on May 22, 2004
I've been designing web sites for a number of years now and my program of choice was Adobe GoLive. However, I recently decided to switch to Dreamweaver MX 2004 because I wanted to take advantage of the program's advanced CSS and CSS-P capabilities. But I waited to make the switch until I knew this "Missing Manual" was available. I'd heard it was going to be released, and because I already own some other "Missing" titles, I instinctively knew this would be the book to get.
I wasn't disappointed. This book is EXCELLENT, both for newcomers to web design with Dreamweaver, but also for "switchers" like myself, who have experience with web design, but not with Dreamweaver. The book takes a step by step approach.
Some of Dreamweaver's features overlap with GoLive's, and some are common to all visual web editors; but that doesn't matter. You'll still enjoy reading this book, and you'll pick up lots of useful tips along the way.
The tutorials are PRICELESS. You simply download the files from the book's web site, and work through them, step by step, with the author holding your hand all the way. I really like the approach: learn the features, then learn to use them in a tutorial.
One very small caveat is that if you are looking for EXTENSIVE coverage on CSS layouts (without tables), you won't find it here. Yes, there is a chapter on how to lay out pages with nothing but CSS positioning, and there is a tutorial, which are a wonderful start to the subject. But you'll need something like "Eric Meyer on CSS" in order to take your CSS layout skills to the max.
This book easily deserves the 5 stars I gave it.
on April 8, 2004
The Dreamweaver MX 2004 book is, as its series title says, the "missing manual." The Missing Manual series is a highly respected and popular technological series, edited and managed by David Pogue, and published by Pogue Press in cooperation with O'Reilly & Associates, Incorporated. This book was written by David Sawyer McFarland.
The Dreamweaver MX 2004 book is targeted at beginners--or people with just a little experience--and even web design experts. "The Missing Manual" series of books has never failed to be good, even great, so I was looking forward to reviewing this book.
Out of the starting gate, organization is a key factor in the book's layout. A clear, easy-to-follow table of contents provides a quick reference to parts of the book the reader may or may not want to jump right into or skip completely, depending, of course, on the reader's experience level. This table of contents is followed by a short introduction chapter which tells what's new in Dreamweaver, describes differences, or parallels, between HTML and XHTML, and explains a little bit about cascading style sheets (CSS).
Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual continues this great organization by separating the book into six distinct sections: Part 1, Building a Web Page; Part 2, Building a Better Web Page; Part 3, Bringing Your Pages to Life; Part 4, Building a Web Site; Part 5, Dreamweaver Power, and finally, Part 6, Dynamic Dreamweaver. The progression from Part 1 to Part 4 is a great help to beginners, and the final two parts provide much assistance to beginners moving into the expert zone of webmastering.
What I found to be the best feature of the book was the supplemental material and resources offered by the author. They are available at the author's website in the form of downloadable files, tutorials, and several links to other websites for even more help and answers. However, the feature that is perhaps the most useful is the capability to link to a working example of the web pages you are supposed to build and actually see a live model in action as comparison.
The fonts used, Formata and Minion, and the layout of Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual were very easy to read and follow--easy on the eyes, at least to mine. There is one thing, though. In future editions, I would like to see spiral binding so that the book could lay open when using it at the computer, especially when referring back and forth from the book to my computer screen. I had to apply different methods of holding the book open, i.e., cordless phones, clipping heavy pens to the pages, etc., and this was just inconvenient.
Bottom line: Does the book live up to its title? Yes. Do I recommend Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual? Yes.
on April 2, 2004
The slogan of the Missing Manual series is "The book that should have been in the box" and Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual lives up to the series' reputation. Macromedia wouldn't want to ship this book with the software because it's a doorstop at 800 pages. Imagine what it would do to the packaging and the pricing of the already expensive software.
One itsy bitsy negative, but this book is not the only one avoiding it. Dreamweaver's help file doesn't cover it and neither does the forum on Macromedia's Web site. There is a feature called download stats listing the size of the file and the time it would take to download it. At what speed? 56k? T1? What? I would assume 56k, but assumptions are not reliable.
At 800 pages, you can expect all the features to be covered through step-by-step instructions, notes, and screen shots. The hard core stuff like building dynamic Web pages, working with databases, and using server programming within Dreamweaver are all there for those ready for a challenge.
McFarland goes the extra mile to note differences between computer systems (Mac vs. PCs) and browsers (compatibility). Looking at the table of contents is proof of the book's completeness and all I need to do is attest to its readability. First timers to creating a Web site or to Dreamweaver as well as owners of earlier versions will gain plenty of knowledge from this one.
on March 9, 2004
One thing I have learned over the passed 15 years is that very few software packages ever come with user guides that are useful. Working with any application is always a challenge and the right help makes everything goes so much easier. The "Missing Manuals" series has provided some of the best reference manuals out there today and this book is another example of the quality work released by O'Reilly press.
The author has proven to be very knowledgeable in the DreamWeaver application arena. I found the book to be easy to read and follow along with and the material fills in the gaps left out by the user manual. The instruction is written to all levels making sure that everyone can use this book and the figures included give a visual learning environment. Now in the updates if color was included this would enhance the learning process.
There are a number of step-by-step instructions to follow along with, giving you the opportunity to practice what you read. I think that a there could be more exercises included in the next edition, but what you have is certainly enough to get by.
There seems to be coverage of all aspects of DreamWeaver MX 2004 in this book, from the web page to the web site and everything in between. I was able to find answers to several questions I had with the software and I know of several people who have benefited from the book already.
Overall this is one great book and for those who need to use the software or those who want to get better you should be reading this.
on May 28, 2004
I'm half-way through this book, and so far, it's been a blessing. The author has structured this text in a way that allows a reader to get started using the software, and create web pages. He explains things thoughtfully and speaks to the beginner. With this book I also purchased Firework MX Bible--a big mistake. That book is thick, filled with copius descriptions of every possible tool, but teaches you nothing about actually using the software to create web objects.
on March 19, 2004
First of all let me tell that 2 weeks ago I had no idea what Dreamweaver MX 2004 was.
After read the first 3 chapters I was very impressed with the quality and guidance of the author. However, after read the chapters about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) I was convinced that this is THE BOOK to read if you really want to master Dreamweaver.
Congratulations David, you did a very nice job.