Welcome to Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS3!
Adobe Dreamweaver (DW) is the leading web authoring tool on the market; Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the recommended method of separating presentation from content to make site upkeep simpler and faster, as well as friendlier to search engines. Yet it's a common misconception that it's tough to use Dreamweaver to build accessible, standards-compliant page layouts using CSS. We're here to show you how easy it really is. Who are we? Greg is the Group Manager, Creative Solutions Evangelism at Adobe and has been involved with Dreamweaver since version two. He demos and teaches it weekly, including its CSS capabilities. Stephanie codes CSS for a living as a consultant and trains corporate web departments in CSS techniques, best practices and web standards. She's the co-lead of the Adobe Task Force for WaSP (formerly the Dreamweaver Task Force) and wrote the CSS layouts in Dreamweaver CS3 under contract from Adobe.
We wrote this book because we felt our combined knowledge about Dreamweaver and CSS could help you, our reader, grasp these tools in combination—the way we use them every day. And we wanted the opportunity to really discuss the CSS layouts contained in Dreamweaver beginning with the CS3 version, showing you how to use, extend and really put them to work.
Who Should Read this Book?
We wrote the book with a fairly specific reader in mind. We explain each concept on first encounter, so you don't need to have extensive knowledge of either Dreamweaver or CSS, but we do expect that you have at least a little familiarity with both. We're also assuming you have some rudimentary working knowledge of (X)HTML. On the other hand, if you're a power user of either Dreamweaver or CSS, this book will hopefully expose you to that “other” side and open your mind to some new workflow possibilities. Stephanie even learned some new tips as she edited Greg's writing, and if pressed, Greg will admit he learned some new tricks with CSS. In the pages of this book, you’ll hopefully have several “gee, I wish I’d known that on my last project” moments.
How is the Book Structured?
Each chapter of the book is a stand-alone project. You don't have to do them in order, but they do build on each other, so starting at the beginning is probably best. Throughout the book, we'll try to show you different options of ways to use Dreamweaver and CSS, so you can figure out the best way for you to work. We begin with a review chapter: Chapter One covers the basic principles of CSS, as well as giving an overview of Dreamweaver's CSS tools. Chapters Two, Four, Five, and Six each begin with a different type of CSS layout and walk you through building the initial page structure for a web site with it—just as we ourselves do during a typical work day—all while teaching Dreamweaver and CSS concepts. Chapter Three covers transforming an existing table-based layout to a CSS-based layout using Dreamweaver. The beginning of each chapter gives a bit more explicit instructions, but as you progress, we assume you remember what was done earlier and we don't waste space with minutiae.
We hope, when you finish each chapter, you feel like you've had a personal coach by your side pulling you through it. And this book costs a lot less than your local fitness trainer charges you for a personal trainer!
Files and Reference Material
The files for this book are housed on Stephanie's website—w3conversions.com. They're contained in, you guessed it, the "book" directory (http://www.w3conversions.com/book/). The web site includes the reference links found in the book as well, so you can simply click instead of typing while reading the book (some of the link names are really long). Also, if any links change (if you encounter a 404, let us know), we'll be able to keep the site updated.
We suggest you start by going to the site and downloading all the necessary files. From this page on, we're going to assume that you have the files you need, rather than directing you to download files in each chapter. So let's get started!
About the Authors
Together Stephanie and Greg have over 20 years of experience in the web industry and are both recognized experts within the web community and their respective areas of expertise.
About Stephanie Sullivan
Founder and principal of web standards redesign company W3Conversions, Stephanie Sullivan is a CSS, accessibility and XHTML expert, whose services are in demand by top firms across the United States. She regularly works with clients, large and small, to troubleshoot problems, train their web team, or to work behind-the-scenes transforming their in-house graphic designs into functioning standard-based web sites. Stephanie serves as co-lead of the influential Web Standards Project (WaSP) Adobe Task Force and is a partner at Community MX, a site currently offering over 2,500 tutorials to web developers seeking to increase their skills. She’s an Adobe Community Expert, beta tester and Dreamweaver advisor.
A tireless advocate of web community education, she is “List Mom” for the long-running WebWeavers discussion list for professional web designers, and a moderator of the search engine marketing discussion group SEM 2.0 run by Andrew Goodman. She answers questions almost daily in the forums at Community MX, where she also writes a widely-read blog. She’s a sought after speaker and lends her voice to a variety of events each year, including Adobe MAX, An Event Apart, South by Southwest, HOW Design Conference, Voices That Matter, Web Design World, and many more.
Stephanie headquarters her business by the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she lives with her two teenaged sons. Though an admitted workaholic, she escapes as often as possible from the little people inside her computer to get sandy playing beach volleyball. Her hobby, if only she had time? Studying brain function. Her guilty pleasure? 80's music. Nina Hagen anyone?!
About Greg Rewis
Greg is a true “old-timer” in not only the web industry, but the computer industry in general. Having completed his studies at Louisiana State University in 1983, Greg sought out new adventures in Europe and ended up working for the US Army, attached to the National Security Agency. Little did he know that one of the systems he would be working on would later come to be known as the internet.
Fate would lead him to an industry tradeshow in 1990 where he met “a couple of German dudes” demonstrating their new desktop publishing system, P.INK Press. A few conversations later and Greg was the Product Manager for P.INK, which eventually spun off into a new start-up, GoLive Systems. When Adobe acquired GoLive, Greg left for the “greener pastures” of chief rival Macromedia. Greg wore a variety of hats at Macromedia—from sales engineer to Technical Product Manager for Dreamweaver to Evangelist.
With the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe, Greg took on the role of Worldwide Web Evangelist. Through his role at Adobe, Greg has had the good fortune to travel around the world (more times than he cares to count) and talk with users of Adobe’s products at seminars, conferences and trade shows. Greg is now the Group Manager for Creative Solutions Evangelism at Adobe, leading a team of worldwide evangelists as they spread the word about Adobe’s creative products and technologies.
You can follow Greg’s adventures at Assorted Garbage.