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Dreamweaver 4: The Missing Manual [Paperback]

David Sawyer McFarland

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Macromedia Dreamweaver ranks among the most popular tools for developing and managing Web sites, but because it's different from the ordinary office productivity software with which we're all familiar, there's a need for an explanatory book on the program. Dreamweaver 4: The Missing Manual takes that role, showing its readers how to build and modify everything from tables to basic Flash animations. To the credit of author David McFarland, the book usually manages to carry out its instructive role while neither confusing nor patronising its readers. There's enough detail in these pages to guarantee they'll remain useful for a long time, and enough patient text and graphics (mostly small, detailed screen shots) to help them up the steepest parts of the Dreamweaver learning curve.

As is the case with all of the Missing Manual books, this one uses an excellent style for its procedures. Rather than treating procedures as sequences of inflexible directives, as do many user-lever books, this book allows for the fact that the person reading the procedures has a brain and may want to do something that deviates from the example. For that reason, McFarland explains the options that appear at each point along the way as he details a procedure, and explains why you might want to take alternative actions. He's also good about explaining HTML conventions, like the supremacy of specified table width over specified column widths. One might wish for more coverage of the server-side routines to which forms submit their contents, but what's here is excellent. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to use Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 to create and maintain Web sites. Billing itself as "the book that should have been in the box," this volume explains text formatting, hyperlinking, tables, frames, forms, and other aspects of site design and management via the Dreamweaver interface.

Review

"....I would highly recommend this book for any serious Web developer who wants to expand their Dreamweaver skills...." -- Joyce Evans, The Designers ’Bookshelf, August 2002

Dreamweaver 4: The Missing Manual is the ultimate atlas for the excellence-driven web designer. -- Micromail.com, May 2002

If you're a novice or even an intermediate Dreamweaver user, this book is a worthy investment. -- Massimo Fot, Jan 2002

This is not a "learn Dreamweaver quickly" book, but a learning resource of great value. -- Joyce Evans, The Internet Eye Magazine, April 1, 2002

This is not a "learn Dreamweaver quickly" book, but a
learning resource of great value. -- Joyce J. Evans, March 2002

Very concise and well written. This particular book filled in many missing pieces with its tutorial and served well as a reference lookup. -- Steve Weinberg, Rockland PC Users Group, March 14, 2002

From the Publisher

Dreamweaver 4: The Missing Manual is the ideal companion to the complex Dreamweaver web design software. After orienting new users with an anatomical tour of a web page, author Dave McFarland walks you through the process of creating and designing a complete web site with Dreamweaver. Armed with this handbook, both first-time and experienced web designers can easily bring stunning, interactive web sites to life.

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'Pression College for Digital Arts. 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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 17 - Libraries and Templates

You've finished the design for your company's new Web site. It looks great and your boss is ecstatic. But you've only just begun. There are hundreds of pages to build before you launch the site. And once it's online, you'll make endless updates to keep it fresh and inviting. This is where Dreamweaver's site management features come into play, making the sometimes tedious work of building and updating Web pages much easier.

On most sites, many pages may have certain elements in common: a copyright notice, a navigation bar, or a logo. In fact, dozens of Web pages may be identical except for the text; for instance, a company Web site with an employee directory may dedi-cate a single Web page to each employee. Each of those pages probably has the same navigation bar, banner, footer, and layout; only a few particulars differ, such as the employee name, photo, and contact information. For any of these situations, your first instinct should be to exploit Dreamweaver's Library items and Templates.

Library Basics
Imagine this situation: You manage a relatively large Web site consisting of thousands of Web pages. At the bottom of each page is a simple copyright notice: "Copy-right MyBigCompany. We reserve all rights—national, international, commercial, noncommercial, and mineral—to the content contained on these pages." Each time you add another page to the site, you could retype the copyright message, but this approach invites both typographic errors and carpal tunnel syndrome. And if you must format this text too, then you're in for quite a bit of work.

Fortunately, Dreamweaver's Library can turn any selection in the document window (a paragraph, an image, a table) into a reusable chunk of HTML that, later, you can easily drop into any Dreamweaver document. The Library, in other words, is a great place to store copyright notices, navigation bars, or any other snippet of HTML you use frequently.

But this is only half of the Library's power. When you add a Library item to a Web page, it's actually only a copy that remains linked to the original. That means whenever you update the original Library item, you may choose to update every page that uses that item.

Suppose your company is bought, for example, and the legal department orders you to change the copyright notice to "Copyright MyBigCompany, a subsidiary of aMuchBiggerCompany" on each of the Web site's 10,000 pages. If you had cleverly inserted the original copyright notice as a Library item, you could take care of this task in the blink of an eye. Just open the item in the Library, make the required changes, save it, and let Dreamweaver update all the pages for you.

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