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XML, HTML, XHTML Magic
 
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XML, HTML, XHTML Magic (Paperback)
by Molly E. Holzschlag (Author)
  4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews (5 customer reviews)  


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Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
XML, HTML, XHTML Magic is a set of short projects that demonstrate Web authoring techniques. Aimed at Web professionals, it is nicely laid out with an unusually wide page size, making it easier to display code samples and screen illustrations alongside the text. Although its stated aim is to assist migration from plain HTML to more up-to-date standards like XML and XHTML, the book is too short and technically lightweight to achieve it. In particular, the appearance of XML in the title is misleading, since it is hardly covered at all. What it does provide are some valuable examples, particularly when it comes to CSS (cascading style sheets), which are used extensively throughout.

After a short introduction to XHTML and CSS, the book gets straight into the first project, which is designing a table-based daily news site. Next comes a weekly publication using SSI (server-side includes), a corporate site with logos designed in Photoshop, and another project explaining how to show artistic images with flair. A couple of projects investigate the design of a community site with online feedback, including one that uses Apache and PHP for dynamic content. Two more projects show how to design the user interface for an online shopping site, and how to publish questions and answers for customer support. Finally there is a look at delivering data as WML for mobile devices.

Although it touches on some server-side technology, this is really a book about design, with many useful tips for building attractive, usable sites that work well in different browsers. Those looking for an introduction to XML or XHTML technology would be better off with one of the many more detailed guides available. --Tim Anderson, Amazon.co.uk

Nick Finck, Editor-in-Chief, Digital Web Magazine
Molly shows you how to take advantage of XML, HTML, and XHTML in a realistic manner in her Magic book.

See all Editorial Reviews


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5 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Magically covers real-world Web design projects, October 10, 2001
I've always wanted a book that had a little bit of everything for the Jane of all trades in me including HTML, XML, XHTML, PHP, ASP, CSS, etc. Impossible, I always thought -- it would be too much for such a book to exist. This book proved me wrong. It touches upon a little of everything using real-life projects from something simple as creating a personal Web site to a real challenge in using XML for the Wireless Web. Guess what? It's only two hundred something pages. Holzschlag and five other talented Web professionals have done a superb job showing how to do each project step-by-step to resolve the problem as identified at the beginning of each project chapter. Following the problem definition are the needed technical specs and the technologies or skills to complete the project. In general, this book is for those familiar with HTML, a text editor such as Notepad, and web graphics production. For some projects, it recommends a basic understanding of JavaScript and CSS. Wherever you are in your Web design knowledge, you can follow along with the book. Try out the projects in the book the help of the companion Web site loaded with graphics and code for downloading.


 
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars For every plus, a minus, October 10, 2001
By Brett Merkey (Palm Harbor, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
-Buy and study this book if you want to construct low-key and conventional Web sites of today. The examples and illustrations are presented in a workmanlike fashion and are quite clear.

-Do not buy this book if you want to see current advanced techniques in action and learn the bread-winning skills of tomorrow.

The book is a collaboration of several authors, with content organized into various projects, such as 'Providing Online Customer Support' and 'Setting Up a Storefront.'

The authors get high marks for what they unanimously preached: Build your site upon validated HTML or XHTML; separate structure from presentation through the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control fonts, colors, and layout.

The authors get low marks for what they unanimously practiced: Design your site with nested tables for layout, mocking the spirit of W3C coding recommendations; build to the weaknesses of Netscape 4; use JavaScript to write HTML, vitiating the separation of structure from content; use CSS merely to "spice up" your site, not transform it into sleek, modern efficiency.

The quality of project content was mixed. Holzschlag's 'Managing a Weekly Publication' was a delight to read for its description of the sources of the many compromises one must make with site code. Unfortunately, her project also began the litany of 1-pixel gifs to buttress the shaky edifice of old-fashioned nested tables.

Kuhlman's 'Creating a Complex Community Site' was a strong contribution, with clear instructions for the beginner in setting up an Apache server and using PHP.

Schmitt's projects were less valuable and an exercise in self-aggrandizement. Attend: 'Showcasing a Corporate (his own) Identity' which managed to show how to make a logo in Photoshop without ever really showing it in a lavishly illustrated book; and 'Designing a Great Personal (his own) Site.'

And yes, the book is extremely well illustrated. The organization is a bit confusing since the Table of Contents does not list chapters and each section is a numbered project but the example code files in the book's Web site are named by (non-existing) chapter. One can only guess. Each "chapter's" code must be downloaded separately and is composed almost entirely of code snippets, not whole pages --so you cannot see the code in action-- and these snippets have no listing numbers in the illustrations, so once again, you must open many files to find the code you want.

The authors are acutely aware of the current technology/style discussions and debates. They provide links to the sharpest, most relevant documents and sites. If you are just beginning, the lessons in those links will have you in the thick of it in no time!

I gave this book a 4 rating since it is far better than the average book on WWW site construction and HTML. You may decide I was too generous - or not.



 
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for today's designers seeking magic., October 18, 2001
By Tobias Horvath (Essen, Germany) - See all my reviews
The book XML, HTML, XHTML Magic by author Molly E. Holzschlag and contributing authors Martin L. De Vore, Steve Franklin, John Kuhlman, Christopher Schmitt and Jason Cranford Teague promises to deliver eleven examples of how to incorporate current markup languages in real-world projects.

Those projects range from managing news sites, weekly publications, community sites, wireless web applications and community sites to even personal home pages - always referring to the web designer who has to be somewhat familiar with at least HTML, some CSS and problems that serious designers cope with, like cross-platform compatibility.

Always trying to follow the guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the book succeeds in giving useful hints and tips that even the professional coder might appreciate.

Sitting on a plane back to Dusseldorf, I had enough time to review the eleven projects of the book. Most of the them I found extremely interesting to follow, while it was evident from the beginning that they represent the magic of mixing the different technologies and specifications existing today to get a better and reliable result in the final project. They are taken from real-life, are platform-balanced - it seems to me that half the contributors prefer the Macintosh platform while the other half uses Windows - and so they win a great amount of authenticity.

Every project starts with a short overview of what will happen in the chapter, followed by the technical specs and used technologies that the reader should be somewhat familiar with. Once again, this book is a real-life book for real-life designers. Dealing with hard-coded HTML and pure text editors when editing the code is not only a burden for the designer but more a way to control the results the best way possible - if this is what you think and most importantly if you already work that way, the book is for you, if you fully rely on WYSIWYG editors and think coding HTML by hand has become obsolete you should go elsewhere. That may be a harsh requirement that strikes out some possible readers of the book but in my eyes it is the only way to get a high-quality book like this.

A chapter ends with a More Magic section that gives you further things to explore if you found interest in the themes that were discussed. As of now I have used some of the ressources already and am satisfied.

The layout of the book is modern, easy to follow, planned and extremely awesome, concentrating on a b/w and orange color scheme with clear type, good source code listings as well as nice illustrations, quotes and images at the beginning of every chapter.

Finally, what you find in this book: 11 projects taken from real-life that should be considered examples to show what one is able to achieve in terms of mixing today's standards. A good impression of how to deal with problems that HTML, CSS, JavaScript as well as PHP and Perl bring up when put together. A good ressource for spicing up your own knowledge, confidence and work. And a bit of a lifestyle guide for the independent coder that seeks confidence in what he is doing. Magic.

What you will however not find in this book: A technical reference for each different markup language that is being talked about. A full reference of tags, attributes etc. that the specifications allow you to use. But to be honest, that never was the intention of Molly Holzschlag or her contributors writing this book.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, I do.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars Buy it used!
There is a reason you can purchase this book here for around ... For that price you can't go wrong but if you pay more than that you will have wasted your money. Read more
Published on January 1, 2003 by Billy R. Barton

4.0 out of 5 stars Starting a Project? Take a look here...
It took me about a week on and off to work my way through XML, HTML, XHTML magic and it was very easy going indeed. Read more
Published on November 12, 2001 by Dunstan Orchard

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