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About web and application servers

To build web applications in Dreamweaver, you need the following software:

A web server
An application server that runs on your web server, or a web server that doubles as an application server, such as Microsoft PWS or IIS

A web server is software that serves files in response to requests from web browsers. When the web server receives a request for a static HTML page, the server reads the request, finds the page, and sends it to the requesting browser. Common web servers include Microsoft IIS, Netscape Enterprise Server, iPlanet Web Server, and Apache HTTP Server.

To run web applications, your web server needs to work with an application server. An application server is software that helps the web server process dynamic pages before the pages are served up to requesting browsers by the web server. The application server reads the code on the dynamic page, finishes the page according to the instructions in the code, then strips out the code. In the case of an HTML-based application, the result is a static page of HTML that the application server passes back to the web server, which then sends the page to the requesting browser. In the case of a Rich Internet Application, the result is a Macromedia Flash movie that returns the variables requested by the browser.

Application servers use different technologies. Dreamweaver MX supports five server technologies: ColdFusion, ASP.NET, ASP, JSP, and PHP. The following table shows common application servers available for these five server technologies.

Server technology Application server

Macromedia ColdFusion MX


Microsoft IIS 5 with .NET Framework


Microsoft IIS or PWS

Sun Chili!Soft ASP


Macromedia JRun

IBM WebSphere

Jakarta Tomcat

BEA WebLogic


PHP server

Make sure the application server you want to use works with your web server. For example, the .NET Framework works only with Microsoft IIS.

Before proceeding with this tutorial, you must choose a web server and install it on your local computer or on a networked computer. For more information, see Dreamweaver Help (Help > Using Dreamweaver > Getting Started > Installing a Web Server in Windows).

Note: "Installing a Web Server in Windows" also contains information for Mac users.

Once you have your web server up and running, you are ready to set up your application server.

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