Understanding Projects

This section explains what a project is, the benefits of organizing your work in projects, the different type of project folders you can use, and the project (.apf) file.

What is a project?

A project is a collection of files that you use in your Web site or application. You can include any type of file in your project, for example HTML files, Cascading Style Sheets, images, scripts, application code, and more.

The Project tab on the Resources window provides easy access to the tasks you must complete when working with projects. You can quickly select a project from the drop-down project list at the top of the tab. You can use the project toolbar next to it (see the tooltips for a description of each toolbutton). And below the projects list, in the folders and files panes, you can quickly navigate the project files.

Why use projects?

Projects let you to create your own file system that contains only the files that you need for developing your Web site. The benefits of projects include:

About project folders

Folders are the primary means of organizing files in your project. This section describes the different types of folders that you can use in a project.

Physical folders

Physical folders are directly tied, or mapped, to a directory on your computer.

Physical folders are either manual-inclusive or auto-inclusive:

Virtual folders

Virtual folders function as repositories for files that have no logical relationship to each other on a disk drive. You can think of a virtual folder as a container into which you can place whatever files you want. Virtual folders are a useful way to organize files that can be distributed across your file system.

Quick reference for project folder types

The following table shows the icon for each folder type and a description of when you should use each folder type:
Folder Type

Virtual folder
Use when you want to organize files from several different locations into one location.

Auto-inclusive folder (physical)
Use when you want all the files, or all files of a certain type, in a specific directory to be included in your project.

Manual-inclusive folder (physical)
Use when you want to select exactly which files, on a file-by-file basis, in a specific directory are included in your project.

About the project file

Both physical and virtual folders point to files in your file system. These pointers, or references, are contained in the project file.

The project file is created and saved (with an apf extension) when you create a new project. You are prompted to save changes when you close a project.

The project file is stored in an XML-defined WDDX format. This format can be difficult to read and it is not the ideal location from which to view a list of project files. The VTOM scripting engine functionality is more suited to this task. For more information on the VTOM scripting engine, see "Scripting the Visual Tools Object Model".