The Missing Manual: Dreamweaver CS3 is the latest in the Missing Manual series started by David Pogue. This time it is written by David Sawyer McFarland and covers Adobe's Dreamweaver CS3; the professional web design program that is used to build high-quality static and dynamic database-driven websites. According to the author Dreamweaver is only missing one thing; a manual.
This is where The Missing Manual: Dreamweaver CS3 comes in. This completely revised fifth edition of this book is meant to enable both first-time users as well as experienced web designers to create visually stunning and highly interactive web sites. At 994 pages, The Missing Manual: Dreamweaver CS3 is stout to say the least. There are 26 chapters and two appendixes divided into seven sections. I will break down by section.
Section 1, "Building a Web Page", gives you a guided tour of Dreamweaver by building a working web page. You will add and format text to your pages, learn about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), links, images, and tables.
Section 2, "Building a Better Web Page", takes you beyond section 1 and explores advanced CSS, page layout as well as taking you under the hood with your HTML coding. You will get step-by-step instructions on creating advance page layouts as well as how to work with the code by using code view, the quick tag editor and tag inspector.
Section 3, "Bringing Your Pages to Life", teaches you how to work with forms, form elements and how to properly validate a form. You will learn what Spry is; officially called "Spry framework of Ajax", how to add an accordion, collapsible panels and how to work with Spry data sets. You will learn about Dreamweaver behaviors and how to work with Flash and other multimedia technologies.
Section 4, "Building a Web Site", begins by introducing you to site management. You will learn how to structure a site and how to set up site assets. You will learn how to test your site to find and fix broken links and how to move your site when you need to.
Section 5, "Dreamweaver CS3 Power", shows you how to take advantage of many of Dreamweaver's time-saving devices such as Snippets, Libraries, Templates and tips on automating and customizing Dreamweaver.
Section 6, "Dynamic Dreamweaver", gives you all the know-how to make your sites dynamic. You will learn everything from setting up the site, adding dynamic data to your pages, setting up web pages that manipulate your data as well as advanced features such as password protection, working with additional data sources and authentication. You will also learn how to work with server side XML and XSLT.
Section 7, "Appendixes", gives you resources on finding help when you need it and walks you through Dreamweaver CS3 menu-by-menu.
What I like about this book is that it takes its time and goes from step a to step z with out rushing. If you work through the lessons, you will find yourself really picking up a lot of information and insight into web development. As promised, The Missing Manual: Dreamweaver CS3 is engaging, clearly written, and sometimes funny. If you want to learn Dreamweaver and you don't want the pain of learning it on your own, then The Missing Manual: Dreamweaver CS3 is a must have.