What's new in this edition?
Lots of stuff. We cover the new features of Dreamweaver CS4, including the upgraded user iterface, improved CSS interface, management, and CSS layouts; the improved integration with Photoshop (including Smart Objects); the new Related Files, Code Navigator, and Live View features; and we go into detail on Dreamweaver's expansion of using Ajax with the Spry framework, widgets, and effects.
And of course, we also built upon the different approach to teaching Dreamweaver that we introduced in the two previous editions of the book.
What kind of new approach?
We think that too many of the other Dreamweaver books out there rely on old-style methods for creating sites and pages with Dreamweaver, such as using tables for layout and font tags for styling text. Those methods aren't appropriate anymore, especially because Dreamweaver has great tools for creating and using CSS. So our book walks readers through building sites the modern way, respecting Web standards throughout. We still show people how to do things the old-fashioned ways (because some people have special requirements for using those methods), but we focus on teaching modern methods and using best practices. In this edition, based on reader feedback, we reworked the CSS chapters to make it even easier to understand and use CSS for styling and layout.
What isn't in this book?
Dreamweaver is such a huge and complex program, and you can do so much with it, that we and Peachpit Press, our publisher, decided to focus our book's coverage. Our book shows how to use Dreamweaver to build static sites. If you want to use Dreamweaver to build dynamic sites, which use a database to build pages on the fly, check out Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 with ASP, ColdFusion, and PHP: Training from the Source by Jeffrey Bardzell and Bob Flynn. It covers an older version of Dreamweaver, but those features didn't change much in CS4.
You don't recommend a Web hosting company in the book. Can you?
We don't recommend a hosting company in the book because the subject is kind of a can of worms; everyone has their own reasons for choosing a hosting company. Many (most, it seems) people are price-conscious above all other considerations. Some prefer reliability over price. Some folks prefer lots of support and handholding; others don't need that.
That said, we're happy to recommend the Web host that we've used for more than a decade, Pair Networks (aka Pair.com). That's an affiliate link, but we don't suggest Pair because we get a small commission on people we refer. No, it's because we're very happy customers. We're much more interested in reliability than anything else. We have multiple Web sites, and we have little tolerance for downtime. In the whole time we've been with Pair, we've experienced virtually no unexpected downtime. We don't need a lot of support, and Pair doesn't have the kind of fancy configuration control panels that some other hosts offer, so Pair may be best for more experienced site builders. Pair is not the cheapest, but we think they are among the best.
Here's a hint when you go looking for a Web hosting company: do a Google search like this: "[name of hosting company] sucks". Make sure you include the quotes around the query. If many people have had problems with a particular host, you'll get lots of results. And if you do, maybe that host is not a great choice.
Note: Does Pair sound good, but you want something a little less hard-core? Check out PairLite. Or you looking for a domain registrar? In that case, we recommend pairNIC, Pair's affiliated registrar. If by this point you've received the impression that we're very happy long-term Pair customers, you'd be correct.
Can I ask you questions?
Sure you can, as long as they're about things in our book that weren't clear or sometimes (like in the hosting question above) that we left out. All we ask is that you actually own our book (Adobe has a big tech support staff, and we can't compete with them), and that you send us email at the book's email address listed in either the book's Introduction or in Appendix A. We regret that because of the large volume of email that we get, we cannot, and will not, answer email about the book sent to our personal email addresses. Unfortunately, due to the danger of computer viruses being spread with e-mail attachments, we cannot accept any messages with attachments.
I didn't buy your book. I bought somebody else's book instead. Can I ask you about the one that I bought?
Sorry, no. Go talk to the author of the other book. Similarly, we don't recommend that you ask them questions about our book, either.