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Eight years ago when I used Dreamweaver 1.0 for the first time, I was amazed at how far ahead of its time it was. The ability to create JavaScript Behaviors, layers/DIVs, styles, and pin-point accurate designs truly amazed me. I was a skeptic when it came to WYSIWYG editors and preferred Notepad whenever possible. Dreamweaver changed that in me, and made me look at web development in a whole new light.

Dreamweaver has become the industry's leading web development environment, far surpassing any other. Still, many consider Dreamweaver a simple visual editor that accomplishes little but aide in the development of static web pages. The mindset is that visual editors lack the true complexity that it takes to create rich and powerful web applications that encompass client-side technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript while leveraging server-side technologies like ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, and ColdFusion. Dreamweaver obliterates the stigma by captivating the developer in a vast, intuitive, and feature-rich environment.

If you've picked up this book, chances are you're interested in the world of web design and development and, more specifically, how Dreamweaver 8 can help you succeed in these endeavors. Whether you're a seasoned developer, a print designer looking to expand your base of knowledge to the web, or a home user who simply aims at creating a family website, Dreamweaver offers the features and flexibility to get you on your way quickly and effortlessly. This book aims at introducing you to the many features available through Dreamweaver.

What's Inside, Part by Part

Part I, “Getting Up to Speed with Dreamweaver 8”: Starting off gently, this part introduces you to Dreamweaver 8. Moving from Chapter 1, “Introducing Dreamweaver,” to Chapter 5, “Defining Preferences,” you'll learn about the many panels, inspectors, windows, and more that Dreamweaver exposes. You'll also learn about defining and managing a site, building a simple web page, and finally, defining Dreamweaver preferences for customizing how you work with Dreamweaver.

Part II, “Static Web Page Development”: Generally considered the heart of the book, this part covers topics relating to static web page development. You'll learn about web page structuring using tables, advanced page formatting using style sheets, how to work with frames and framesets, how to design forms with form elements, how to incorporate behaviors into your web pages, and finally how to design pin-point accurate web pages using DIVs.

Part III, “Team Collaboration and Task Automation”: While most consider Dreamweaver a great tool for building web pages, the truth is Dreamweaver exposes many tools for working with web pages within teams. In this part you'll learn about the many aspects included in Dreamweaver that facilitate the collaborative process such as file check in and check out, design notes, integration with Contribute, and more. You'll also learn about the many components built into Dreamweaver for enhancing the workflow process such as templates, library items, and more.

Part IV, “Incorporating Multimedia and Animation”: Developers and designers who are building media-rich sites should concentrate on this part. The chapters in this part of the book covers DHTML, Flash and Fireworks integration, as well as video and audio.

Part V, “Dynamic Web Page Development”: The chapters in this part begin to prepare you for working with dynamic web pages. As you'll see, the chapters in this part cover an introduction to web applications, server-side technologies, databases, and the language used to extract, insert, delete, and update data within databases: SQL.

Part VI, “Creating Database-Driven Pages”: With an introduction to web applications and the many components that make up web applications under your belt, you're ready to move onto building dynamic web pages. As you'll see, the chapters exposed within this part walk you through retrieving data from, inserting data into, deleting data from, and updating data within databases. You'll also learn how to build search functionality, integrate shopping cart technologies, secure your web pages, and work with XML web services.

Part VII, “Appendixes and Bonus Content on the Website”: This part consists of an Appendix covering Dreamweaver 8's XML/XSLT capabilities. Detailed appendixes on accessibility and extensibility are included on the book's website.

What's Inside, Chapter by Chapter

Chapter 1, “Introducing Dreamweaver,” introduces you to what's new in Dreamweaver 8. Topics like Background File Transfer, Zooming capabilities, Code Toolbar, File Compare integration, and more are covered within this chapter.

Chapter 2, “The Dreamweaver Interface,” covers the Dreamweaver interface: document views, toolbars, inspectors, panels, and status bars. By the end of the chapter, you should feel fairly comfortable with the Dreamweaver 8 development environment.

Chapter 3, “Building a Web Page,” covers the essentials of building a web page within Dreamweaver. By the end of this chapter you'll understand how to use page properties, HTML elements, and graphics to create your first web page in Dreamweaver.

Chapter 4, “Dreamweaver Site Management,” covers site management, including defining a site, file check in and check out, working with site maps, and defining a local and remote folders.

Chapter 5, “Defining Preferences,” covers every customizable feature for improving how you work with Dreamweaver. Everything from customizing code coloring to setting keyboard shortcuts is outlined in this chapter.

Chapter 6, “Web Page Structuring Using Tables,” covers traditional methods for structuring web pages using tables. In this chapter you'll learn about tables, rows, columns, nested tables, and more.

Chapter 7, “Advanced Page Formatting Using Style Sheets,” covers the different types of style sheets, how to apply them, and the different properties for text, backgrounds, borders, lists, positioning, and more.

Chapter 8, “Working with Frames and Framesets,” covers frames and framesets, including advantages and disadvantages to using them and why.

Chapter 9, “Working with HTML Forms,” covers HTML forms, which are the front-ends to web applications. Whether you're using eBay, E*TRADE, or AutoBytel, HTML Forms facilitate the data collection from the user. In this chapter we'll discuss the various types of form elements used within forms.

Chapter 10, “Using Dreamweaver Behaviors,” covers every aspect of Dreamweaver's JavaScript Behaviors. In this chapter you'll learn the basics of JavaScript including events, actions, and more.

Chapter 11, “Layers in Dreamweaver,” defines layers, the cornerstones for pin-point accurate positioning of elements in Dreamweaver. Ever wonder how to make a web page look like a printed brochure? Layers are your answer.

Chapter 12, “Building Dreamweaver Websites within Teams,” covers every feature within Dreamweaver that facilitates integration and collaboration within teams. Topics such as file check in and check out, file column sharing, design notes, and more are covered in this chapter.

Chapter 13, “Website Content Management Using Contribute,” covers integration with Macromedia's content management and sharing program, Contribute. In this chapter you'll learn about users and roles, applying user settings, and even editing web page content using Contribute.

Chapter 14, “Workflow Enhancement,” covers every potentially overlooked feature within Dreamweaver that may help you do your job faster and more efficiently. Features like the Results panel, Find and Replace, the Assets panel, and more are covered here.

Chapter 15, “Working with Templates,” covers Dreamweaver templates in depth. A good understanding of templates and the workflow surrounding them can make you more efficient.

Chapter 16, “Working with Library Items,” covers library elements which, like Templates, provides greater efficiency and global content editing from a centralized location. In this chapter you'll learn how to componentize aspects of your web page, making them easier to manage for your website as a whole.

Chapter 17, “Understanding DHTML and the Timeline,” covers DHTML, including timelines, image slideshows, and more.

Chapter 18, “Adding Video and Audio,” covers important features for linking and embedding video and audio files in your web pages.

Chapter 19, “Integrating with Fireworks,” covers integration with Macromedia's popular image editing program in Fireworks. In this chapter you'll learn about roundtrip graphics editing and more.

Chapter 20, “Integrating with Flash,” covers Dreamweaver's integration with Flash—roundtrip Flash editing, what parameters Flash movies accept, and how to trigger different Flash movie properties using Behaviors.

Chapter 21, “Introduction to Web Applications,” effectively makes the transition from static web page development to server-side web page development. You'll learn about web architecture, server-side technologies, database options, and more.

Chapter 22, “Working with Server-Side Technologies,” begins to dig deeper into the world of server-side web development. In this chapter you'll learn about the various server-side technologies including ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, and PHP.

Chapter 23, “A Database Primer,” covers the basics (tables, rows, columns) and more advanced topics such as stored procedures, triggers, views, keys, and normalization. The chapter concludes with the development of the book's project database.

Chapter 24, “A SQL Primer,” covers selecting, inserting, updating, and deleting data. It also breaks down SQL into the different clauses and covers joins and sub queries.

Chapters 25 through 30 conclude the book with an in-depth tutorial on building a web store application with ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, and ColdFusion. The chapters include real-life detailed code for catalogs, shopping carts, user registration, personalization, search functionality, and security.

The appendixes and bonus materials on the website cover other important information, such as

  • Visual Authoring with XML: Get up to speed with XML using powerful, visual tools that remove the mystery from XML-to-HTML translation.

  • Accessibility: The standards, applying those standards, and the impact of accessibility on design and development efforts.

  • Extending Dreamweaver: Covers extending Dreamweaver with objects, behaviors, and the menus.xml file. It also covers sharing those extensions with others.

As you can see and as you will read, I've covered all aspects of web development using Dreamweaver 8. While reading, you may follow along with the step-by-step projects by downloading the support files at this book's companion website located at www.dreamweaverunleashed.com. Thank you for picking up a copy of this book and enjoy!

—–Zak Ruvalcaba

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