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on June 2, 2004
I had little knowledge of coding with PHP before I bought this book, and that's precisely the reason I picked it up. I figured that I should learn how to use PHP specifically with my wonderful Dreamweaver MX, and this is the perfect book for that. It is excellent for allowing the lightbulb in your head to turn on and gets ideas and possibilities flowing in your head in only the first few chapters. I couldn't wait to start on my own site.
Within one week, I had finished the book and made large advancements in designing my own PHP based site and am loving it. It is great to go back to for reference on the hand-coding, and has allowed me to use the skills learned, twist them around and, with the helm of DW, to develop better applications. I have had this book for three weeks and it has let me rocket past my expectations.
The only problem is that I wish there were more. Now that I understand the basics, I would like the "advanced" copy of the book. I want to know more about how the PHP relates with the SQL, and samples of how could go further into my development. The book lacks on "the second step", but I suppose that would require a second book.
One reviewer stated that the book allows for no trial and error, I believe that the trial error should take place after you're finished with the book, not while reading it. Once you get to toying with your own site is when you make the errors, and then you can go back to the book and find out where you went wrong. Great book, don't hesitate, buy it if you're a's worth it.
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on May 27, 2004
I bought this book upon seeing all of the wonderful reviews it was given here on Amazon. I had been designing web pages professionally for about a year, and was ready to make the move to dynamic development. I had only a little knowledge of web programming and attendant technologies and thought this would offer the best place to begin. Unfortuntely for me, it was a little too simplistic.
The book is mapped from beginning to end on an imaginary site, Newland Tours; the reader follows along, doing the steps given, to turn the site from static into dynamic. The problem for me was two-fold. I learn by understanding the fundamentals, and theory, first, and then by trial-and-error. This book allows for neither.
The author barely scrapes the theory or "why" behind any of what is shown; in fact at one point he states that it would be beyond the scope to do so - which is precisely the trouble with much of the book, everything one might want to know seems to be beyond the scope. Much of the book is "do this, do that, save and close." If you make a mistake, you can fix it easily enough by loading the completed page - but this proves to be a double-edged sword. Since the fundamentals of structure and syntax have not been thoroughly realized, the reader may feel as if he has no idea of what went wrong in the process, and it becomes tempting to load the finished pages and move on. In fact, the author encourages this in several spots. So those like me, who like to explore and learn from our mistakes are rather left by the wayside, ironically, in the book's attempt to make itself more newbie-friendly.
Additionally, the pages are bloated with disruptive screenshots, but the code is often obscurely placed, with its attendant notes even more buried inside a paragraph of "advice." This advice follows every single step in the book, but is so overwritten that it fails to convey its intentions in many cases. A paragraph may read like this: "You have to ... You have to ... You have to ... And you have to ..." Again, for a person who learns by trial-and-error, this is slog-through material.
Finally, it was an unfortunate publishing choice (and perhaps not the author's) to try and cover all three scripting languages in one introductory book, particularly one so overly simplified as this - in fact it doesn't make any sense at all. It's akin to trying to learn algebra, geometry, and trigonometry concurrently. It's confusing, annoying, and most often results in skipping or skimming over large chunks of text, even pages and sections. The fact that every one of the author's examples is given in ASP, and that PHP is on several important occassions almost ignored (the form-to-mail script, for instance, is hugely underwritten, with the flimsy excuse that it is too involved to go into) doesn't help.
If you -really, really, really- are clueless in the realm of dynamic web programming, and you like to have someone map everything out for you, and you don't necessarily feel the need to apply this to your own site, but rather just want a general overview to gain some familiarity, this book will be useful (if not helpful). However, if you are actually hoping to build your own site dynamically after going through this book, you might want to consider buying one of these, instead:
Sam's Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL, and Apache All-in-One ;
PHP and MySQL Web Development, by Welling/Thomson, second ed.
-- or any other book suited to your language of choice (ASP, CFML).
Both are much more informative and far more open-ended.
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on June 19, 2004
I purchased this book in hopes to learn more about dynamic web pages. For the most part, this book is well written and contains many useful illustrations. Chapters are logically broken-down into digestible sections, where one gathers both a valuable hand-on experience and a basic understanding of ASP, ColdFusion, and PHP.
I understand no new book is published without errors; and this one is no exception. My only problem is, when I contacted the author (Jeffery) though Allectomedia to point out a few new errors, he never responded. According to the online form you fill-out they state, "We usually respond within a couple days". I waited a month, and didn't receive any response nor notice these new errors added to their errata page. I then filled the online form out again, and another month later, nothing. Perhaps they don't want their errata page to get too large, as it may deter others from purchasing this book.
Now I know which books and authors to avoid.
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on May 26, 2004
I found his book amazing! It's the best book I have read to understand, what I thought would be very complicated to learn. The best part for me, a beginner with Cold Fusion, is learning how to use Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX 2004's tools to create cold fusion pages quickly and easily. The book uses a complete website example to step through various types of dynamic web pages and coding. The book includes helpful screen examples of the design and code view allowing me to compare my creations to expected outcomes. To pick up things I might have missed in the first reading, I went through the book completely a second time, and found things I didn't remember the first time through that I am using in my daily web designing. I keep referring back to the book and the accompaning CD for reference. For a beginner, wanting to learn to create dynamic pages, this is a must! Thank you Jeff Bardzell for putting out such a wonderful and useful book!
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on November 23, 2003
As a graphic artist with a severe case of left-brain subject-avoidance, I approached this book on building Dynamic Web Applications in Dreamweaver MX 2004 with a goodly amount of apprehension. Jeffery Bardzell's intelligent, engaging style allayed all of that in the first few paragraphs. His presentation is clear, direct, and sets you up to win.
The book is a healthy, 16 lessons long, with each lesson progressing through short steps that are visually reinforced by screenshots. By the end of the book you will have upgraded a static HTML site filled with obsolete code, to a standard compliant, CSS formatted, dynamic, XHTML site, and will have mastered the fundamentals of dynamic application development. I can't wait to go out and develop my first database-driven site! Thank you, Jeffery.
Linda Rathgeber
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on January 11, 2004
I have 2 books about ColdFusion. This one and ColdFusion MX Bible.
This book: Wonderful if you want to learn how to create applications with Dreamweaver MX 2004 specifically, as it goes through all the dialog based application development.
The other book (ColdFusion MX Bible): Great if you want to learn how to hand-code applications using ColdFusion MX. Very in-depth covering all aspects of ColdFusion. This book does not deal with dialog based apps like Dreamweaver. You can hand-code with DW, however.
Both books are excellent. I have both because I want to know the code behind my apps but I don't necessarily want to have to always type code.
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on March 15, 2004
I am around 6 years in the multimedia business, mastering most of Adobe and Macromedia programs.
For building web sites, I mostly use Dreamweaver and flash. I never build a real dynamic site.
When I got the book, I was ready to use 20% to 30% from the list of contents, but actually, I did read it all.
I can't describe how good it is. No meter what is your level/experience if you want to go dynamic this is the book.
I had to learn at the same time to build two sites one with ASP on SQL and one with PHP on Linux system and surprise surprise it even did work. I want to thank Jeffrey for the great book.
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on January 13, 2004
I bought this book because Macromedia didn't provide any manuals with their Studio MX 2004, other than some useless PDF files, and I wanted to know how to use the new MX 2004 version. I thought that this book would have the usual crud with a few pearls of information that in the end would probably make it worth the price. Instead, I found a book that is pure gold. It's well written and if you stay with it, it will teach you quite a bit. If I was to teach a course on Dreamweaver MX 2004, this would be my manual.
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on February 8, 2004
I have read many resources to try and understand database connectivity in dreamweaver and at last I found one. Jeffrey has set out this book clear and explains every detail assuming his reader has no knowledge of the task. A very good book, with very few errors definately recommended for anyone wanting to use php, asp or coldfusion to make their sites dynamic.
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on March 17, 2004
Simply put, this is the best book available to begin your quest into dynamic web sites via Dreamweaver. You won't be disappointed. Easy to understand, easy to follow, and amazingly thorough in its step by step process.
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