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Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3

O’Reilly Dynamic Learning dynamic_learning-Dreamweaver_CS3

Fred Gerantabee and AGI Creative Team

Yet another book for O’Reilly to help application users to learn how to use the software that comes without a real manual. While not part of the Missing Manual series, it provides the reader with a step-by-step set of instructions on how to use Dreamweaver CS3. It is aimed at new users of Dreamweaver CS3, but will be of use to more advanced users as well because it covers the upgrades to and changes from the last version. I was particularly interested in learning about the Spry Widgets and framework for Ajax in the new version.

The book begins with clear and succinct instructions on how to use the video tutorials as well as the lesson files and sets forth the requirements for both Windows and MAC users. The first lesson jumps right into Spry and discussions of integration with various other Adobe products. Also in the first chapter (lesson) is an explanation of how web sites work, domains, servers and web hosts, the role of web browsers and an introduction to HTML. The order of the topics is a little weird with the discussion of Spry and Adobe Bridge before the basics of web sites and html. That having been said, it’s still a good introduction for the beginner.

The second lesson moves right into creating a web site from scratch with Dreamweaver. There are lots of illustrations and each is accompanied by a clear explanation of each topic discussed. The chapter is followed by a number of assignments for studying to reinforce what has been discussed. There is a set of review questions complete with answers.

One of the best features of the book is that as the lessons progress, there is a great emphasis on the use of CSS to style the pages and it includes discussions of the differences between print and the web when choosing font sizes, how to prepare images for use on the web. Several chapters are devoted to page layout, both with tables and with CSS.

For those interested in adding Flash, videos and sound to pages, there is a chapter devoted to how to do it. Because the book is about Dreamweaver and not about Flash, it is does not show you how to create the Flash content, but Dreamweaver does include functionality to create some Flash content such as buttons and text. The book also includes instructions for inserting Flash Video, QuickTime Video and Windows Media.

Dreamweaver has a number of functions that allow you to create modular web sites, including Snippets, Library Items and Templates. Snippets are bits of html that are saved in a collection for re-use in another site. They are copied into the new site so any changes made will not affect other sites in which the code is used—it’s a way to cut and paste.

Library items are another way to reuse content, but unlike Snippets, changes that are made will effect pages wherever the item is used.

Templates are good for creating pages that will look basically the same as each other. They can also be used when you want others to be able to add content to pages, but not to be able to modify other elements such as the look of the pages or menus.

The first part of the book teaches using the design view in Dreamweaver—the reader doesn’t have to deal directly with the HTML, but it does include a lesson on editing in the code view. Also included is a lesson on building web forms and at least mentions ways to connect the form data to a database. The scope of the book doesn’t permit detailed coverage of the topic, but does include the addion of some behaviors to the form, such as validation. Dreamweaver has a number of built-in javascripts to do validations that are easy to add.

The final chapter discusses maintenance of the web site, including reports and optimization.

The book includes a CD of the lessons and instructions for upgrading from earlier versions of Dreamweaver.

Product Information:

Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3
O’Reilly Dynamic Learning
Fred Gerantabee and AGI Creative Team
O’Reilly Media, Inc.
http://www.oreilly.com
800-998-9938
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
List Price: O’Reilly Media: $44.99
(UG Price $31.49)

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