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Brian M. Stoppee
- Publié sur Amazon.com
We have studied over 100 Classroom in a Book (CIB) volumes including all 5 of them for Dreamweaver (Dw). The first one for CS3: Dw 9.0 was simple and incomplete. The second one (CS4: Dw 10.0) was challenging where it didn’t need to be. When Jim Maivald took over the Dw CIB series for CS5: Dw 11.0, the learning doors flew wide open. However, this edition (Dw CC: 13.0) is admittedly the most difficult of the 5 for us to work with. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with this edition, because, there’s no book on Dreamweaver which we can recommend more highly than this. The challenge is with something otherwise fabulous: Adobe keeps updating the app with new features. That’s what Creative Cloud (CC) apps are supposed to do. Adobe has promised to make them better and better, every few months. However, following lessons to the letter, in CIB or any other structured lessons, are made a little more difficult by that. The same is true for the current CIBs of two other Adobe web-based apps: Muse (Mu) and Edge Animate (An). We put this out there at the top of this review.
We’ve been designing websites for eighteen years. Our first client was NBC News.
If you’re wondering why a couple who are both Adobe Community Professionals (ACP) and have been in web design for so long bothers to study CIBs, word for word, it’s all about those ongoing changes that we mentioned.
At this point it’s appropriate to note that as ACPs we interact with plenty of people at Adobe and many of our fellow ACPs are authors and presenters. From time to time we run across Jim Maivald, this book’s author. He’s a Facebook friend of ours. Though we have never met or even talked on the phone, it’s not as if he’s a complete stranger to us.
Since we do plenty of consulting and produce our own online learning, our reviews are our personal journals which we use as a reference for when we need quick access to information, so what follows is something of a journal of ours, as we worked through this.
CHAPTER 1 - CUSTOMIZING YOUR WORKSPACE - For a web design newbie, this might be the most important chapter in the book at the very moment they open the thing. We fully realize that many come into design for the web with certain trepidations. We go back to beta testing PageMaker 1.0. Apps were simple then. Today, if you’re fresh and new at any of these, CC apps like Acrobat, After Effects (Ae), Audition (Au), Dreamweaver (Dw), Flash Pro (Fl), Illustrator (Ai), InDesign (Id), Photoshop (Ps), Premiere Pro (Pr), and SpeedGrade (Sg) seem like monsters in themselves. That’s before you consider they are powerful tools to create for a huge, complex, and, with good reason, a technically intimidating industry.
That said, the 19 pages of this first chapter are extremely attractive and easy to follow along. The teaching methodology is top-shelf tried and true. If you know even a little about Dreamweaver, you’ll breeze through them in a few minutes.
However, if you’re in the newbie group, you’ll look at most of these pages and think, “What the ____.” but you’re not allowed to do any page breezing. Study this stuff carefully. Even if you have been working in apps like Ai, Id, and Ps, you need to rethink how much of the Dw workspace operates. It’s not like the other CC apps. The familiar tools and panels are very different.
CHAPTER 2 - HTML BASICS - There was a time when you could hide the user from HTML coding. Adobe created Muse from scratch, for those users, knowing full well that doing the heavy-lifting of today’s web/mobile design cannot happen without getting your hands HTML dirty. This chapter does its best to be as gentle as possible with the reader. It’s a mile-marker chapter. If you’re not HTML-tested, you might want to set aside a couple hours for this. Should it leave you feeling set back, take a break, come back the next day. If it still seems daunting, rethink if Dw is right for you. Ask yourself if Mu is a better possibility. If the first chapter made you think, “I can do all of this in Design View,” please know that you might be able to get by that way for a while. That’s primarily how we work. However, we now touch up code a little everyday. 3 or 4 years ago we could go a month without looking at Code View.
This chapter is also important in helping you to understand what the Design View is doing when it’s generates the source code for you.
CHAPTER 3 - CSS BASICS - Macromedia launched Dw 1.0 in December 1997. It was considered a late-comer. Adobe had PageMill 1.0 on the streets November 1, 1994 (we got on board right away), two weeks after Netscape 0.9, arguably the original browser, went to public beta. A company Adobe eventually acquired, gonet, released GoLive 1.0, June 1996. PageMill and GoLive were very designer oriented. Dw was vilified by many as being too tied to coding and eventually chastised all the more for the strapped-to-blandness rigors of cascading style sheets (CSS). Eventually, PageMill was discontinued, GoLive started to do CSS and replaced PageMill, and of course, Adobe acquired Macromedia and GoLive was discontinued. Eventually, all us PageMill/GoLive users learned to value of CSS and how to use it creatively. If you’re coming into Dw from Id, try to think of Dw CSS as Id’s Paragraph styles.
We mention all of this because CSS3 seems like something else you might be able to skip. Websites need to play nicely with web browsers. Using CSS is both the best way to do that while opening yourself up to a fabulously exciting array of powerful opportunities to make sweeping changes to entire websites the way Id does to huge documents.
Dw CIB uses all the best conventions for teaching CSS. Then it goes a few steps further employing visuals and concepts which are better than most we’ve seen. It takes the reader through an excellent explanation of 1.) what CSS is in Overview [p 50], 2.) the difference between Formatting for HTML and CSS [p 51-52], 3.) HTML4 vs. HTML5 Defaults [p 53-55], 4.) the CSS Box Model [p56-57], 5.) Class Attributes [p 58], 6.) ID Attributes [p 58], 7.) Formatting Text [p 59-60], 8.) Cascade Theory [p 61-62], 9.) Inheritance Theory [p 63-66], 10.) Descendant Theory [p 66-70], 11.) Specificity Theory [p 70-72], 12.) Code Navigator [p 72-74], 13.) CSS Designer [p 75-77], 14.) Formatting Objects for a. Width [p 78-82], b. Height [p 82-85], c. Margins and Padding [p 85-88], d. Positioning [p 88-90], e. Borders and Backgrounds [p 90-91], 15.) Features and Effects [p 92-93]. (And if you think you can master everything you need to about that, in one sitting, you’re nuts.)
CHAPTER 4 - CREATING A PAGE LAYOUT - Don’t say, “I’m not a designer; I don’t need this chapter.” If you are going to make just one web page, you need this chapter. Also, don’t let it concern you if you feel you are not inclined toward pencil and paper layouts. If all you can do is stick figure doodles, do it. The focus is planning for smooth execution. By the time you complete this chapter, you will have created a page in Dw. And, it’s not just a page with the browser text “Hello.” It’s a cool looking page. The lessons allow you to work with the standard Dw setup. So, it’s not just a one-shot do-it-today-forget-it-tomorrow kind of thing. This is an empowering experience.
CHAPTER 5 - WORKING WITH CASCADING STYLE SHEETS - This is the application of what you learned in chapters 3 and 4. The lesson begins with 1.) CSS Designer [p 139-143], goes to 2.) Type [p 143-156], builds from there with 3.) Background Graphics [p 156-158], and ramps up 4.) Classes and IDs [p 158-164]. Along the way you’ll create an Interactive Menu [p 165-184] with a.) Dynamic Hyperlink Effects, b.) Rollover Effects, with c.) Visual Enhancements, and d.) Faux Columns. Though it’s just 2, pages it gets you started on the powerful External Style Sheets [p 177-178]. To prove this, CIB is not just more of the Dw basics which most instruction hands you, this lesson closes with 6 pages on refining a web page for ways customers may use it, such as printing, and follows up with how to make your Dw workspace efficient.
CHAPTER 6 - WORKING WITH TEMPLATES - We have listened to some web developers scoff at templates and all the related child pages. We disagree. If you are coming into Dw from Id, think of this Dw hierarchy as you would master pages. It shows you how to 1.) use an Existing Layout to Create a Template (very simple) [p 189-190], 2.) Work with the Templates Editable Regions [p 190-192], 3.) Child Pages [p 192-195], 4.) Template Updates [p 195-197], 5.) Library Items [p 197-203], and 6.) Server-Side Includes [p 203-210] (don’t worry if you have no idea what that means, right now)
CHAPTER 7 - WORKING WITH TEXT, LISTS, AND TABLES - Some educators will tell you to skip tables. It’s something from the past. They’re woefully misinformed. Tables are the foundation of most of the coolest HTML e-mail which can reliably appear in e-mail apps. Don’t let anyone tell you to skip this stuff. Tables are prefaced by some basic text styling. When you combine the 2 methods, later in the chapter, it all makes sense.
CHAPTER 8 - WORKING WITH IMAGES - Web pages with strong visuals have been our calling card since 1995, even before Microsoft Internet Explorer hit the streets on August 15 of that year. If you don’t come into this with plenty of web graphics background, don’t worry. This CIB assumes you’re new to all of it, so the chapter opens with a concise primer and pretty much takes you through all the basic means of getting images into pages which Dw offers. On page 270 this chapter begins to talk about using Fireworks CS6. Opening the door to Fireworks, which Adobe ceased development work on better than a year ago, leads to well documented problems if explored beyond the lessons. Skip Fireworks and try to accomplish the same in Photoshop. There are some simple but powerful tools for using the Property Inspector for images [p 270]
CHAPTER 9 - WORKING WITH NAVIGATION - Some of what’s covered in this chapter seems extremely basic. You may even feel you’ve done this already. At this point, if you’re new to Dw, you’ve probably invested as much as 15 hours in this book. That means you’ve given yourself plenty of time to let everything sink in. Don’t blow-off this chapter. It has concepts which you’ll need to fully understand if you are to adapt them to real-world work and the variations which will pop up.
CHAPTER 10 - ADDING INTERACTIVITY - During the CS6 edition of this book, we raised questions about the validity of some the interactive aspects, and Adobe has since addressed those issues and this edition has been nicely updated. Some users will want to keep all of this within the realm of Dw and we understand that.
CHAPTER 11 - WORKING WITH WEB ANIMATION AND VIDEO - Our website has plenty of video components to it and we literally spent months tweaking them. Everything in this chapter serves as a great point of departure for launching video on your site. It could probably be a book in itself.
CHAPTER 12 - WORKING WITH FORMS - Web page forms remind us of government websites. It can get very complex and the results are not always a very exciting experience for the end-user. Chapter twelve can be no more exciting than the tasks at hand. At times, the lesson becomes a bit tedious, but we do not fault the book. The author is simply trying to be sure the reader fully understands all aspects of web forms.
CHAPTER 13 - PUBLISHING TO THE WEB - Managing a website with Dw is painful. Just setting up the server justifies a headache. We see why newbies, as well as in-the-trenches third party Dw developers, use other means of getting this done. We’ve forced ourselves to make what’s in this chapter work for us. On the Mac side, it’s easier with Fetch.
CHAPTER 14 - DESIGNING FOR MOBILE DEVICES - This chapter is another good point of departure. Roughly 85% of our website’s visitors are on Mac OS and iOS. Their needs are easy to define. We know the specifications of every device the majority of our subscribers use. That other 15% is a rapidly moving target which we cannot wrap our hands around. Designing for generalized mobile devices is like that. This chapter sets the foundation to give you the basics you need to comprehend how Dw can make it happen. Don’t let the enormity of designing for mobile frustrate you.
CHAPTER 15 - WORKING WITH CODE - Though the book has talked a little bit about code, it has not gone into depth about Code View, yet. The great thing about the new way CIB works is that the lesson files are no longer on a DVD. You download them from the publisher’s website. That’s also where chapter 15 is found. And Code View in Dw is not a sleepy little text editor. It and Live Code are very powerful tools. This chapter is enough to get you started.
As we mentioned at the outset, following the lessons to the word was not simple. We ran into some problems which were relative to changes Adobe made to Dw over the summer. We’re sure more changes are on the way. That’s how CC is supposed to work.
Does that mean we think less of Dw CC CIB? Not a chance. It’s our #1 Dw reference. That’s obvious from the page number notations we’ve made in this journal. We go to this CIB before we check the really lousy PDF manual Adobe puts in Dw Help.
This is the best Dw book in the business. We’d be nuts not to give it 5 stars.