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by Molly E. Holzschlag

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Product Details
  • Paperback: 240 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.45 x 9.98 x 7.98
  • Publisher: New Riders Press; 1st edition (September 2001)
  • ISBN: 0735711399
  • Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars Based on 5 reviews.
  • Sales Rank in Books: #250,406
    (Publishers and authors: improve your sales)

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Editorial Reviews
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,

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.

Book Description

The opening section XML/XHTML/HTML Magic is a crash course on the skills readers should have in order to attempt the projects in this book. Subsequent chapters instruct readers on how to use the markup languages to create a variety of common web sites. Within the context of each site construction project, similar subheadings are used to standardize the coverage of HTML, XML, and XHTML.

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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

2 out of 5 stars Buy it used!, January 1, 2003

Reviewer:   W R Barton (Parksley, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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. If you are new at web design and need a basic understanding of css xml and xhtml it provides that but you could have found that one the web for free.
When I purchase Magic Books I want projects that after I complete I can use. I didn't find them here. This is basic, basic, basic and it doesn't come with a cd.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

4 out of 5 stars Starting a Project? Take a look here..., November 12, 2001

Reviewer:   Dunstan Orchard (London, England) - See all my reviews
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.

Physically the book is an excellent size and shape, it lies open on the desk without the need for mobile phones and coffee cups to keep it from flapping shut and the layout and colour scheme make for relaxed reading and easy scanning.

The books starts with a chapter on mark-up; HTML, XHTML, XML and CSS. I've read quite a few mark-up books by now and the idea of yet another intro to these disciplines made me grit my teeth a bit, but in actual fact this one is very good - simple, clear and accompanied by a generous amount of code examples.

As with all the chapters this finishes with a section entitled 'More Magic' which lays out tips, guidelines and often further reading for those interested. These sections have some great links to explore.

The book then moves on to discuss the 11 real-world projects which make up the bulk of the content. Each gives: a Project Snapshot outlining the problem; Technical Specs which tell you the mark-up and skills you will be using; Structuring the Site which gives advice on how to lay out the project; and finally the code work itself.

As others have noticed here, it's nice to see Molly and Co pushing W3C standards-compliant work, the more the better. On the other hand it's also nice to see that they too have to break the rules occasionally to achieve a goal. There I was thinking it was just me :o)

The sites the various authors create in the book are visually pretty basic, but they are functional and seem to be excellent starting off points for a project, saving the reader hours and hours trawling around the web trying to find inspiration or coding examples to copy.

The areas I found most useful were the CSS and JavaScript tips - I found quite a few examples of code I'd not seen before but will certainly use in future.
The 'XML for the Wireless Web' project was also something new to me and looked very interesting (if not a bit too complicated to just dabble in).

Also provided is an Index of Techniques, which list (by discipline) the techniques used in the book. This is very useful when referring back to the book with a specific task in mind such as 'Creating Printer-Friendly Pages with CSS'.

One grumble though, which I think others have also noted, is to do with the web site that accompanies the book. There was some initial confusion as to how the files (organised by Chapter) related to the book (organised by Project). In the end I worked out Chapter 1 equates to the Introduction, Chapter 2 to Project 1 and so on. A small thing but confusing at the time when you're keen to push ahead. I raised this issue with Molly and she agreed that the support web site could be altered to make it a bit clearer. This should happen soon :o)

Other weak points were the occasional project which seemed to combine very simplistic work (such as basic work with Frames) and flashes of more advanced JavaScript. 'Showcasing a Corporate Identity' by Christopher Schmitt is one such chapter and I couldn't work out who they were aimed at. Still, this is a book for a wide range of abilities so I guess everyone will find some things too easy and some a challenge.

To sum up, this is a jolly good book covering a wide range of topics. If you wanted to complete only one of the tasks described within then you'd be better off buying a more topic-specific book, but as a book to have in your library to provide a starting point for a range of projects I think it's a worthwhile buy, especially for the less experienced.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

5 out of 5 stars Good for today's designers seeking magic., October 18, 2001

Reviewer:   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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