First, thanks to the authors for your efforts in writing such a good book. I'm currently working through it, and it's proving to be a great help.
My question concerns inserting web parts into page layouts - it's not clear to me how the two interact when using SharePoint Designer (SD). On the first page of chapter 7 (page 191) the authors state that...
"Perhaps one of the most important things to note about Web Parts is that you can only add them to a special type of page known as a Web Part page."
In chapter 13 they have two methods of creating a page layout - one using the browser method and the other using SD. In the browser method you clearly have the option of selecting a web part page (see figure 13-23 on page 461). However it wasn't clear to me how to do this using the SD method. I found the following link which makes it seem pretty simple...
In this example they're simply dragging a web part into the content placeholder. There's no intermediate step of creating or declaring a web part page. Is this the typical way this is done?