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Dreamweaver CS4: The Missing Manual Paperback – Dec 2 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1090 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Dec 5 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596522924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596522926
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 5.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #437,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

David Sawyer McFarland is the president of Sawyer McFarland Media Inc., a web development and training company located in Portland, Oregon. In addition, he teaches JavaScript programming, Flash, and web design at the University of California, Berkeley, the Center for Electronic Art, the Academy of Art College, and Ex'Pressions Center for New Media. He was formerly the webmaster at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center. David is also the author of CSS: The Missing Manual and Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book shortly after buying Dreamweaver CS4. It taught me Dreamweaver. And continues to be an excellent reference manual.
The book leads you through the functionality of the software with clear descriptions, step by step tutorials,and in-depth discussions of some of the more complicated topics. It even tells you which options in Dreamweaver NOT to use, if you want to follow best practices and make your life easier.
Although the book is massive, it has an excellent index. The virtual CD has all the files necessary for the tutorials, and you download it from the web site (hey, if you want to build web sites, you've gotta have internet access, right!)
I am a volunteer webmaster for several web sites including my own, a band from Winnipeg, and a non-profit organization. I recently totally revised the look and feel of one of them, and was delighted to receive unsolicited positive feedback. The book also helped me figure out how to fix some browser problems in older versions of Internet Explorer.
I spent a lot of time browsing the bookstores and trying to find a really good tool for learning the software. This is the best of the lot.
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Format: Paperback
I have used Dreamweaver for several years now but yearned to know more. This book turned out to be just what I needed. Everything is covered in clear concise language. What I like about Dreamweaver CS4 and this text is that it goes to great lengths to explain the new web site design techniques. CSS design is embedded and heavily used in this version of Dreamweaver and the book goes to great lengths to explain it. Excellent text.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4d8a450) out of 5 stars 88 reviews
73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dbee94) out of 5 stars Great Book on Dreamweaver CS4 Jan. 20 2009
By Frank Stepanski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dreamweaver CS4 is the latest version of the popular web editing software from Abobe. There are lots of new features in this version (compared to CS3) such as Live View: a better way to see how your page works without having to open it up in a separate browser, better integration for JavaScript and Ajax, easier interface for finding and updating source and include files attached to your web pages, cleaner CSS code created and much more.

For the newbie or existing user of Dreamweaver, there is lots to learn in this new version and the book Dreamweaver CS4: The Missing Manual is a great way to get started on learning Dreamweaver or get quick updates on the new things CS4 has to offer.

Of course this book is big (over 1000 pages) but it is going to be a complete learning reference for newbie's and well as good reference for existing users of the tool.

Compared to other Dreamweaver books I have, it makes it really easy to find exactly what you want with the clear and concise headings and subheading at the top of each page. I hate books that make you hunt around for pages trying to find what area of the book you are in.

The book is divided into 6 main sections:

1. A Guided Tour: This is for the newbie who want to learn the basics of the new CS4 interface and how to use some of the basic tools for creating web pages.

2. Building a Better Web Page: This takes in depth of advanced CSS layout and design (liquid layouts, fixed layouts, elastic layouts, positioning of elements, navigation, etc.) This section alone is more information than any Dreamweaver book I've read before on layout design.

3. Bringing Your Pages to Life: This teached you how to create web forms (HTML) and add the new Spry (JavaScript library) components to your page. Spry was added to the CS3 version of Dreamweaver (you can get it separately if you want), and was vastly improved in this version of Dreamweaver. Having Spry integrated with Dreamweaver makes it 100x easier to use as opposed to adding it manually by yourself.

4. Building a Web Site: This section deals with the file and site management of Dreamweaver. Not only do you have to design and code your web pages, but you need a site management tool to keep track of all you files (.html, gif, .css, etc) and track all the updates other people may make to them as well if your working in a group. Even if you working alone on a web site, it really is important to manage your files efficiently.

5. Dreamweaver CS4 Power: This section explains the unique tools that it has to offer like libraries and templates. Dreamweaver (with most previous versions) allows you to create snipets of code and store them as a code library to be used later. These pieces of code can be used anywhere on your website and are controlled and organized by Dreamweaver automatically. Templates are just what they sound like...You can create templates in Dreamweaver and reuse them for any website you create. It eliminates you having to re-write or re-copy-and-paste your code each time you have the same section on multiple pages. It have be HTML or CSS or both that can be re-used. A great feature and improved in CS4.

6. Dynamic Dreamweaver: This section is very important and explained very well from a coding/programming standpoint. Websites today are usually using some sort of database for retrieving lots of the website's content. With Dreamweaver you can link to a database (MySQL, MS Access, Cold Fusion --- not SQL Server) and use Dreamweaver's wizards to help you create dynamic web sites. It makes it easier than having you to know lots code/programming concepts. Dreamweaver can help you create sessions (tracking visitors from multiple pages) cookies (remember visitors from each visit) and much more. The author explains these more advanced techniques very nicely and without too much "techno jargon".

The last chapter is focused on another advanced topic with XSLT and XML. This is how you can style and design your web pages from data transferred from any kind of datasource and format with XML and XSLT. Many websites today are using XML/XSLT no matter what back-end they are using. A very unique and helpful addition to a Dreamweaver book.

This book should be in everybody's library no matter what the skill level. It covers all the basics for the beginner and many advanced topics for the seasoned veteran of Dreamweaver.

A great book.
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dbeee8) out of 5 stars Perfect for Newbies and Veterans Jan. 18 2009
By SoCal Thom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those who need to get up to speed quickly on the intricacies of Dreamweaver CS4 would do well to grab onto this book. The author has a complete grasp on the subject matter and is able to communicate it with such ease that learning is almost effortless. Not only does he cover every aspect of the program, he also provides a full-bodied primer on Cascading Style Sheets and database websites. This is a big book with lots of stuff in it. But, as the Missing Manual series' tag line states, this IS the book that should have been in the box. If you are absolutely new to Dreamweaver, you won't find a better book. If you are upgrading from CS3 or an earlier version, you'll find the help you need. Highly recommended.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dc41e0) out of 5 stars The Missing Manual: Found! Jan. 7 2009
By John A. Czislowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This welcome book by David McFarland explains Adobe's new version of Dreamweaver in both basic and advanced terms. It is a competent book for all users. On reading the book, I was surprised at what I did not know about basic web design and the advent of the all-encompassing CSS. As a relative novice I was surprised at the easy-to-understand tutorials scattered throughout the book. I also appreciated McFarland's unique sense of humour. Advanced web support also accompanies this book. Overall, my introduction to Dreamweaver has been made that much more easy by this 'missing' manual. My only criticism is its size. Two volumes may have been easier to hold. This is the workout version.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dc46fc) out of 5 stars Best Dreamweaver CS4 manual Dec 20 2009
By Mary Straus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased three books to help me learn Dreamweaver:

Dreamsweaver CS4 for Dummies
Dreamweaver CS4: The Missing Manual (this book)
The Essential Guide to Dreamweaver CS4 with CSS, Ajax and PHP

I started with Dreamweaver CS4 for Dummies, which I found to be a pretty good book. I was able to read it cover to cover (though it's not necessary to do so to get started). In addition to a good basic overview, it had a couple of very helpful tips in a chapter called "10 Resources You Might Need."

As my design became more detailed, I felt the need for a book that went into more depth and bought the other two books listed above. I like both books, but find I rely on The Missing Manual the most. Its writing is clear and easy to follow. The numerous tutorials give step-by-step instructions for a beginner on how to accomplish various tasks, with more advanced details included in the text.

I like The Essential Guide as well, but since I'm not using PHP, I find that there are areas where the advice they give simply doesn't work for me. For example, when I wanted to learn more about using templates, The Essential Guide gave only a very basic explanation, then went into far more detail about using PHP "includes" instead. While I agree that the PHP "includes" are probably the better choice, it's not one that is available to me since I don't have a PHP testing server (and don't want to go through the complexity of setting one up on my home computer). If you are using PHP, then this is definitely the book to get.

All in all, if I had to recommend one book to get started, it would be For Dummies, particularly if your needs are very simple and/or you're completely new to web site design. For those who want to move beyond the basics, I like The Missing Manual the best. This book could also be used by beginners as long as you're not put off by its length -- with over 1,000 pages, it's not one you'll be able to read cover to cover. I think The Essential Guide is best suited for those who want to create very complex designs, especially those that use PHP. It, too, is very clearly written, but more intimidating to a beginner.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dbefa8) out of 5 stars A great help Jan. 25 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dreamweaver is a great equalizer in web design. It lets people who have little to no knowledge of programming create solid websites very quickly and it helps seasoned web designers do incredible work as well.

This book is well written and clearly explains not only what the program can do but the underlying concepts that make web pages do what they do. You learn about how websites function, not just how to use this product- which is very helpful when you're creating a site not from the tutorials.

The two downsides to this book: all of the supplemental tutorial pieces (websites, graphics, etc.) that are used in the book are online and not on a CD. Yes, this helps cut the costs, but when you're just starting out, it seems like a bit of a chore (first rule of web design: Don't make me think!).
The other downside: this book is indeed heavy. Its very readable and packed with information, but the size will wear you down when you're just getting started and reading for more than just a few minutes. On the plus side, you are getting your money's worth and people will think you are very smart reading this massive tome.

In a couple of hours reading the book and following along on Dreamweaver, I had a functioning multi-page personal test page. A great place to get started. If I could, I would give this 4.5 stars.