Dreamweaver CS6: The Missing Manual Paperback – Jul 26 2012
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I like that attitude and it is a clue that these 1000 pages contain solid material with no waste in time for you.
The book is logically organized, like a class that teaches Web site construction with the best tool around. You advance chapter by chapter across the basics, learning both the tool interface and the coding practices. I recommend you follow along in the book -- but, just in case, this book has a companion Web site with most of the example pages ready to use.
The other thing I like about the book is, once past the mechanics, the book goes into the more interesting issues, like the Spry drop-ins, design issues, layout flexibility, site management and the ever-challenging cascading style sheets. On the other hand, so far I have not encountered any handling of the cooler features of HTML 5 or CSS 3 -- but that is not the purpose of this book.
This book should be all you need to get comfortable with both Dreamweaver and the range of coding conveniences it offers.
But the author MacFarland still devotes a very significant number of pages to Adobe's own "Spry" framework. In the summer of 2012, Adobe officially dropped support for Spry, and told users to rely on non-proprietary frameworks like JQuery instead of Spry. McFarland should have seen this coming at least a year ago, if not from the very beginning. And, I suspect had he done some old-fashioned hard-nosed investigative reporting among people working at Adobe, and among developers working with Adobe, he could have obtained quotes 'from unnamed sources' confirming that Spry would be abandoned.
And, unfortunately, MacFarland does not devote many pages to the the one proprietary feature in Dreamweaver that has (I think) always been there, and always will be there: Dreamweaver Templates. There are many template tricks and tips, some involving very very simple lines of code, which he does not cover. And I don't think he really appreciates how powerful these templates can be -- descriptions of a variety of site-structure scenarios using templates would have been nice, along with some tips or outlines on how to do each of the scenarios. The template feature can be powerful, but it can also be a little mind-boggling. (And alas, the best book on the topic is out of print, and dates back the MX version of Dreamweaver, and though it still contains a great deal of useful info, that old template book Dreamweaver MX Templates is not terribly well-written or well-organized.)
On the other hand, MacFarland's book is packed with useful info, small and big tips, and is fairly well organized (though Templates chapters is, oddly, at the end of the book) and well-written (though he could have been more concise without sacrificing any information).
I do wish, however, it covered Dreamweaver more, and basic web development less. I'm one who can use lots of help with web development coding and the like, even very basic things. But I don't need every single book I own that is remotely related to web design to explain the difference between POST and GET.
If I buy a book on Dreamweaver, and I'm creating a form, I want to know how Dreamweaver can help me create that form, and I can use another book or article for the overall instructions on how to code a form.
I appreciated the color picture showing the layout of the features. They allow the user to see how they are used, and this is extremely helpful for visual learners. I am a visual learner; I need to see how it works to understand. Also the sample code makes it easier to test out the features, not just read about them.
There is a real need for this Dreamweaver is a completed program to learn with out instruction. The book goes over each element explaining how they work and how to use them. Practical examples by the author show his mastery of the program and web development. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn how to use the amazing web development program.
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