144 of 148 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I am a photographer who has put off building a website because I simply didn't know where to start and I can't afford to hire consultants to set one up for me. I finally got a basic website up and running using the free Jalbum templates until I can build a fully custom and comprehensive website of my own. I bought this book because it looked like it would be useful in helping me achieve that goal but it has turned out to be a disappointment. Although Janine Warner explains things very well so that even a newbie can understand what she is saying, the book itself will not give you the information that you need to build your own website unless you have Dreamweaver. This book should really be called "A Basic Introduction to Dreamweaver for Dummies" because the heart of the book assumes that you have that application program. I don't have it and I don't know if I will ever get it or even want it. But even if I had Dreamweaver, there's a problem because the author tells you that the book is not intended to give comprehensive information about Dreamweaver either and that you should buy her book on Dreamweaver for that.
HTML? It mentions HTML in passing but, again, it tells you to get an HTML book if you need to know more about that subject. Same with CSS, etc. So this book is really just a overview of website building for people who have Dreamweaver but if someone had Dreamweaver, they would be better off buying a much more comprehensive book on that subject.
The book does have some useful general information about getting a domain name, hosting service, etc., but even that is very limited and and you can find even better information for free with a simple Internet search. In short, this book has very little information about actually building a website without Dreamweaver and it doesn't have much information about building one WITH Dreamweaver.
For some reason, it also has a chapter on building Podcasts. I didn't read that chapter because I bought this book to help me build a website, not a Podcast. As far as I'm concerned, that's an entirely different topic and it wastes more space in this book that could be used to go into HTML and other more relevant subjects. If I wanted a book on building Podcasts, I would buy one. I have no idea why the author included a chapter on building Podcasts in a book supposedly about building websites unless she also sells an expensive DVD course or book on that subject as well. It almost seems like the author made an effort to avoid offering solid and useful information about actually building a website and that she got side-tracked onto unrelated subjects.
This book also goes into editing pictures with Photoshop Elements. In my opinion, that's just wasting even more space on off-topic information because picture editing is another totally different topic. And, like Dreamweaver, the information she gives about PS Elements is very minimal so one would have to buy another book about PS Elements if they want to know more. Janine may sell a book or DVD course on Elements too. I use Photoshop CS myself so I just ignored her PS Elements stuff but that meant yet another chunk of the book was wasted. I would have liked to see more information on HTML in its place. Of course, you do have to know how to edit and optimize pictures for most websites but, again, that is another topic for another book. A book on building websites should ideally stick with building websites, not basic picture editing using a program that most people probably don't even have.
If you go to the author's website, you begin understand what the real purpose of this book may be. She sells many expensive DVD courses that, supposedly, actually teach you what this book should have taught you but doesn't. It almost seems like the purpose of this book is to get you to buy Janine's other books and DVD courses, not teach you how to do what the title suggests it should do.
I also noticed numerous errors in the text, which seems odd because in the beginning of the book, Janine mentions several times how important it is to edit and proof-read things. Here's just one example: On page 56 in the paragraph numbered "4," when discussing image optimization, Janine writes, "Notice that the size is reduced from 1.59MB to 407MB." She meant to write 407KB, of course. Errors like this are not a big deal but they could potentially confuse someone who didn't know any better and was trying to follow along. I noticed quite a few of that type of error and there were probably some that I didn't notice. But this type of book is short-lived and readers can generally expect rather poor editing and proof-reading so this can be excused. However, with a technical subject, it could cause problems for the reader. If Janine herself had simply taken an hour or two and proof-read the book, she would have caught those errors.
One other thing: At the beginning of the book, the author strongly advises the reader to NOT try to build a website alone. She goes on to talk about building task lists and time-lines for your team. She suggests that your team include various experts and consultants in different aspects of website building. But if you have a team of experts and consultants, you would have no need for this book. Most people who would buy this book are probably working alone and trying to build their first website. So one of the very first premises of this book is flawed and that may help to explain some of its other shortcomings. It's as if the author wasn't clear about what her own goals were with this book or whom she was writing it for, which is ironic since she makes a big point about the importance defining your goals and targeting the audience you want to reach. Clearly, the author didn't take her own advice with this book. The book gives you a small amount of information on many topics but not enough to really get you going and the reader may not be able to use much of it anyway unless they have Dreamweaver.
That said, I did learn a little from the introductory chapters about various things that one needs to know to plan a website but most of that was common sense information and readily available for free. The book functioned for me as a kind of primer but it definitely does not give me the information I need to get my website up and running. Now I have to resume my search to find a book that actually does teach one how to build a website and which makes no assumptions about what software applications one has.