Review: Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Classroom in a Book

Reviews_AdobeDreamweaverClassroomInABookMy Rating: 1/5

About the Book
Written by The Adobe Creative Team, this book is a resource manual for learning how to create and design websites using Adobe Dreamweaver CS6. Classroom in a Book is broken up into multiple lessons designed to have the reader follow along. A CD is included, which contains all the images, CSS, and HTML files a reader would need to complete the lessons.  The book is the newest edition of a long-running series published by Adobe. 

Author: The Adobe Creative Team
Publisher: Adobe Press
Cost: about $37on Amazon
ISBN: 978-0321822451

What I Liked
The concept of the book (learning to create websites by following along prescribed lessons) is a great and important tool for beginning web designers if done well.

What I Didn’t Like
Unfortunately, this book does virtually everything wrong. I have used this book in two different web design courses (one undergraduate, one Master’s) and had miserable outcomes both times. Perhaps the greatest downfall of the book is that it doesn’t appropriately address any audience. At times, the book addresses entirely novice users (which it is advertised for), but at other times assumes far too much knowledge from the user. There is an unfortunate tendency to use web and Dreamweaver-specific terminology with no explanation in early chapters will full explanation in later chapters (as if the book was written in one order, then the chapters were reorganized without adjustments).  One of the most problematic elements of the book is that it does not teach readers how to construct a website from scratch. Rather, the format is such that users revise and edit a pre-built website. The goal of the book, it seems, is to teach users about how Dreamweaver works (rather than how to actually build a website) by jumping them in the middle of a site that uses a Dreamweaver template and already-constructed code. The problem is that users never really grasp CSS or HTML; they can complete the tasks, but have no idea why they did what they did. The lessons virtually become useless and unnecessarily confusing. There are even a number of errors in the lessons that held some students (and even myself when I did the lessons) for hours. On a tacky note, the authors continually praise Dreamweaver for its glorious capabilities. Students in both my classes caught onto this and complained about how it made them feel stupid (there are frequent self-promoting references to how easy Dreamweaver makes web design and how powerful a tool it is).