Introduction


Introduction

Welcome to Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide ! Macromedia Dreamweaver has long been the premier visual tool for Web site developers, allowing you to build great-looking Web pages and smoothly running Web sites. Dreamweaver's ease-of-use takes much of the pain out of creating Web sites, without sacrificing flexibility. It's possible to use Dreamweaver to create terrific Web sites without knowing much about HTML and JavaScript (though you will create better Web sites if you familiarize yourself with at least the basics of these languages).

Dreamweaver is a rich, powerful, and deep program, and at first glance, it can be a bit intimidating. We've written this book as a painless introduction to Dreamweaver and its features, and with our help, you will use Dreamweaver to build an excellent Web site.



Using this book

We've organized the different elements of building Web sites with Dreamweaver 8 into chapters, and within each chapter are numbered, step-by-step directions that tell you exactly how to accomplish various tasks. You don't have to work through the entire book in order, but it is structured so the more complex material builds on the earlier tasks .

We start with an overview of Dreamweaver, move on to setting up your Web site and creating your first Web page, then discuss how to add content and interactivity to your pages. Finally, we show you how to work with HTML code and manage your Web site.

When we decided to write this book, we wanted to take a fresh look at Dreamweaverat how people use it, and how people should use it. Throughout the book, we've tried to show you how to use Dreamweaver using its most modern features, rather than using some of the features that are still in the program, but are "old school." Specifically, we'll show you how to apply styles and position your page elements using Cascading Style Sheets, rather than older, obsolete methods . If you don't know what that means, don't worry; it's all explained in Chapters 5 and 6.

Tips

  • Throughout the book we've included many tips that will help you get things done faster, better, or both.

  • Be sure to read the figure captions, too; sometimes you'll find extra nuggets of information there.

  • When we're showing HTML or JavaScript code, we've used this code font . We also use the code font for Web addresses.

  • You'll also find sidebars (with gray backgrounds) that delve deeper into subjects.


For keyboard commands, we've included Mac keyboard shortcuts in parentheses immediately after the Windows shortcut, like this:

To open the Find & Replace dialog, press Ctrl-F (Cmd-F).

While writing this book, we've made the assumption that you're familiar with the basics of using Windows or Mac OS X. You don't need to be a computer expert by any means, but you shouldn't be stumped by concepts like selecting text, using menus , clicking and dragging, and using files and folders. Naturally, you should be familiar with Web surfing and how to use a Web browser to view a Web site.



A note for our Mac-using friends

If you've flipped through this book already, you probably noticed that the vast majority of the screenshots were taken on machines running Windows. That doesn't mean that the book (or its authors) don't welcome Dreamweaver users on the Mac. Far from it; in fact, both of us are primarily Mac users, and we are frequent contributors to Macworld magazine and other Mac-oriented publications .

However, our crack research department tells us that most Dreamweaver users are running the program on Windows machines, so we have included screenshots that will reflect the experience of the majority of our readers. Happily, Dreamweaver (and especially Dreamweaver 8) works almost identically on both platforms. In the few cases where there are differences, we've included separate procedures for Windows and for Mac users.

There is one other thing that we haven't done in this book that we have done in all of our previous Mac books. We are no longer telling Mac users to Control-click to bring up a contextual menu (which we sometimes call shortcut menus in this book). Instead, we've adopted right-click, because Apple is now shipping its multiple-button mouse (which it calls Mighty Mouse) with all of its computers that come with a mouse. If you still have one of the old Apple mice with a single button, just substitute Control-click wherever you see right-click in the book. Better yet, we suggest that you get any USB or wireless mouse with multiple buttons and a scroll wheel. It will really increase your productivity.