Once, Dreamweaver was “simply” an outstanding web design tool. Now, with Dreamweaver MX, it’s also a state-of-the-art web development system. Suddenly, from the Dreamweaver environment you know and love, you can build Internet applications that utilize today’s latest and most powerful server technologies, from Microsoft ASP.NET to Macromedia’s own ColdFusion. You can construct advanced sites that utilize XML and XHTML. You can build sites that meet the government’s tough standards for accessibility. You can even deploy web services.
If simple 1998-style web layouts are all that matters to you, you probably don’t need Dreamweaver MX -- or this book. But if you want to take Dreamweaver to the absolute limit, you won’t find a better resource than Dreamweaver MX: The Complete Reference.
This book is authored by Ray West and Tom Muck, two of the world’s most sophisticated and respected Dreamweaver developers. West founded TODCON, “The Other Dreamweaver Conference,” and MX inSite magazine, which is shaping up to be a goldmine of information for developers using the Macromedia MX family of products. Muck, who speaks widely on Macromedia development, was the Year 2000 recipient of Macromedia's Best UltraDev Extension Award.
In 2000, West and Muck coauthored Dreamweaver Ultradev: The Complete Reference, the industry’s No. 1 guide to Macromedia’s previous version of Dreamweaver for developers. Now that Ultradev’s functionality (and lots more high-end stuff) has been folded into Dreamweaver MX, there’s nobody more qualified to write this book.
But don’t get the wrong idea: this is not a warmed-over Ultradev book! It’s been overhauled thoroughly, with comprehensive new coverage of everything from Flash and Fireworks integration to web scripting, user authentication to extensibility.
You’ll start by configuring the Dreamweaver MX environment, which itself has been thoroughly overhauled. Dreamweaver’s now a multiple document interface (MDI) application, so you can open all the documents you want at once, and click tabs to switch between them. Choose between the “classic” Dreamweaver interface, or an interface modeled on ColdFusion Studio/HomeSite (most developers will jump at the latter). Discover a new batch of handy tools (tag inspectors and automated code completion come to mind) along with panels reorganized for greater clarity and flexibility (and you can ungroup, float, dock, or hide ’em to your heart’s content).
Roughly 1/3 of the way through the book, West and Muck “depart” web design, moving on to full-fledged web application development. Dreamweaver MX will accommodate you whether you prefer to develop using ASP, ASP.NET, JavaServer Pages, ColdFusion, or PHP. This book contains one full chapter on each environment.
Next, the authors offer start-to-finish coverage of database integration through Dreamweaver MX. You’ll start by learning the basics of making database connections from Dreamweaver; then walk through designing an effective database for your web application; using the basic SQL commands you’ll need most; and adding database features to your site. All this is done in the context of building a complete dynamic, data-driven web site you can check out on the Web (where all source files are available, too.)
If you want to use Dreamweaver MX for serious web development, this book delivers the practical guidance you simply won’t find in traditional “design-oriented” Dreamweaver books. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.