There are really two types of people in this world. Those that WANT to read a user's manual cover to cover prior to tackling something new (and do so). And those that want to learn by doing and not spend hours reading how to learn. I, uh, have a laptop with a luscious fruit emblem sitting on a titanium casing-needless to say I fall into the latter category by nature.
I feel comfortable knowing my way around design programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, Streamline), but NEVER touch code. I knew the basic ideas of HTML (tags, headlines, body, title, line breaks) but not much more before purchasing this book.
After only a few hours reading the first 140 pages (easy reading), and following the tutorials (very clear and concise), I started developing my desired website. Within a few hours I had the semblance of the components all functioning in a "Preview in Browser" mode. And I'd say 70% of that time was actually designing and saving the files for each nav button, graphic box, and typing the text.
As many other reviews state, this book clearly explains the benefits as well as limitations of web design in general and to Dreamweaver specifically. There are plenty of references to Dreamweaver 4 for those who are upgrading. There are plenty of basic explanations of HTML, how to best utilize Dreamweaver AND HTML, and the perspective of end use (designing a cool web page) is never forgotten in this book.
McFarland and Progue hit the mark in almost every way with their organizational style, intuitive writing, simplistic tutorials, informative Figures and "Workaround Workshops", and understanding of HOW people want to USE an application like Dreamweaver MX. From building a site, to using dynamic pages with forms, to frames, to tables, to uploading your site, to Flash, to Customizing Dreamweaver and hotkeys; it's pretty much all covered.
A nearly 800 page book intimidate you? Don't worry, many sections are not applicable to a basic website. I feel confident that I can continue to add new features and redevelop my site using only this one book in the future. ...