:: news + energy + technology
  At a Glance Macromedia Ultradev and Flash Training Books

Richard Price
23 October 2001

Macromedia Flash 5 Training from the Source AU$95.95;
Macromedia Dreamweaver Ultradev Training from the Source AU$95.95;

As software becomes more advanced and powerful learning how to get the most from all its features is not so straightforward.

Users can plough through the manual on their own or try and get into a TAFE or college course. Another option is to buy a book to complement the manual.

I have looked at two books that will help anyone trying to get their head around the complexities of Macromedia’s Flash 5 or Dreamweaver Ultradev 4.

Both books are easy to understand and work through.

Flash 5 Training from the Source is based on a curriculum originally developed by Macromedia’s authorised trainers.

The book is suitable for Flash beginners already familiar with Windows or Mac conventions.

The book consists of 12 lessons. Each lesson provides an overview, objectives and a set of tasks to work through. A companion CD contains all the necessary files, plus completed versions of the tasks in both Windows and Mac formats.

It is necessary to have Flash 5 installed. A trial version of Flash 5 is included on the CD.

Working through all the tasks takes about 14 hours, at the end of which you have built a complete web site including sounds, interactivity, movie clips and animation. Flash ActionScript is also explained.

Web sites are fast moving beyond simple brochure sites, with live database interactivity being the most interesting and useful.

Macromedia’s Dreamweaver Ultradev 4 gives designers the ability to add this interactivity without much programming skill.

UltraDev 4 is based on Macromedia Dreamweaver, and looks very similar. To get the most out of the book it is necessary to be familiar with both Dreamweaver and the creation of web pages.

Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 Training from the Source covers the basics and more in 11 lessons (20 hours to work through) at the end of which users will understand how to configure a site to interact with a database. Also covered is on-the-fly interactivity, building pages users can change from their browser; and searching using SQL variables.

There are different ways of adding database connectivity. UltraDev supports Coldfusion, ASP and JSP. Again, all the files needed are in their respective folders on the CD. The files required depend on the server model in use. A local server --- like Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) or Microsoft’s Personal Web Server (PWS) --- is also needed.

The CD only contains Mac and Windows files necessary to complete the exercises, but there is NO software in this case (not even a 30-day trial version).

A full version of Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 must be installed to work through the exercises.

Anyone wanting to learn more about UltraDev should seriously consider this book. It is authorised by Macromedia and my guess is that Macromedia’s official UltraDev 4 courses are exactly like this.

These books should be available from all good bookshops.


The Tuesday Letter