases, is to set a password for the 'root' user. You can do this through your XAMPP home page, clicking 'security' in the menu on the left and clicking the link ( xamppsecurity.php ) in the right-hand frame, or by going directly to the page by entering that link in your browser's address bar. On the page that opens, in the 'MYSQL SECTION: "ROOT" PASSWORD' section, type a password for the root user (MySql SuperUser - i.e. you) , in the 'New Password' field, and retype it in the 'Repeat new password' field.
You can check the box (File: C:\xampp\security\mysqlrootpasswd.txt) - but leave other settings as they are, and click 'password changing'.
Be SURE to REMEMBER the password, or make a note of it, because it is a whole lot more trouble to reset if you forget it than it is just to set it in the first place.
From now on, when you are setting up a connection in Dreamweaver (for one of the applications/solutions used in building your websites) the connection settings will look something like this:
Connection name: mywebsite
MySql Server: localhost
User name: root
When it comes to making a new database, importing one from one of the solutions, or exporting one to put on your remote database, you can do this using phpMyAdmin which is now installed on your computer, and can be accessed by directing your browser to phpmyadmin/
As you have installed these as services, they should run in the background when windows starts. You can pretty much forget about it them now.
The only thing to remember for now is that your localhost (web root) folder is : C:\xampp\htdocs - so if you have files and folders of a website you are building, put them in a folder, and put that folder inside the C:\xampp\htdocs folder.
Setting up your Dynamic Site in DreamWeaver
If you already have a site you are working on, copy or move its files and folders to a folder within the
C:\xampp\htdocs folder. If your site is called say, 'mywebsite', then its root folder will be C:\xampp\htdocs\mywebsite\
To set up the site definition, from the DreamWeaver menu select: Sites > New Site (or edit site if you already have one) >
Local Info Tab:
Site name: My Website (for instance)
Local root folder: C:\xampp\htdocs\mywebsite\
HTTP address: www.mywebsite.eu
Testing Server Tab:
Server model: PHP MySql
Testing server folder: c:\xampp\htdocs\mywebsite\
URL prefix: mywebsite/
And then enter your remote settings, as provided by your hosting provider.
When it comes to uploading your site to your remote server after building and testing it out locally, if it requires a database, you will normally be able to configure the access settings via your control panel and manage the databases (probably using phpMyAdmin) with information you have set there. If in doubt, your hosting providers will help with it.
Hope some of this helps.