An odd turn-up for the book

Yesterday, I received an invitation to review a new book about Dreamweaver. Nothing terribly remarkable about that. After all, I’m well known in the Dreamweaver community and I recently published a review of Peter Gasston’s excellent The Book of CSS3. What took me back was the title of the book I was being asked to review: Dreamweaver CS5.5 Mobile and Web Development with HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery. It’s almost word-for-word the same as the title of the book I published in June: Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 Studio Techniques: Designing and Developing for Mobile with jQuery, HTML5, and CSS3.

The invitation to review the rival book came from the marketing department of Packt, the company that published it. I sent a polite reply saying that I didn’t think it would be appropriate for me to review a book that had an almost identical title to mine. I thought that would be the end of it. However, I received an email from Packt saying they knew I had written a book with an identical title, and that’s why I would be the perfect person to write an honest review.

At first I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or horrified. It’s nice to think that I have such a great reputation for fairness that I would write a glowing review of a book that’s in direct competition with mine. Of course, there’s always the temptation to savage the book in public, but I would never want to do that to a fellow author. I know how much a bad review hurts. Since my book was published three months earlier (and was available even before that as Rough Cuts in the Safari Online Library), Packt can have no excuse for not knowing the title of its rival book was almost identical. I’ve no idea if the title was chosen as a deliberate spoiler, but asking me to review Packt’s book is rather like asking Coca Cola to endorse Pepsi’s latest offering.

I haven’t read the Packt book, which is written by David Karlins, an established and respected author. What I have read is David’s “Thoughts from the author” on In it, he says you don’t need to know HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. In fact, you don’t even need to know what they are. That immediately tells me that our books take completely different approaches to the same subject. I think it’s a pity his new publisher has decided to muddy the waters with the confusing titles.

I firmly believe that to build a website, you need to have at least a basic understanding of the underlying technologies. Website development is becoming increasingly complex. Dreamweaver helps speed up development through dialog boxes, prepackaged widgets, and code hints; but if you rely solely on point-and-click or copy-and-paste techniques, you’ll remain severely limited in what you can achieve. My book is aimed at readers who aren’t afraid to dig into a bit of code. In fact, you’ll need to do so if you want to access features such as geolocation and web storage on mobile devices. I guide you through the code, explaining what it does so that you can adapt it to your own needs.

So, if you’re looking for a book on developing for mobile with Dreawmeaver CS5.5 with jQuery, HTML5, and CSS, make sure you choose the one that’s right for you. Don’t be confused by the titles. Oh, and as small bonus, my book is in full colour, even though it’s the same length and the same cover price ($39.99) as the one published by Packt.

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15 Responses to An odd turn-up for the book

  1. Ove Klykken says:

    However, I received an email from Packt saying they knew I had written a book with an identical title, and that’s why I would be the perfect person to write an honest review.
    That made me laugh a little. πŸ˜€

    But in all seriousness, I completely understand your ambivalence. Publishing a book with such a similar title is bad enough, but to ask you to review it is beyond rude.

  2. Andoyo says:

    You are right Dave. Your books and your online tutorials help me a lot. Might be better if he ask me to give a review about his book… πŸ™‚ Haha…

    If we don’t have basic knowledge of HTML and CSS and then work on jQuery, those book will be impossible to be used. Thanks for your book Dave…

  3. Dawa says:

    hey David, I am your fun, I bought some of your books on online safari. right now, I am trying to learn the DW multiscreen authoring. I have a lot of feature and contents on desktop design version, but I want to make it simple for tablet and Smartphone versions with a few contents. So how to hide or turn off the content or feature i don’t want to see in tablet or smartphone version. I would appreciate your time to response this. It will save my LIFE thanks !

  4. Payam says:


    Will you ever write a book about PHP frameworks? MVC model for web developments? any recommendation to where to look at?


  5. David Powers says:

    My book, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 with PHP: Training from the Source, uses selected modules of the Zend Framework. However, it doesn’t use the Zend Framework’s MVC model, which I consider to be overkill for small websites. I’ve read several books about the Zend Framework MVC model, but can’t honestly recommend any of them, mainly because they had incomplete instructions and errors in the code. Also, they were based on ZF 1. ZF 2 should be out in the not too distant future. I haven’t looked at other frameworks in depth, so I can’t recommend anything there. Sorry.

    As for writing a book myself, I don’t have any plans to do so at the moment.

  6. Lynn Egen says:

    I just had to tell you… after 3 weeks “burning the midnight oil” and becoming very frustrated.. with DW.. I found you on the web… I was pulling my hair out with the Navigation bar.. and your tutorial gave me immediate success the first time!… Now I can go to bed…. Can hardley wait to publish the new site… just got done putting together a site through Google Sites to help a young friend out… and it is so limited… certainly worth the time with DW…
    YOU ARE MY HERO!!!…. just a dumb blond… trying to save money… Thanks so much…

  7. Payam says:

    Hi David

    I have a request. Is it possible for you to write an article to explain how to properly setup a development environment on local machine that would require minimum maintenance for deployment to the remote host. I have to a problem now, and it is quite cumbersome to resolve. I developed on Mac using Zend framework, but my remote host is based on Linux. The whole deployment has become a mess. From phpMyadmin setup to deployment of Zend and sub folders. What are the best practices? how to set up everything from the beginning to make deployment pain free?


  8. David Powers says:

    @Payam, The simple, pain-free way to handle this is to create a virtual host in your local development environment for each site that you develop. The fact that you’re developing on a Mac and deploying to Linux makes no difference. You don’t say if you have any of my books, but if you’re using Zend Framework, it sounds as though you might have Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 with PHP: Training from the Source. Chapter 2 describes how to set up a virtual host , and Chapter 13 describes how to move your files to a remote host. There’s also a tutorial on my site explaining how to set up a virtual host on Mac OS X.

  9. Cathy says:

    Dear David,

    I would be grateful if you could give me some advises how to test my PHP website which can work with mobile browsers at local server in Windows. Using SDK of Android in Dreamweaver CS5.5 or download mobile browser from Firefox?

    Best regards,

  10. David Powers says:

    If you’re using Dreamweaver CS5.5, the best way to test a PHP site for mobile is to use Dreamweaver’s Window Size menu to change the size of the viewport in the Document window. The Android emulator does have a browser, so you could theoretically use it to test a website running on localhost. I’ve just tried it, but gave up after the emulator still hadn’t started after several minutes. As for downloading the mobile browser from Firefox, you need to install it on a mobile device.

    There’s no real substitute for testing on a mobile device. With regards to the PHP side of things, it doesn’t matter where you do your testing. First make sure that you don’t have any errors in your script, then upload to a remote server and test on a mobile.

  11. Peter Szalc says:

    Hi David,
    thank you for your great book “Beginning CSS3”
    Where can I find the source code for this book?
    With Best regards

  12. charles Abboud says:

    Hi David,
    I’m looking at a physical copy of your book Beginning CSS3 and I can’t find anywhere on the web where the code download samples are. Any chance of help with locating them please?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Charles Abboud

  13. David Powers says:

    Hi Charles, Sorry for the delay in replying. I recently moved my website to a different server, and the automatic mails informing me of comments stopped being sent. I can only apologize profusely for the failure of the publisher to put the files on the Apress website. I supplied them a couple of months ago. In the meantime, you can download them from the link I have just created on the book’s page on my site.

  14. David Powers says:

    Hi Peter, Many apologies for the delay in replying. I’ve added a link to the source code at the top right of the book’s page on this site.

  15. Charles Abboud says:

    Hi David,
    Thank you very much. No problem at all. I had been visiting this site (and your book page on Apress) frequently to see if you had answered and today, I noticed the link to the source code before I even knew that you had answered. I thought to myself. Surely that link hasn’t been there all along?? Am I hallucinating…and now I know I’m not πŸ™‚
    Thanks Again
    All the best
    Charles Abboud