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The Essential Guide to Dreamweaver Cs3 with CSS, Ajax, and PHP (Friends of Ed Adobe Learning Library) [Paperback]

David Powers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 July 2008 Friends of Ed Adobe Learning Library
With over 3 million users worldwide, Adobe's Dreamweaver is the most popular web development software in the world, and it just took another step forward with CS3, the new version released in 2007. Having come a long way from its humble beginnings as a simple web design tool, CS3 allows you to rapidly put together standards compliant web sites and dynamic web sites with server-side languages and Ajax, and much more. To complement this great new application, David Powers has written the ultimate guide to it. The Essential Guide to Dreamweaver CS3 teaches you everything you need to know about the application, from setting up your development environment environment to publishing your sites and applications on the web, and everything in between. * Takes you through your development environment set up * Covers everything you need to create both standards compliant web sutes, and dynamic web applications * Teaches several real world techniques using a series of step by step tutorials

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Product details

  • Paperback: 788 pages
  • Publisher: Springer (4 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590598598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590598597
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 19 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 876,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

I specialize in writing about web design using Dreamweaver, PHP, and CSS. PHP is the most popular server-side language that brings life to websites by communicating with external data sources, such as databases, news feeds, and XML documents. Adobe has recognized my expertise in web development by appointing me an Adobe Community Professional (ACP) for Dreamweaver. You'll often find me giving help in the Dreamweaver forums and Dreamweaver Community Help.

Before turning my hand to writing about web design, I spent nearly 30 years as a BBC radio and TV journalist, working both in front of the microphone/camera and behind the scenes. That gave me a wealth of experience in explaining sometimes difficult concepts in straightforward, easy to understand language - experience which shows through in my books.

I spent a large part of my broadcasting career in Japan, first on loan from the BBC to NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and later as BBC correspondent. I have traveled all over Japan, and love taking photos, many of which end up being used in my books. Over the years, I have worked closely with the Shiki Theatrical Company, Japan's leading producer of musicals; and have translated several of their plays into English.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Confidence Building 11 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ajax, Spry widgets, Spry effects? - having upgraded to CS3, I had no idea what these were and was very tempted to stick with what works fine for me: frames!

However, I discovered this book and it is proving to be very useful. It calls itself `The Essential Guide' and this is what I am finding it to be. Not too heavy, not jokey, just well-written, with clear explanations, loads of screenshots and insights into what to do, what to avoid and what can be ignored.
Unfortunately it is over 700 pages long and I'm only 10% through (although it doesn't need to be read in page order) but I felt it valuable to draw your attention to the book sooner rather than possibly never.

Is it for you?
As the author, David Powers, writes:

`If you're at home with the basics of (X)HTML and CSS, then this book is for you. If you have never built a website before and don't know the difference between an <a> tag and your Aunt Jemima, you'll probably find it a bit of a struggle. .... the idea is to adapt the code generated by Dreamweaver to create websites that really work. I explain everything as I go along and steer clear of impenetrable jargon.
Although you do some hand-coding with Spry, most features are accessed through intuitive dialog boxes.'

`I don't assume any prior knowledge (of Ajax and PHP) ... Dreamweaver takes care of a lot of the PHP coding, but it can't do everything, so I show you how to customize the code it generates. Chapter 10 serves as a crash course in PHP, and chapter 11 puts that knowledge to immediate use .... This book doesn't attempt to teach you to become a PHP programmer .. but (should give you) sufficient confidence to look a script in the eye without flinching.'

Besides comfort food for the not-well-informed (like me) e.g.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book by David Powers!!! 10 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had already purchased David's "PHP for dreamweaver 8" book which I had found extremely good and useful. David's new book EGDWCS3 is absolutely brilliant. David carefully guides you through simple practical examples using PHP, MYSQL and Dreamweaver CS3 which eventually culminates in fully working solutions to the most common requirements when developing dynamic websites. As if the book isn't good enough - David is a daily visitor to the Friendofed forum and will happily answer any queries you have on the book in a very friendly way.

This book is superb - buy it now - you won't be disappointed!
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a Visual Learner 29 Aug 2007
By Kelley A. Rao - Published on Amazon.com
As a developer who is modestly adept with PHP, this book is a welcome addition to my library. With the recent release of CS3, it covers the nuts and bolts of the application(s) including the newly introduced Spry Widgets. Being a visual learner, I especially appreciated the chapter entitled "Creating a CSS Site Straight Out of the Box." The instructions were clear and concise and provided a great foundation for building future CSS based sites.

Every chapter, at least for me, was full of "Ah Ha" moments. I think I've learned more from this book than any other I've read in the past year (and there's been plenty). I even figured out how to get PHP My Admin running, thanks to this book! I recommend it highly.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Knowledge... 30 Nov 2007
By LCO - Published on Amazon.com
If you are VERY comfortable with PHP and MySQL, this may not be the best book for you. (I say that with some reservations, though, because of the vast wealth of knowledge in this book between page 1 and page 729.) Also, if you don't know how to code in PHP, the "Introduction to the Basics of PHP" in Chapter Ten may not be enough instruction for you to comfortably appreciate this book. BUT, if you have some knowledge of PHP (for example, you are a self-taught PHP coder like myself), need the power of PHP and MySQL, and are curious about any benefits there might be from this new technology SPRY (Adobe's implementation of AJAX), this will be an excellent book for you. The writing is clear, concise (in spite of its detailed explanations), and logical.

The strength of Powers' book is providing you with the vast majority of tools you will need to create, test, and implement a dynamic Web site using the power of PHP, MySQL, SPRY, and more. For instance, Chapter Four has detailed instructions on setting up a PHP server on your hard drive to enable you to test your server-side programs. Those instructions begin with downloading the PHP installation files and end with trouble-shooting possible configuration problems, including all necessary steps in between.

The book continues with how to set up a PHP site using Dreamweaver, learning the rules, tips, and benefits of cascading style sheets (CSS), the advantages and creation of a SPRY navigation menu bar, and an in-depth examination of on-line forms and data validation. Since the next logical step is doing something with the form data, the MySQL database product is tackled beginning, again, with its installation, continuing with the use of the phpMyAdmin feature, and ending with the storage of database records (including access control and security issues). As if this was not enough information to digest, the book ends with a guide to and uses for XML and XSLT in your Web site.

One more big plus from this book is that it offers the code (tested and commented) for a number of commonly used functions on Web sites today. If you are looking for a login function, form validation function, mail function, (and the list goes on) you'll find the code in this book.

Again, there is a wealth of knowledge in this book from front cover to back cover - well organized and easy to grasp.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Widgets forever... 30 Sep 2007
By Paul Shortis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fabulous book so easy to follow and informative.
This brings Dreamweaver to today and has dropped completely the outdated use of tables that others (such as H.O.T.) seem to be stuck with when the industry trend is only to insert tables into a page when using excel spreadsheets and such and never to use them for page building.
The extensive introduction of Widgets is a delight and has completely replaced those Javascript drop menu's avoiding all the pitfalls they entailed. The author leads you into dreamweaver in the usual way, most of these titles use, then easily run through tutorials that demonstrate how to build a site from simple CSS templates and from scratch. Step by step the author leads one from simple site to the introduction of widgets (new to DW CS3) through to PHP pages and on to databases and includes.
Very easy to folow and brings one up to date on the new CS3 architecture.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book in its class 27 Aug 2007
By P. Connolly - Published on Amazon.com
As the author says, "this book isn't 'Dreamweaver CS3 for the Clueless', or 'Dreamweaver CS3 for Complete Beginners'". There are plenty of books flooding the market at the moment for those users, and if that's you, I recommend you look elsewhere.

This book is intended for those who are familiar with the basics of web development with an interest in PHP, CSS, Ajax and Spry (Adobes version of Ajax). It assumes that you know your way around Dreamweaver, but that you haven't developed database driven web applications before.

As a tutorial, it is undoubtedly excellent. The author has a light and friendly writing style which works really well with this book, and he rapidly takes you from 'newbie' status to becoming an experienced developer.

As a reference book, it doesn't quite work - but I don't think that was the intention anyway. There is no 200-page index at the back listing all possible PHP and MySQL commands, but the book is all the better for it. If you need reference material, it's free on the web anyway, and personally I don't like books which use such an underhand method of giving me 'quantity' over 'quality'. This Essential Guide is exactly, and just, that.

Just one word about support. Not a word you normally associate with books, but David Powers is very active on the Adobe Dreamweaver forums, and always happy to assist readers (and others!) with any PHP-related questions. Just knowing that makes me confident about buying future books written by him.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big ambitions .... decent execution 30 Nov 2007
By The Commodore - Published on Amazon.com
As can be gleaned from the long title, this is an ambitious book. In almost 800 pages, David Powers overviews a wide array of technologies that can be used to build highly dynamic Web sites. The focus of the book is Dreamweaver CS3, the newest iteration of the leading Web development software from Adobe (formerly from Macromedia). After Adobe acquired Macromedia, it released Dreamweaver CS3, which incorporated the Spry framework--a library of code for creating AJAX applications. The book examines these changes, and provides demonstrations on creating Web sites using these new tools and making them work with other Web-related technologies such as PHP, CSS, XML and relational databases. Sample code is provided on the publisher's Website.

The first chapter highlights changes to Dreamweaver including Device Central and Adobe Bridge. Device Central is a feature that allows developers to preview what pages look like in handheld devices such as cell phones. Bridge is a program included with CS3 that manages images, multimedia and many other types of resources. Chapter 2 explores Spry effects, which provide ways to shake, squish, fade and otherwise manipulate elements on a Web page. Chapters 3 and 4 show readers how to create a local testing environment and how to set up Dreamweaver to work with PHP.

Chapters 5 and 6 detail CS3's support for CSS. This is helpful for those who, like myself, have written CSS by hand and have neglected support provided by Dreamweaver. The tools for handling CSS include the ability to drag page-specific styles to an external stylesheet and the ability to easily see which style rules affect a particular element on a page by using the CSS Styles panel. This section also discusses using CSS layout designs supplied by Adobe.

The next three chapters begin an in-depth exploration of various Spry widgets, code that allows a user to easily create fly-out menus, tabbed and "accordion" style interfaces, and other "oh, wow!" effects. Chapters 9 through 12 introduce PHP and discuss how to use it to send form results in an e-mail, validate user input, and include external files in a PHP page.

The next five chapters discuss setting up Dreamweaver CS3 to work with a MySQL database administered by the phpMyAdmin program. The chapters also discuss access control using PHP sessions and storing and retrieving data using PHP and the MySQL RDBMS.

Chapter 18 discusses using Dreamweaver and XSLT to display XML documents in a Web page. It also provides a brief introduction to XPath, the language that allows coders to find information in an XML document.

Chapters 19 and 20 are likely to be the most interesting for seasoned Web developers because they introduce Spry's support for dynamically displaying XML documents using AJAX. This feature allows developers to quickly create photo albums, calendars and other applications that can display new information on a Web page without reloading the page. The chapters also discuss how to retrieve information from various sources including an RBDMS.

In all, this is an ambitious book--perhaps too ambitious at times. Those without a basic foundation in the technologies discussed will likely find themselves occasionally lost. It also suffers from a few organizational problems. Certain chapters feel a bit thrown together, with disparate elements competing for the reader's attention.

However, the author does a good job of going beyond the Dreamweaver manual and showing the user how Dreamweaver can be used to build real-world Web applications. He also does a good job of explaining Spry's (and AJAX's) dark side--the complexity and size of the code, poor or non-existent accessibility for the impaired, and the requirement that JavaScript be enabled on the user's browser. He helpfully suggests workarounds for these issues.
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