Comments About My Books

If you would like to send any comments or constructive criticism, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Cheryl Colan

I have met and made some new friends over the last couple of years who also are Web Standards and accessibility advocates, one of whom is Derek Featherstone (his blog may be found at Boxofchocolates.ca). On November 22 (2004), he posted an article entitled Growing Up With Web Standards. In it he writes:

There are still a lot of developers out there that don't know how to build sites any other way than with font tags, spacer gifs and multiple nested tables. Why? Two reasons: they don't know any other way (after all, these old methods are what they grew up with - it is what they know, just as we know web standards and would have a difficult time going back to old school methods), and there aren't enough good resources on doing things the "right" way.

There are some really good resources out there for learning web development techniques. However, I'd say that there are still horrendous educational resources "in the wild" - web sites, tutorials, books, course manuals, you name it - that show poor markup and font tags and nested tables as part of their examples.

In my books, I have tried not to create books that would be part of hat group of horrendous educational resources and a comment seems to suggest that my goal was achieved. Cheryl Colan comments on Derek's article,

I teach web design at a community college. … I try very hard to teach standards-based web design, yet every book out there for Dreamweaver still uses tables for layout and barely covers CSS. And heaven help me when the students look at the properties window [Property inspector] and discover the font face and size attributes. I am tired of having to teach the old way of doing things because I am forced to use books with lessons based on Dreamweaver. I am at the point where I'm ready to write my own book just so there is one I can use to teach my class. We need the teaching resources to catch up to the Web Standards design philosophy.

Derek nicely points her to my book and although he points her to my ATC book, she delves deeper and finds my Essentials Series books at PH for which she comments again in Derek's blog.

I keep meaning to come back and thank you for the link to Julian's book. Instead I ordered Essentials for Design Macromedia® Dreamweaver® MX 2004 Level 1 & Level 2, also by Julian. The second in the bundle was set to be published January 15, 2005, but the kind folk at Prentice Hall graciously sent me a PDF advance copy so I could plan my syllabus. During the course of the last four months I have reviewed no less than 12 new titles trying to find one I felt good teaching from, and these books look to be the best out there right now.

Another Compliment

Gary Poyssick wrote to me saying:

I wanted to drop you a line and tell you how good your books are. I'm doing a compilation of the two levels for custom publishing at Prentice Hall. It used chapters 1 through 7, dropped the frames chapter (little wonder), made Tables eight, and then took 1,2, and 6 (snippets) from the level 2 book and turned it into a single work. The finished product is very cool.

Doing the pagination made me actually read the book, and I'm very impressed. It's hard to write books -- I know from personal experience. Doing so in such an organized and cleanly-written manner is quite an accomplishment.

I Found This at Webteacher.ws

To get specific about Essentials for Design: Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, Level One, I both liked and didn't like it. The book does a fine job of getting students off to a good start with Dreamweaver MX 2004 and many of the exercises and explanations are excellent.

What Virginia DeBolt is refering to in her dislikes is identified in the next paragraph in which she states: The thing that bothers me as an advocate of integrating the CSS instruction into the development of everything else being taught is that much of the CSS seems to have been put off to Level Two.

In my defense, I saw that using Dreamweaver MX 2004 to create and edit a CSS style rule can easily be a long and involved process. I didn't want to get bogged down with explanations of the different types of selectors, ids vs. classes, linking vs. importing, embedded vs. external style sheets or navigating through the CSS Style Rules dialog box when, for example, the chapter may have been focussed on working with inline images. Secondly, I believe that style must be applied after structure has been determined and therefore, I wanted to ensure that the student/reader had a grasp of structure before tackling CSS.

If I am asked to write the next edition of this book, I might move more CSS into the first book but, at this moment, I am undecided.