Tips and Tricks

Book Review – Teach Yourself Visually iLife 09

Okay so I had some book vouchers for Christmas and couldn’t really decide what I should buy with them, especially as I got the books I wanted for Christmas too. Then a few days ago I accidentally hit the GarageBand icon instead of the iWeb icon on my Dock and when it popped up I was tempted to stay and play for a while. Only I just made rubbish. ‘Ding’ a light-bulb appeared above my head and the very next day off I popped to the shops to get me a iLife book to learn some more of GarageBand and help me brush up my iWeb skills too.

In fairness all of the applications in iLife are supposed to intermingle with each other, for example you can use GarageBand to make podcasts for your iWeb site or use iPhoto to make an image gallery and drop it straight into iWeb too, so why not go the whole hog and improve my iLife skills.

The book I eventually settled on is ‘Teach Yourself VISUALLY iLife 09’ by Mike Wooldridge. This review will be focusing on the iWeb portion obviously, however there is much more to this book than just iWeb.

The chapter on iWeb, as with all of the chapters in this book takes you from the very basics of the application explaining the interface in full detail; what each icon does as well as the media panel to the right.

It then takes you through the basics from creating a new site, adding pages, changing themes, adding navigation, changing the dimensions and theme images such as the background. Everything you ever needed to know about creating an iWeb site is there.

Okay you can get all that stuff from the Apple site right? True but it is the little touches such as the hints and tips dotted around pages such as where iWeb stores its files, explanations of commonly used web-design terms, how to show/hide various elements of iWeb; there are loads of them.

You get shown some of the less well know features such as aligning text properly (and a lot of us could do with that) and it explains Inspector in easy to understand English too.

One thing I always had problems with was masking images with shapes (I know, it’s hands up time), with this book it is easy, I surprised myself!

Of course the iWeb section goes on to explain all about adding various types of media to your site, images, video and sound and explains how to change the settings for all of them. And of course there is blogging and podcasting too.

If you have MobileMe there is a lovely tutorial on adding a MobileMe gallery along with in-depth explanations on all of the widgets that come with iWeb 09. Finally the section finishes by explaining how to test your site and the various methods of uploading to your server/iDisk and telling everyone about it on facebook.

As I mentioned above all of the iLife applications are supposed to interlink in one way or another and this book can help with that too. The GarageBand section explains how to create a podcast and publish it to iWeb, the iPhoto section will help you publish images directly from your iPhoto events to iWeb in the form of a web-page and the iMovie section teaches you how to get your movies on line.

This really is an excellent book for iWeb (and I guess iLife, although I haven’t read it all yet) beginners and previous users alike. If you are an ‘expert’ in iWeb then this book isn’t for you, of that I have no doubt but I found it useful even just for all the little ‘extras’ you get from page to page which I think is a nice touch.

If you are looking for a book that will teach you ALL of the ins and outs of iWeb 09, then this is one you should really consider taking a look at.

If you want to grab yourself a copy of Teach Yourself VISUALLY iLife 09 I found it on Amazon: Teach Yourself VISUALLY iLife ’09 (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech)) for a much better price than I paid for in my bookshop (which is disappointing!) I’m off now to play with GarageBand some more.


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