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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
More than 250,000 web pros have purchased the new Macromedia Studio MX: Dreamweaver MX, Flash MX, Fireworks MX, FreeHand 10, and a developer edition of ColdFusion MX, all bundled together at a big discount. Many more are using at least some of these products. Maybe you're one of them -- upgrading one product at a time, as you need them -- and as you can shake the money loose.
Wouldn't it be nice to have one easy-to-understand book that introduced all these products, showed how they fit together, and walked you through the whole process of building a site with them? Here's that book: Macromedia Studio MX All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies®.
Think of it as seven books in one. The first: a concise five-chapter introduction to web development. Damon Dean begins with practical techniques for creating and organizing content; mapping your "plan of attack," and deciding which tool's right for each job. Dean also offers a six-page "checklist" of best practices for building web sites.
Next, he presents five "books" covering each individual Studio MX products -- each roughly 150 pages, and concluding with a full chapter on integrating that product with the rest of the suite.
Dean's "book" on Dreamweaver MX begins with an easy-to-understand tour of Dreamweaver's visual interface and views; then moves on to creating simple web pages, setting page properties, working with text, tables, images, links, and rollovers. You'll learn how to define and manage sites, work with Dreamweaver's powerfully efficient templates, monitor page download time, and use check-in/check-out Version Control to keep everyone on the same page(s). There are chapters on forms and layers, even a detailed introduction to using Dreamweaver to create ColdFusion code.
Dean next moves on to Fireworks, which just keeps on getting better. He begins with the revamped, high-productivity Fireworks MX interface. Using Fireworks MX's Property Inspector, for example, you can inspect and change every object property from one location. You not only have better control, you can exercise it more rapidly.
You'll learn how to use Fireworks' drawing, text, line, and fill tools; select, control, and transform image elements; cope with web color management; and much more. There's a full chapter on layers and frames, plus step-by-step coverage of image slicing and optimization. Dean covers image maps, using behaviors to build interactive graphics, even a bit of animation editing.
He also walks you through using Fireworks MX's new Data-Driven Graphics Wizard, which allows you to connect graphics files with XML files and automatically generate new graphics on the fly -- very powerful.
Next, it's on to Freehand, the venerable illustration tool that's been extended to the Web (making it ideal for repurposing images for graphics-rich print environments and interactive online environments). Dean walks through Freehand's interface and basic toolset; working with layers; using Freehand's text tools; working with predefined shapes; and much more. There's also a full chapter on Freehand's color management tools, which are crucial for both Web and print work.
Dean then offers a concise and practical introduction to Flash -- from basic moviemaking principles all the way to the rudiments of ActionScript. You'll get hands-on practice with the timeline, library, and image editing tools; learn to use symbols to build more efficient content; create animations; organize your movies with layers and scenes; add audio and video clips; create Flash forms; and, of course, export movies and generate accompanying HTML.
Dean's concise introduction to ColdFusion thoroughly demystifies this product. He walks you through configuration and installation; shows how to set up data sources and connect with mail servers; and teaches the basics of the CFML tag language. That leaves room for more advanced techniques -- ranging from writing SQL queries to generating graphics with CFGRAPH.
He concludes with a five-chapter walkthrough of the entire Studio MX site development process. There are practical processes for creating site maps and user interface design diagrams; integrating Flash content; and finally, constructing your dynamic site with ColdFusion and Dreamweaver. You won't find a more wide-ranging introduction to Macromedia Studio MX -- all of it. 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.