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The transition from static Web page designer to data-driven Web application developer is a daunting one. Designers in this position might consider themselves strangers in a strange land. Not only are the natives speaking a different language (or worse, languages), but they also appear to have come from an entirely separate culture. Where in this world, designers ask, do I start?

We created Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes, in part, to answer just that question. Inside this book, you’ll find eight full-featured, professional-grade Web applications explained step-by-step. Best of all, we make it possible for you to build the applications as you learn. This feature serves two goals. First, in our experience, people learn best by doing, and they retain the gained knowledge even longer when they’re doing something meaningful.

This brings us to our second goal: providing solutions. Beginning developers often find themselves in a sink-or-swim situation where they need to produce workable Web applications in a relatively short time. The Web applications included in this book are rooted in the real world and are suitable for small- to medium-sized organizations. They’re real working applications that you can use today; they’re not just make-work tutorials.

Another over-arching purpose of this book is to help you get the most out of Dreamweaver. The latest version of Dreamweaver is a powerful professional Web authoring tool that can create the full range of static and dynamic Web sites. Right out of the box, Dreamweaver gives you the tools to fashion a wide range of Web applications without ever looking at, much less enhancing, the code. However, the point-and-click approach will only take you so far and, sooner than later, you’ll need to work on the code level to get the desired results. Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes is—like Web applications themselves—a blend of design and code, with every step along the way explained so that you understand not just what to do, but why you’re doing it.

Web Application Recipes Audience

The ideal reader is one who has been designing Web sites with Dreamweaver for a while and wants to create one of the eight supplied Web applications. However, we realize it is far from an ideal world and, hopefully, we’ve provided enough tools so that even a Web designer new to Dreamweaver can use the book. Nor is the desire for a specific application paramount. This book is written in such a way as to offer general methods and ways of working as well as specific instructions.

Although the applications have uses in many areas, this book will prove especially useful to those working in intranets and small workgroups. We’ve structured the example applications so that they are flexible and, in server jargon, scalable. Developers take these applications as they are, and, by changing a logo or two, use them immediately—or they can repurpose and extend the substantial base of code, saving time and resources.

Web Application Recipes Structure

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes is divided into two, purposely unbalanced sections. Upfront, you’ll find a primer of sorts that is intended to serve as a general introduction to both the world of data-driven Web technology and Dreamweaver’s implementations. Read these chapters if you are new to working with data sources on the Web, and especially if you are new to Dreamweaver. The bulk of the book is devoted to the Web application recipes.

The recipes themselves are separated into two sections, or cuisines, if you’ll indulge us in the recipe metaphor. First you’ll find instructions on building for intranet-oriented applications, including user login, employee lookup, a conference room scheduler, and an online in/out board. Many of these applications have uses that you can apply to general Web applications. User login, for example, contains authentication routines that you can apply to any portion of the Web where you want to display different content to different groups of users.

The second set of applications is based on workgroup needs. With these applications, you can log billable project hours (Time Cards), create an online opinion-gathering system (Survey Builder), facilitate and archive team communication (Journal), and send a personalized email announcement in bulk (Mail Merge). As with the intranet applications, you can extend the workgroup recipes to fit many situations.

Each recipe is structured in a top-down approach. At the beginning of each chapter are diagrams and ingredient listings to provide an overall view of the project so that you can really understand the concept and what’s required before going forward into the actual steps. Web applications are composed of a series of intertwining pages, and each application presented is described page-by-page. Each page, in turn, is built up in a series of steps designed to follow the standard developers’ workflow and, in the process, teach best practices.

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes offers every recipe in four variations: ASP-VBScript, ASP-JavaScript, ColdFusion, and PHP. The ColdFusion code is designed and tested to be compatible with ColdFusion 5 as well as ColdFusion MX. Each language is clearly marked with an icon, so there’s no confusion among the variations. For steps that should be taken by all server models, a separate icon is used:

Steps for all recipe users

For ASP-VBScript

For ASP-JavaScript

For ColdFusion


The code is professional quality and targeted to today’s Web. Reflecting the state of the Web, Cascading Style Sheets are used for the basis of the design and integrated with structured tables for a degree of backward compatibility. As designers do, we need to make certain choices, such as deciding only to support Internet Explorer 5 and above and Netscape 6 and above.

Note: Code lines that do not fit within the margins of the printed page are continued on the next line and are preceded by a code continuation character: .

Web Application Recipes Resources

A key companion to this book is the Web site (webassist.com/recipes). Far more than just a collection of demo programs and clip art, the Web site offers all the data sources, code, and files necessary to create the applications in the book. Moreover, the code is encapsulated in Dreamweaver snippets that, once installed through the Extension Manager, is immediately available for drag-and-drop coding. The Web site also contains links to some superb extensions from WebAssist to make your application building even smoother. More information and resources are also available on the Web site: You’ll find FAQs and general support for helping you realize your goals as a Web application developer.

Web Application Recipes Setup

Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes comes complete with everything you need to build eight multi-page, data-driven applications in four different server languages. All the template pages, data sources, and snippets are included in a single Dreamweaver extension—there’s even a dedicated online help system to make sure you get started quickly and easily. Follow these steps to transfer and install the Recipe files:

Visit www.webassist.com/recipes.

You’ll find a full range of support options at the Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes home page, hosted by WebAssist.

Click the Get Recipe Files button.

If you’re shopping while you’re at the WebAssist site, you can also choose the Add to Cart button. When you’re ready to complete your transaction, select Checkout from any page.

In the next page, enter your name and email address so you can receive your confirmation and serial number.

Answer the book-related security question.

The security question references a particular page and word in the book. You’ll need your copy of Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes handy to answer the security question properly.

Download the Dreamweaver extension file and copy your unique serial number.

After the extension has completely downloaded, launch Dreamweaver and select Commands > Manage Extensions to open the Macromedia Extension Manager.

In the Extension Manager, choose File > Install Extension and navigate to the extension file just downloaded and click Install.

The Extension Manager will unpack all the needed files to a common folder and also install two menu items: Copy Snippet and the Web Application Recipes help file. The Copy Snippet command is a free extension that enables you to copy and paste complex SQL, JavaScript, and other snippet code into dialog boxes; this command is accessible from the Snippets panel Options menu.

Accept the End User License Agreement to continue the installation.

Once completed, quit and relaunch Dreamweaver.

In Dreamweaver, select Help > Web Application Recipes.

The Web Application Recipes help file will help you to set up your data sources and transfer files to the desired location. You’ll need to enter your unique serial number to access the information.

If you need assistance at any point, check the Help file for support options.

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