GoLive in 24 Hours

by Joe Gillespie — Aug 1, 2001
GoLive in 24 Hours

I must admit, I'm not a manual reader. I tend to roll up my sleeves and dive into a new program head first. Luckily, most programs are based on earlier ones and, apart from a few oddities, I can tell how a program works by just looking at the interface.

Adobe GoLive is, on the whole, a natural progression from earlier WYSIWYG Web page editors like Adobe Pagemill and Claris HomePage and its manual is in a pristine, virtually untouched condition on my bookshelf. The downside of this 'habit' is that I miss some of the more esoteric features lurking in the inner depths.

Software manuals tend to be written by technical writers in a dry, matter of fact way that bears little resemblance to the way people read or work. That is probably why I never read them. A good book, on the other hand, is more sympathetic to my needs and the general reading experience.

"Teach Yourself Adobe® GoLive™ 5 in 24 Hours" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue but the concept of twenty four, one hour lessons is sound enough. (No, the 24 Hours doesn't mean by this time tomorrow!)

If you have never produced a Web page before, you will have by the third lesson and it doesn't really take as long as three hours!

Full marks for starters.

Each step-by-step lesson is just enough to allow the reader to grasp the concepts being explained without going into mental overload and finishes off with a short Q&A section and a quiz to test what has been learned.

After the basics, the book goes into page layouts, firstly using conventional frames and then "floating boxes" - GoLive's name for CSS-P <divs>. Althought the book warns about not using CSS-P with browsers earlier than 4 and points out that there are even significant rendering differences between 4+ browsers, it skimps a little too much on something as vital as this with a "beyond the scope of this book" statement and suggest that readers check their browser logs for "User Agents". This is easier said than done and a one or two page browser compatibility chart would have been welcome.

There is something of a no-man's land in GoLive in between tables and CSS-P called "The Layout Grid". The advantages of using the layout grid method for building Web pages is fairly easily understood and well explained, but they fail to mention the disadvantages - bloated file sizes and Web pages that are virtually impossible to edit in other editors because they are so convoluted.

GoLive's implementation of Cascading Style Sheets is one of its greatest strengths and the book gives the "text styling" aspects of CSS pretty thorough coverage explaining both embedded and external style sheets. This is one section that really shines. If you are a graphic designer or typographer, this makes the modest cost of the book a worthwhile investment on its own.

The multimedia aspects of Web pages, like DHTML and QuickTime, have their own sections. QuickTime is well supported in GoLive so there's plenty of information about the QuickTime editing facilities. Flash, Real Audio and SVG are passed over very quickly - more a shortcoming of the program than the book. Does anyone use DHTML anymore, I thought that it had died a very deserved death?

I skipped over the section on GoLive's JavaScript Actions. That's an area I don't want to venture into myself as I prefer to write my own JavaScript rather than repurpose someone else's but it's there if you want to read it, ominously under "Hour 13"!

Another aspect of GoLive that I'm not too keen on is its "Site Management" tools. Even after reading the tutorials in the book, I am still confused. Again, this is mainly a problem with GoLive rather than the book but the sections on "Creating Site Files" and "Site design" are, to me, in the wrong order. Surely "design" comes first in the chronological process yet the creation of site files is at the beginning of the book and the design process at the end!

GoLive 5 itself is beginning to show its age. It has several gaping holes that need to be filled to address modern Web standards. Two of the three authors of the book have close ties with Adobe so, naturally, they stay well clear of anything that might constitute criticism. A more impartial author might have talked about some of the things the program doesn't do well and suggest workarounds.

Those few grumbles aside, I can't think of a better way to get started in Web design than with GoLive and this book. It will certainly get you up to speed very quickly as far as WYSIWYG editing goes but you might have to dig a bit deeper into HTML if you want to make a career out of it. GoLive in 24 Hours claims to be suitable for beginners up to intermediate level. That is probably true of both the book and the program.

GoLive in 24 Hours
Manufacturer SAMS - Authors' site
Price $24.99 - Amazon $17.49
Summary A very good place to start.
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