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They’ve done it again! With the release of Dreamweaver UltraDev 4, Macromedia continues to set the standard in Web development software. By combining Dreamweaver’s popular HTML authoring environment with the ability to rapidly develop dynamic, data-driven Web sites on a variety of platforms, UltaDev is the most versatile Web-authoring tool on the market today.

The ability to generate dynamic pages, however, requires an understanding of not only Web development, but database design, database connectivity, and Web server technology. Inside Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 not only brings you a complete resource for learning the database-connectivity process but also helps you understand the underlying technology at work.

Getting the Most from Inside Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

As a Web development professional, your time is a valuable commodity. The more time you spend learning new languages and applications, the less time you get to spend putting those technologies to work in your Web pages. As a result, Inside Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 was designed to provide you with an overview of the applicable technology while showing you how to implement UltraDev’s features into your Web site. To accomplish this, the background chapters in Part I familiarize you with the underlying technologies used to power database-driven Web sites, while the exercise-oriented chapters in Parts II, III, and IV show you how to design and manage a database-driven Web site.

Get Familiar with the Dreamweaver Features

UltraDev is based on the Dreamweaver environment and all of the tools available in Dreamweaver 4 are also available in UltraDev 4. If you are not familiar with Dreamweaver and its capabilities, you might want to consider reading up on the process of building static Web pages using Dreamweaver before you focus on the dynamic capabilities of UltraDev.

Use the UltraDev 4 Software with This Book

UltraDev 4 is significantly different from the previous version, UltraDev 1. Although most of the general principles of dynamic Web design remain the same between versions, many of the exercises in this book rely on the advanced features offered in version 4. Because of this, I highly recommend that you purchase or upgrade to version 4 before starting the exercises.

Read the UltraDev 4 Manuals

The manuals that accompany UltraDev 4 provide an overview of UltraDev and some basic tutorials on setting up database-driven pages. In addition, the online lessons built into UltraDev provide a way for you to familiarize yourself with UltraDev’s capabilities.

Start at the Beginning of the Book

The first three chapters of Inside Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 provide an overview of UltraDev, an understanding of how a Web server should be configured to serve dynamic pages, and the fundamentals of database design. An understanding of each of these topics will significantly speed your understanding and application of UltraDev’s design tools.

Although you might be tempted to jump right in and start with the exercises, making sure that you are familiar with the technology and that your workstation is configured properly can save you future headaches.

If you really want to skip to a specific chapter in the book, be aware that the book’s Web site (www.insideultradev.com) contains the files you will need to copy to your Web server’s root directory. For instance, if you want to skip to Chapter 6, “UltraDev’s Graphic and Multimedia Capabilities,” just browse to the Chapter06 subdirectory on the Web site (www.insideultradev.com/book/chapter6) and copy the insideud4 folder to the root folder of your Web server. The insideud4 folder contains all the files that would have been created had you walked through the exercises in the previous chapters.

Experiment with Each Feature

UltraDev’s design capabilities are limited only by your own imagination. While each chapter focuses on a feature and shows you one way to implement it, you may find hundreds of additional uses for the same feature. The best way to learn what UltraDev can and can’t do is to experiment.

Use Other UltraDev Resources

As UltraDev’s popularity grows, so do the number of resources that are available for helping you develop pages with UltraDev. For instance, Macromedia hosts several online forums that can help you as you develop your UltraDev skills.

In addition, as you develop dynamic Web pages, you will undoubtedly encounter difficulties with third-party applications such as Microsoft’s Active Server Pages, Sun’s Java Server Pages, and Allaire’s (Macromedia) ColdFusion. Take advantage of the extensive online libraries that each of these companies offer for support.

How This Book Is Organized

Inside Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 is divided into four sections:

Part I, “Preparing to Go 'Dynamic',” helps you understand the history and underlying technologies available to power your dynamic Web pages. Topics such as the history of UltraDev, understanding the process of serving dynamic Web pages, and the fundamentals of database design for the Web are covered.

Part II, “Building a Solid Foundation,” focuses on UltraDev’s ability to build and manage static and dynamic Web pages using both a page layout format and a code editor. Topics include UltraDev’s site management tools, page layout tools, and multimedia capabilities.

Part III, “Developing a Database-Driven Web Site,” shows you how to connect your Web pages to a database and how to provide your visitors with dynamically generated pages populated with information from your database.

Part IV, “Extending Your Administrative Capabilities,” focuses on building pages that allow you to administer your database via a Web browser. In addition this section demonstrates how UltraDev sites can be extended with the use of eCommerce and eLearning tools.

System Considerations

Compared to its predecessor, Drumbeat 2000, UltraDev is a speed demon. However, you should make sure that your development machine meets the minimum standards required by UltraDev. If you will be testing your Web pages on your local workstation, I highly recommend that you increase your machine’s memory beyond the minimum requirements to accommodate the additional Web server software.


Mac Users If you are using the Mac version of UltraDev 4, you should be aware that, at this time, you cannot develop and serve database-driven Web pages using Active Server Pages or Java Server Pages using only your Mac. Because of the limited availability of ODBC and JDBC drivers for FileMaker Pro (the most popular Mac database), you will need to save your database and database-driven pages on a Windows or UNIX machine before you can fully develop and test them.

Use Other UltraDev Resources

In addition, support for dual monitors provides an added advantage to users of Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows ME, and Windows 2000. Users of these operating systems can add an additional video card to their systems and extend their desktops to a second monitor. The advantage of this comes from the fact that you can keep all of UltraDev’s panels open and slide them onto the second monitor, leaving your page layout environment free of palettes.

Server Considerations

Throughout the book, you will most likely be using your workstation as a Web server. However, you will ultimately want to move your new dynamic site to a true Web server. Keep in mind that many Web hosts do not support database-driven Web sites, or do so at an extra charge. If you are using your organization’s Web server to host your pages, you should check with your Web administrator to ensure that the server is properly configured for the platform for which you will be developing your pages.

Words to Work By

Enjoy yourself! Web design can often be a demanding, frustrating process but most of the time it is a lot of fun. UltraDev minimizes many of the potential frustrations by writing most of the code for you. Enjoy the process and be proud of your creations. Keep copies of all Web applications you create to act as your resume or portfolio.

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