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A very easy to read and understand book and, tied with the videos, it becomes a very powerful learning experience.

Book Review – Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 By Fred Gerantabee And The AGI Creative Team

Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 is the third in a series of books from O’Reilly that is branded as Dynamic Learning. It is written by a group of product professionals and trainers from the Aquent Graphics Institute (AGI) and lead by Fred Gerantabee. These are the people who have produced many of Adobe’s own manuals.

Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 are produced with Digital Classroom video tutorials that enhance the topics discussed in the book. Each lesson begins with a “Starting Up” section that makes sure that you are ready to roll. Then you are asked to view the video to get a better feel for what you are going to do. You then work through the lesson. This, tied with self study exercises, and review questions are meant to reinforce the content and skills learned.

Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 is divided into 13 lessons covering 400 pages. The dynamic Learning DVD comes complete with all of the lesson files and video files needed to follow along with the book. The preface, “Starting Up,” introduces you to dynamic learning, gets you set up and gives you other information needed to begin your lessons.

Lesson 1, “Dreamweaver CS3 Jumpstart,” begins at the beginning. In this lesson you will learn what Dreamweaver is, and what new features are contained in CS3. You will also learn how websites and web pages work as well as beginning to work with some basic HTML/XHTML. Lesson 2, “Creating a New Site,” shows you how to create a new site definition, establish local root and remote folders as well as adding and defining pages. You will also work with files from the files panel and learn how to upload and download files to and from your site.

Lesson 3, “Adding Text Images,” explains how to preview pages, add text, create hyperlinks, and create lists. You will also find out how to work with styles, use the text insert bar, and insert and edit images. Lesson 4, “Styling Your Pages with CSS,” introduces the concept of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Here you will compare CSS and tags, use the CSS panel and create class and tag styles.

Lesson 5, “Creating Page Layouts with Tables,” will help you in planning design and layouts, creating and modifying tables as well as comparing tables to other layout methods. Here, as in the next lesson, the author compares the use of tables versus CSS boxes and the pros and cons. You will work with layout tables and standard tables as well as learning how to import table data. Lesson 6, “Creating Page Layouts with CSS,” begins by describing the CSS Box model, and quickly shows how to create divs and AP divs. It then shows how to stack and overlap elements, and how to use visual aids to fine-tune positioning.

Lesson 7, “Fine-Tuning Workflow,” examines how to customize panels and panel groups, how to resize the document window, how to use guides and grids, and how to use the tag selector. Lesson 8, “Working with Frames,” will have you creating frames and framesets, setting the frame properties, and working with the frame panel. You will then add and edit frame content, use target frames, and add < noframes > content for browsers that cannot handle frames.

Lesson 9, “Adding Flash, Video, and Sound Content,” begins by showing you how to insert Flash content. Then you will create Flash buttons and Flash text within Dreamweaver. You also will learn about plug-ins and then how to add video and sound files to a webpage. Lesson 10, “Getting Modular with Reusable Items,” shows you how to insert and add snippets, use library items to reuse common items, how to create and modify page templates, as well as how to create editable regions.

Chapter 11, “Under the Hood: Editing in the Code View,” describes how to use the code and design views as well as how to take advantage of the coding toolbar. You will learn how to validate and format your code. Chapter 12, “Building web forms,” shows you how to create forms, work with the

tag, add form elements and validate forms. Chapter 13, “Managing Your Web Site: Reports, Optimization and Maintenance” finishes up by showing you how to manage your files, how to upload, optimize for performance and search engines, use site reports and use the CSS Advisor and Browser Compatibility Check.

Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 will work really well as a classroom tool. It is very broad in scope, so beginners will find it very easy to learn with. It shows the importance of CSS for good design, and shows a lot of nifty conveniences as well.

This is a very easy to read and understand book and tied with the video’s, it becomes a very powerful learning experience as have it has been with all of the Dynamic Learning series. The book is well organized, the examples are real world examples and the instruction provides a good working base from which one can really learn Dreamweaver CS3.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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