Dreamweaver is hot. It seems as though every article on Web design focuses on this wildly popular authoring application. So Dreamweaver 2.0 HOT: Hands-On Training is an apt title for Web design guru Lynda Weinman's latest how-to manual, a cross- platform tutorial that teaches in a concise and straightforward manner.
Everything necessary to create a Web site is covered: image placement, colour schemes, links, tables, frames, rollovers, cascading style sheets, DHTML and more. Even complicated page structuring is made easy. For example, Dreamweaver uses layers for WYSIWYG layout, affording maximum flexibility in placing objects. These layers can be converted to tables for better browser compatibility or used as-is in more complicated dynamic pages. Dreamweaver 2.0 HOT clearly explains the differences between layers and tables and shows how and when to convert between the two. The book also makes creating multiple swap rollovers and dynamic animated Web pages seem simple.
Dreamweaver 2.0 HOT shows how to take advantage of one of the greatest benefits of using Dreamweaver: the ability to create page templates and a library of frequently used objects (for example, images, navigational bars, banners). Successfully using these features is key to getting the most out of the application. Also, the book repeatedly demonstrates the importance of working from within Dreamweaver's powerful site management window.
There are over 70 lessons here that are most effective if read while sitting at the computer. The accompanying CD contains all necessary files and images as well as a demo version of Dreamweaver 2.0, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Quicktime 4 and Netscape Communicator 4.6. An added bonus for beginners are the 12 Quicktime movies that go through various sequences involved in the lessons, some with Weinman's voiceover.
It's not easy to make step-by-step instructions work for users of many levels, but Dreamweaver 2.0 HOT succeeds. The steps in each lesson are succinct while still covering all the necessary commands. And many of these lessons and all of the chapters work independent of each other; an experienced Web developer can skim or even skip ahead without getting lost.
The tone of the book is casual and encouraging (e.g., "no more funky pixels, Mom!"), but not to the point where it slows down reading; it's peppy but not gabby. If it occasionally errs on the side of too many exclamation marks, Dreamweaver 2.0 HOT makes up for it with the incredible achievement of rendering a fairly complex and extremely powerful application manageable within several hours. --Angelynn Grant
Topics covered: Creating, maintaining and updating Web sites using Dreamweaver 2.0, including proper use of site management tools; use of Dreamweaver tools, menus, palettes and commands; designing with layers, tables, frames, cascading style sheets, DHTML and plug-ins; simple, animated and pointer rollovers; use of templates and libraries in Dreamweaver; analysing the HTML, including META tags and troubleshooting; shortcuts and helpful tips. CD-ROM includes all files and images for lessons, tryout version of Dreamweaver 2.0, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Quicktime 4 and 12 Quicktime movies showing complex menus and actions.