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Review: Special Edition Using Microsoft Expression Web
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by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Introduction

With the launch of Office 2007 into the market, Microsoft has discontinued FrontPage and introduced new software named Expression Web. There are not enough books available on the market since the software is only one year old. However, Jim Cheshire has done an excellent job by authoring a step-by-step special edition book for Que Publishing. The book provides a comprehensive coverage of the various features of the software in an elegant manner.

Inside the Book and Recommendations

The book contains 8 parts with over 35 chapters. Part 1 provides a brief tour of the features included with Expression Web. The chapters in Part 2 help you to create, publish and manage different kinds of websites such as Disk based, FTP and HTTP. You will also learn how to generate reports, importing websites and the usage of personal web packages. Part 3 includes a bunch of chapters and it mainly examines the creation and management of different types of pages and content. You will learn the usage of Intellisense, Context Menus, Code Snippets, Quick Tag Tools, Tables, Frames, Forms, Graphics, Multimedia and Find & Replace. The author also demonstrates the configuration of various options available in page editor.

Page 4 and 5 examines the usage of CSS, website optimization using built-in accessibility checker and also some of the compatibility features. Part 6 discusses some of the advanced topics such as usage of dynamic web templates, interactive buttons, behaviors, layers and much more. This part also includes a brief overview of client side scripting and creation and usage of VBA Macros.

Part 7 delves deep into the various aspects involved with the development of ASP.NET 2.0 applications. The author provides a detailed overview of standard ASP.NET 2.0, Navigation, Master Pages and User controls. Towards the end of the part, you will learn the development of a login system and usage of form validation controls. The final chapter examines the usage of ASP.NET web parts in a detailed way. Part 8 deserves special mention as the author has covered the aspects involved with database management with the help of various data source controls.

The book concludes with an appendix which provides an overview of the usage of Visual Web Developer Express Edition and some of the emerging technologies such as Ajax, Ruby on Rails. I feel the author should provide some coverage of PHP as well. The author also examines ecommerce related aspects and lists some of the useful resources available on the web for further learning.

Each chapter includes step-by-step instructions, tips, notes, caution hints, complete source code and jumps to related chapters with page numbers. The author has done a great job presenting the subject matter in a lucid manner. The book includes a CD which contains sample source files, full version of popular logo creator software, menu builder and PDF version of the book. I feel that these softwares will be a sure bonus for all those who purchase the book.

I would suggest the author provides a trial version of Expression Web as well on the CD so that readers can quickly install the software and get the most from the book. The author maintains a website for the purpose of this book. In addition to useful articles, the site includes a long list of errors and their corrections.

An interesting point to note is that the book is written based on the final release of Expression Web and the copy which I reviewed and is currently available from the publisher is the second print of the first edition. Hence, most of the errata that you see on the above website are oriented for those readers who have access to the first print of the book.

Conclusion

From my point of view, no other book provides in-depth coverage of content as Jim's book and it surely excels. Even though the publisher has shelved the book under Intermediate-Advanced category, I feel that beginners will also find it very easy to follow the content. The pricing of the book is very economical and I do not think there is any necessity for you to invest in another book to learn the tips and tricks of Expression Web. I have no hesitation in giving this book a five star rating.

About the Reviewer

Anand Narayanaswamy (Microsoft MVP and Chief Technical Editor, ASPAlliance.com) is the author of Community Server Quickly.

About the Book

Title

Special Edition Using Microsoft Expression Web

 

Author

Jim Cheshire

Publisher

Que Publishing

ISBN - 10

0-7897-3605-5

ISBN - 13

978-0-7897-3605-5

Edition

December 2006, First Edition, Second Print

Pages

768 with CD

Price

US $39.99

Rating

*****

 


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