• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



About This Book

Comprised of the combination of Dreamweaver with Dreamweaver UltraDev, Macromedia's latest offering, Dreamweaver MX, is poised to bring dynamic application development to the masses. Dreamweaver MX offers easy-to-use tools that can very quickly connect to databases and Web pages in a logical and visual manner.

This book walks you through the Dreamweaver tools, from design to application development, and includes several sample projects that you can build as you read through the chapters. The book also takes into account the cross-platform and cross-server nature of the product. Dreamweaver can design interactive sites on Windows and Macintosh computers, but deploy the appropriate code to run the sites on Unix, Linux, BSD, Windows, Macintosh, and dozens of other operating systems. Keeping this in mind, the exercises in the book are designed to be as portable as possible and stay within the Dreamweaver MX interface as much as possible.

This is not a reference book for experienced Web programmers. It is a step-by-step tutorial for those who understand the basics of HTML, want to learn Dreamweaver, and want to exercise the features of MX to build maintainable dynamic Web applications. I once read a Dreamweaver review that stated “until there are Dreamweaver books on demand (customized books for each reader), there will be no perfect book.” I agree. Dreamweaver MX covers a lot of ground. It is my hope that this book will serve as your guide for getting started with Dreamweaver MX and provide ideas on how you can use the software to bring your Web development plans and ideas to fruition.


Sample pages, graphics, and databases for each lesson in the book are available from http://downloads.cutelittledogs.com—the book's support site. (Yes, it is a tribute to my dog, who has put up with hours of waiting by her leash as I type through the pages of this book.)

The Early Favorite

In 1997, Macromedia released the Dreamweaver HTML editor for the Macintosh and Windows. It quickly became the standard by which other editors were judged. Combining the power of the full HTML language and an interface that made publishers and designers feel at home, it brought cross-platform HTML development to the world.

Macromedia has upgraded Dreamweaver to keep it current with the HTML specification and introduce new features such as group Web site collaboration, site management, and JavaScripting. Dreamweaver continues to win numerous awards for ease of use and technical superiority.

The world, however, isn't standing still, and neither is Dreamweaver.

The Web Elite

With HTML in the hands of the masses, Web page design is available to anyone. This has pushed the elite HTML programmers to move onward and upward to the next big thing. This “big thing” is creating sites that interact with the users. Rather than just presenting static pages to the site's visitors, today's Web sites store and process information, creating an experience that can be unique for every person. These are no longer just Web sites; they are Web “applications.”

Online stores, catalogs, and bidding services are everywhere. Programmers who were writing HTML have now moved on to write the server-based code that drives these dynamic sites. A plethora of languages and technologies is used to drive these custom sites—ColdFusion Markup Language, PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, Active Server Pages, and Java Server Pages—to name a few.

Similar to the birth of HTML and the WYSIWYG editor, dynamic Web applications have led to tools to help nonprogrammers design Web site logic. These tools have been very lacking—supporting very few server technologies, which are limited to a single platform for development and created for people who already know how to program.

The power of Web application development is in the hands of the few. Or is it?

Enter Dreamweaver MX

Macromedia rose to the challenge of creating an environment for designing Web applications that combines the power of dynamic sites with the Dreamweaver point-and-click interface— Dreamweaver MX.

Dreamweaver MX supports not one, but five server technologies (JSP, CFML, ASP, PHP, and ASP.NET) with the capability to expand to new technologies through plug-ins. Furthermore, Macromedia is supporting this product on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, enabling Mac users to author ASP and CFML code in a rich visual environment for the first time.

Unlike other Web development packages, Dreamweaver MX offers the designer the ability to preview data in real-time within a document design. Guessing how a product catalog is going to look in your browser and seeing it laid out before your eyes is the difference between a two-hour and a two-day job. Dreamweaver MX makes life even easier by allowing the person designing the application logic to work on the database side while designers work on the page layout. The days of handing files off to another person are over.

As you make your way through this book, you will learn how to use the capabilities of Dreamweaver MX to their fullest. Whether you've never used Dreamweaver, or have never even used an HTML editor, you'll be creating your own database-driven Web sites in 21 days. The only prerequisite for reading the book is an understanding of HTML and access to a Windows-based or Mac OS–based computer.

The Coming Weeks

Before we get started, let's take a look at how this book is structured.

  • The first week focuses on the HTML editing capabilities of Dreamweaver MX and introduces the basics of database-driven sites. You'll learn the tools for managing and editing HTML, and will become a pro in the WYSIWYG environment. After the interface features are covered, the real fun begins. Learn about the fundamentals of database design and the different server technologies supported in Dreamweaver MX.

  • In week two, the power of Dreamweaver MX becomes apparent. After successfully connecting to a database, you'll start including dynamic data in your Web applications immediately. You'll also discover the data visualization tools and prebuilt server behaviors. Near the end of the week, you'll learn several fundamental techniques that are commonly used in Web application design.

  • By week three, you'll be ready to start building real applications. The many of the last days are dedicated to creating and maintaining real-life projects. You can take these applications, extend them, and put them to work immediately. You'll also learn some tips for debugging your finished applications in case something doesn't appear to be working as you had planned.

When you're finished with the book, you'll be able to create a variety of Web applications and use the Dreamweaver MX tools to interact with your database and application servers. Now you'll be the one with power!

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint