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Title: Web Design In A Nutshell
Author: Jennifer Niederst Robbins
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Lead author Jennifer Niederst Robbins, author of one of our recommended titles 'Learning Web Design', has done an extensive re-work to deliver a book that is concise, packed with current information but which provides more than just a dull listing of standards and references.
As mentioned already, this book is not just a dry reference manual. Robbins and her co-authors manage to balance the reference material with additional information, well-chosen examples and the benefit of their experience. This is a book that you can read rather than just refer to. What's more, unlike a pure reference manual, there are some sections of the book which work well as complete introductory tutorials.
For example the sections on the structural layer (XML, XHTML) and the presentation layer (CSS) can standalone as introductions so that an absolute beginner can learn the basics and get up to speed quickly. The writing is unfussy and easy to read, with some good asides and additional information in side-bars.
If you do a lot of web work and need a reference manual, tutorial and something to dip into for ideas then this is an excellent book to have at your side. Recommended.