Review: Dynamic Learning Dreamweaver CS 3

Reviewer: Virginia DeBolt

Summary: Out of date techniques

get this book at

Rating: 1/5

There’s a series of Dynamic Learning books from O’Reilly and Aquent Graphics Institute (AGI). This one on Dreamweaver CS3 is a full-color, slickly designed book with video tutorials and project files on a CD. That’s the end of the good part of the review.

I know, I know—as long as Adobe keeps making Dreamweaver with tools that enable you to write font tags, design pages with tables and frames, and use all sorts of presentational HTML, someone has to write books about how to use Dreamweaver that way. This is one of those books. My great hope is that Adobe will get over it already.

When I first leafed through the book and saw the color and design details at a glance, I thought, “Wow, maybe this will be a good book to base a semester of Dreamweaver instruction on.” My initial glancing impression was way off. Please don’t use this book to teach anyone who hopes to present themselves as a professional how to use Dreamweaver. Here are a few of the things the book does.

  • refers to pixels as points
  • calls using a <strong> tag applying boldface, even while instructing the user to style the <strong> tag as italic
  • uses <font> tags and sets Preferences to add page property values as HTML presentational attributes of the <body> element throughout Chapters 1 and 2
  • teaches styles by having the user create a class for every individual text element on a page such as <p> and <li> elements
  • has a chapter on tables-based layouts but nothing on accessible data tables
  • doesn’t mention accessibility at all
  • has a chapter on frames
  • doesn’t mention that the indent icon creates a blockquote
  • the forms chapter doesn’t mention fieldsets and legends
  • the forms chapter doesn’t explain using <label> with for and id attributes

Maybe there are employers out there looking for designers who work this way and come to the local university in search of them. In my opinion, however, I think employers are looking for people trained in best practices. This book does not develop best practices.

3 thoughts on “Review: Dynamic Learning Dreamweaver CS 3”

  1. Hi …
    Thanks for that info on these books. I saw them at Fry’s Electronics and wondered about why they were so cheap (30 for 3 books) – if you could let me know which training material would be a good starting point with DW as well as PS and Flash, I’d appreciate your input 🙂 Please email me if you can

  2. WOW… what a review! Hats off!
    And yes, I agree with you on the bad habits of DW. However, I DO use DW (but not all the time), and because I started out with learning (X)HTML and CSS (all from the tons of free webtutorials), I KNOW where DW f*cks up so I can correct that in the code-section.
    It’s a necessity of course, to use a self-coded stylesheet.

Leave a Reply