Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Magically covers real-world Web design projects
, October 10, 2001
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
For every plus, a minus
-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.
, October 10, 2001
-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 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:
Good for today's designers seeking magic.
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.
, October 18, 2001
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.
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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