Dreamweaver MX 2004: Your Connection to the Internet
The way to become the best Web developer and Dreamweaver user you can be is to study as if you plan to become a professional, and that includes a review of the basics. This is chapter 1 from Dreamweaver MX 2004: A Beginner's Guide, by Tom Muck and Ray West (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004, ISBN: 0-07-222996-9).
Dreamweaver MX 2004: Your Connection to the Internet (Page 1 of 16 )
I have a little story to tell you. I recently had the privilege of taking guitar lessons from one of my all-time favorite players. During our first session, we had a good discussion about my background and my goals. He was insistent that the way to become the best player I could be was to study as if I were going to play for a living as a professional musician, and that meant going back and reviewing the basics.
Now, I have had more music theory than anyone should have to endure. I have played professionally on a variety of instruments since my college years. Nevertheless, within the context of the system my teacher developed, this review of the basics has helped my playing immensely. I went through it quickly, but I still picked up pointers that were new or that I had forgotten about.
So I say to you, the way to become the best Web developer and Dreamweaver user you can be is to study as if you plan to become a professional, and that includes a review of the basics. If you are an experienced developer and purchased this book just to learn the particulars of Dreamweaver MX 2004, you will get through this part quickly and may even pick up a few of those pointers. If you are new to Web development, do not believe that you can become accomplished without a solid understanding of the basics. No design tool can substitute for a good grounding in the way the Internet works and the protocols that make it up. Sure, you can skip ahead to the fun part, but it will mean much more to you if you hang around for a few minutes and learn the foundation of the job you want to perform.
Understand the Internet and the World Wide Web
You can use Dreamweaver MX 2004 to build applications for your company on an intranet, for a kiosk, or even to run from a CD-ROM, but the most popular use is to build sites that run on the Internet; the worldwide network of computers that makes information instantly available. In the scheme of things, the Internet is relatively new, but it is getting more powerful as each year passes. Dreamweaver helps you keep up.
I suppose there was a time when questions went unanswered. A time when you would wake up at 3:00 A.M. wondering about the lyrics to that Styx song and there was nowhere to find the answer. But it is getting harder to remember that time. Somewhere around nine or ten years ago, a little-known government research project began to gain popularity with the development of what would become the most useful software ever offered for free.
There have been several revolutions in world history that permanently changed the way people lived their lives. But none has occurred as quickly, ubiquitously, and nonchalantly as the Internet revolution. The Internet has affected every corner of our culture in profound ways. At home, at school, and at work, our lives are different, if not better, as we move into the Information Age.
It has been said that information is power, and if that is true, we are the most powerful we have ever been. From the theme ingredient on the next episode of Iron Chef to last-minute income tax filing forms to the complete text of pending legislation, there is almost nothing you can’t find with just a little effort and access to the World Wide Web. It is interesting that one of the most exciting uses of twenty-first century technology is the exercise of ideals hundreds of years old. Speech and the flow of ideas have never been more free.
Our businesses have changed. The bookstore isn’t necessarily down the street anymore— often it is at the other end of a uniform resource locator (URL) such as www.amazon.com or www.bn.com. People who could never have competed with the “big boys” now have all but equal standing and an unprecedented opportunity to market and sell their products.
We can communicate as never before. Whether it is parents to their kid in a school across the country, constituents to their representative, or a satisfied (or unsatisfied) customer to the CEO, we are more in touch with the world around us. The handwritten family letter of yesterday is today’s smartly formatted electronic presentation, complete with the latest pictures of the grandkids delivered instantly without a stamp. The Internet makes the world smaller than even Mr. Disney imagined.
But as with any medium with the potential of the Internet, those who choose to fill it with content bear a certain responsibility. Although the Web is full of sites and pages and words of incredible utility, it is also full of poor design, bad programming, and content of dubious validity. This book aims to help you learn how to use one of the most powerful Web design tools available so that you can make a positive contribution.
The Web is built around several key concepts and protocols. These are all interrelated, but serve very different purposes. Without any one of them, the Internet would not work as we know it. You will need to become well acquainted with the following concepts and how they fit into the development cycle and the user experience:
File Transfer Protocol
World Wide Web
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Hypertext Markup Language
This chapter is from Dreamweaver MX 2004: A Beginner's Guide, by Tom Muck and Ray West (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004, ISBN: 0-07-222996-9). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.