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Keywords: Web design, CSS, XHTML, JavaScript, DOM

Title: Web Design In A Nutshell

Author: Jennifer Niederst Robbins

Publisher: O'Reilly

ISBN: 0596009879

Media: Book

Verdict: Highly recommended.


Web design depends on an alphabet soup of standards and technologies: HTML, XHTML, CSS, DOM, DHTML, JavaScript and on and on. Add in competing browsers and platforms and you're drowning in a sea of information as you struggle to put together a site that looks good, is functional and works for the broadest range of users. Anyone looking to keep tabs on all of these standards (and the different versions of the standards…), but help is at hand in the form of 'Web Design In A Nutshell', now into a 3rd edition.

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.

The book covers a wide range of technologies, from the basics of HTML, XHTML and XML, to extensive coverage of presentation with CSS (including CSS 2.1), JavaScript and the Document Object Model (DOM), which leads naturally to quick intro to Ajax, Web graphics (GIF, JPG, PNG etc) and a whole section on media (audio, video, Flash and printing). In terms of scope there's pretty much everything needed to deliver highly compliant, good looking web sites. Any more and you'd be looking at PHP, ASP, JSP and related technologies for creating data-driven web applications.

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.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2006. Published October 19 2006