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Overview

  • This value-priced guide by one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web delivers 250 solutions, workarounds, tips, and annoyance-busters that Web designers won't find anywhere else
  • Offers 500 pages of insider techniques to improve workflow and efficiency, save development time and money, and increase search engine rankings and site traffic, whether designers want to enhance an existing Web site or build a state-of-the-art site from scratch
  • Covers topics such as HTML, XHTML, CSS, graphics and multimedia, cell phone and PDA accessibility, content development, tools, usability, information architecture, globalization, and site redesign
  • Molly Holzschlag is a steering committee member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) and spokesperson for the World Organization of Webmasters, as well as a frequent lecturer at industry conferences and the author of twenty-five previous books
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Think you know all there is to know about HTML? Molly Holzschlag’s new 250 HTML and Web Design Secrets may pleasantly surprise you.

Here are tips for everything remotely related to HTML. How to open external links in a new window using XHTML (Strict or 1.1), which don’t support target. JavaScript code to keep your site fresh by randomizing images and text. Freeware that strips HTML formatting better than your editor can. When to use linked vs. embedded vs. inline styles. Even how to write better web copy (you probably know about chunking, but have you thought about how you organize headings?).

From usability to accessibility, search engine positioning to site redesign, Molly’s ideas will help you get the job done faster, easier, better. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764568459
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Series: Secrets Series , #156
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

In the world of Web design and development, Molly E. Holzschlag is one of the most vibrant and influential people around. With over 30 Web development book titles to her credit, Molly is also a noted columnist, speaker, and educator.
As a Steering Committee Member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP), Molly works along with a group of other dedicated Web developers and designers to promote open standards for the Web. She serves as an advisor and spokeswoman for the World Organization of Webmasters. Molly speaks regularly at conferences in addition tot teaching and developing curriculum for a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Phoenix, New School University, and Pima Community College.
Many recognize Molly from her Column “Integrated Design.” Which appeared in the much-missed Web Techniques Magazine for three years, and from sister publication Webreview.com, where Molly served as Executive Editor for a year during the best of the San Francisco dot.com era. Molly has been honored as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web. For more information about Molly, drop by at www.molly.com/

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

Part I: Tools, Planning, and Content.

Chapter 1: Setting up a Master Toolbox.

Chapter 2: Managing Your Web Project.

Chapter 3: Architecting Your Information.

Chapter 4: Making Sites Usable and Persuasive.

Chapter 5: Creating and Managing Fantastic Content.

Part II: HTML, XHTML, CSS, and Accessibility.

Chapter 6: Crafting Pages with HTML.

Chapter 7: Moving Ahead with XHTML.

Chapter 8: Style Tips for Type and Design.

Chapter 9: Laying Out Pages with CSS.

Chapter 10: Adding Accessibility Features.

Part III: Designing Sites for Long-Term Success.

Chapter 11: Sophisticated Visual Design.

Chapter 12: Spicing It Up with Dynamic Content .

Chapter 13: Keeping Sites Fresh and Engaging.

Chapter 14: Improving Site Ranking and Managing.

Chapter 15: Dealing with Growth and Redesigns.

Part IV: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Demystifying Service Provision.

Appendix B: Overview of Application and Database Technology.

Appendix C: Helpful Reading, Web Sites, and Resources.

Index.

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First Chapter

250 HTML and Web Design Secrets


By Molly E. Holzschlag

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-6845-0


Chapter One

Setting up a Master Toolbox

Secrets in This Chapter

#1: Web Browsers 5 #2: Choosing a Code Editor 8 #3: File Management with FTP 11 #4: Telnet and SSH 12 #5: Validation Tools 14 #6: PNH Toolbar 16 #7: Sidebar Reference Panels 17 #8: Bitmap Image Programs 17 #9: Vector Image Programs 21 #10: Web Animation Utilities 22 #11: Screen Capture Utilities 24 #12: Rename Utilities 25 #13: Tag Strippers 26 #14: HTML Tidy 26 #15: Compression Utilities 27 #16: Audio and Video Players 29 #17: Plug-Ins 29 #18: SVG and SMIL Support 30 #19: Software for Security and Safety 30 #20: Collaborative Communication Software 32

Why start a book on Web design secrets with tools? Shouldn't that be something left for an appendix, perhaps? After all, you want to get right down to the nitty-gritty, and I appreciate that.

As any working Web designer knows, the master designer really needs very few tools at hand to create the ultimate Web design toolbox. A great designer can make do with a text editor, a Web browser, an imaging software program, and an FTP client.

So why all the fuss?

Well, for one thing, in today's busy, mobile world, most Web designers' work requires a range of specialty tools to help make life easier.

This chapter comes first because I have an agenda. My goal is to celebrate the ideologies of the Web itself: open standards, cross-platform interoperability, accessibility, and portability.

So while you'll find plenty of familiar commercial tools in this chapter, what you'll also find is a range of alternatives that are designed under open source licenses and that are available across platforms.

In today's economic environment, many professional programs can cost significant money, making a comprehensive toolbox seem at first glance to be cost-prohibitive. Yet the Web is filled with alternative software that is either distributed under GNU open source licensing, as freeware, or as low-cost shareware. While typically the open source tools were in use on UNIX and related open source platforms such as the many variants of Linux, there have been many recent ports to Windows and Mac OS X. As a result, a world of free or very low-cost tools has opened up to the Web designer. This chapter points you to those resources wherever available.

note GNU licensing refers to licenses distributed under the GNU project, which first emerged as an alternative to UNIX systems, resulting in the now very popular Linux program, and related operating systems. The GNU project is part of the Free Software Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and promote free software. More information on this important alternative form of software distribution can be found at gnu.org/.

The tools in this chapter help you to do the following:

* Author markup and CSS with ease

* Create great Web graphics

* Validate pages

* Test sites in a range of Web browsers

* Draw in vector-based environments

* Use bitmap imaging tools for Web graphic production

* Design animations

* Use plug-ins for video and audio

* Convert and clean up documents

* Compress documents

While this chapter won't tell you how to use these tools, it will tell you which utilities you might want to consider adding to your toolbox; give guidance as to which tools are considered most useful and sophisticated, and provide resources as to where you can find the tools in question. You're sure to find something new and helpful to add to your kit.

Secret #1: Web Browsers

AOL has closed Netscape's doors, and Microsoft has announced that no more standalone Internet Explorer (IE) versions will be produced and is waiting instead for the Longhorn Operating System, which includes an integrated browser. New browsers have been entering the market with somewhat daunting regularity-Apple Safari has fast become popular among many Mac users, and Mozilla Firefox is attracting users who want a lean but sophisticated Web browser. Opera continues to improve quietly, and Mozilla continues to develop its capabilities, now under the auspices of a nonprofit agency, The Mozilla Foundation, whose goal is to "preserve choice and innovation" on the Internet.

Browsers are clearly political. It's very difficult to write about Web browsers at this time because they are in such a state of flux, and historically have been in a state of flux.

Web browsers have been a number one concern for designers. The Web browser is the primary piece of software used by the designer and the site visitor to access Web pages. As a result, the ways in which browsers interpret (or don't interpret) the languages and techniques we use to design our pages can cause significant frustration for both the designers and site visitors.

What can you do to navigate these difficult waters? The secret boils down to having a twofold approach.

* Select the browser you want to use for development

* Have a range of browsers to emulate your client's needs

Fortunately, there are ways of determining which browsers you'll want to have for testing. One way is from general statistics, which show you that at this time, IE 6.0 is considered to be the most used browser on earth (see Figure 1-1).

You can also look at your own server logs, which tell you the browsers visiting the sites in question (see Figure 1-2).

While you should always use statistics as a determining factor in how you will design and test a given site, you will want some specific browser in your toolbox no matter what (refer to Table 1-1). Ideally, you'll also have more than one platform to work on-at the very least a version of Windows and Macintosh operating systems. However, this is not entirely necessary, and I provide some helpful tips here if you don't have the luxury of more than one available testing machine.

note You can now run more than one version of IE on a given machine. This was only recently made public when a bug was found in the developer upgrade to IE 6.0. See skyzyx.com/archives/000094.php for more information. For a pay-per-view testing service, see browsercam.com/, which allows you to see your work on a variety of browsers and platforms you might not have for a reasonable fee. You can see how your site looks in the current version of Safari at danvine.com/icapture/, and to see how your site will look in the Konqueror browser, visit kcapture .eadz.co.nz/.

My personal favorite browser in which to develop sites is Mozilla (see Figure 1-3). The reason is because there are a number of tools both within it and available for it so it becomes an ideal working environment (you can get similar functionality with Netscape 7.0 and Mozilla Firefox). What's more, it's available for every conceivable platform, is open source, and constantly improving.

Secret #2: Choosing a Code Editor

There are three primary categories of editors you can use to write HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, and JavaScript (as well as any other ASCII-based languages).

* ASCII text editors. These editors have very few features beyond word-wrap and save, but if you know your code, they can be excellent for quick fixes or even full jobs.

* Commercial code editors. These editors are ASCII editors with power tools, such as wizards, to help you add images. They are my personal favorite for most of the work I do with HTML, XHTML, and CSS.

* Commercial visual editing packages. These are full-service Web design software applications that include some means for the designer to work visually without worrying about the code being generated.

Table 1-2 shows some of the primary products within each category type along with platform and features.

So how do you make the best choice? The secret is to have at least one of each type available. You'll find yourself using a combination of tools for most jobs.

My dream team editing toolboxes are as follows.

For Windows:

* Notepad (see Figure 1-4)

* Homesite (see Figure 1-5)

* Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 (see Figure 1-6)

For Macintosh:

* SimpleText (or TextEdit on OS X)

* BBEdit

* Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004

However, just because these are my favorite combinations doesn't mean they'll be yours. The best thing you can do is download the free trials and work with a range of tools before making any decisions.

tip

There are many more editors than I've named here. You can do broader-range searches at your favorite search engine to ensure that you'll find those editors most appropriate to your needs.

Secret #3: File Management with FTP

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is one of a variety of protocols that run on the Internet. An FTP client allows you to transfer any kind of file from a local computer to a remote server, and depending upon the capabilities of the client you're using, perform important functions such as changing file permissions.

There are many FTP clients-even Web browsers and mechanisms within OS can act as FTP clients. But for full features, most folks turn to a handful of respected and flexible FTP software. Table 1-3 provides details.

Unlike browsers or code editors, you only need one FTP client on hand (see Figure 1-7).

Many HTML and visual editors have FTP features built right in. However, even with those features, because most Web designers work using a variety of tools, having a standalone FTP client in your toolbox is a definite plus.

Secret #4: Telnet and SSH

Like FTP, Telnet is an Internet protocol. Its function is to allow you to have line-based entry to a remote server so that you can perform remote functions from your local machine with ease. Telnet is available natively on most operating systems. For example, if you select Start [right arrow] Run and type telnet into the textbox in Windows, you'll get a Telnet console. Telnet clients provide additional features that can be very useful too, so it's often good to have at least one on hand.

Secure Shell (SSH) is a form of Telnet that includes increased security features. Nowadays, most well-run Web servers will prefer you to use Telnet with SSH enabled. Many standalone Telnet clients now integrate SSH into their feature lists, and many operating systems, including Mac OS X and Windows 95, 98, 2000, and XP, have some form of Telnet built into the system.

Table 1-4 describes the top three Telnet/SSH clients and related features.

You'll only need one Telnet/SSH client in your toolbox, so take advantage of what's either built in to your operating system or to one of these excellent freeware utilities. Figure 1-8 shows me using PuTTy to log in to a remote Web server and perform tasks.

Secret #5: Validation Tools

Validating markup, CSS, and accessibility is becoming more and more important for professional Web designers. A variety of online validators can be helpful, but there are also standalone and add-in products for existing programs. Table 1-5 describes some of the popular validation tools available to you.

Figure 1-9 shows a page being validated by the CSE HTML Pro standalone validator.

Of course, as with other tools mentioned in this chapter, these are popular and comprehensive tools. A range of additional tools perform these or similar processes; they are available for multiple platforms and offered as freeware, shareware, and commercial licensing. Again, the secret is to find the best validation services for your needs and stick to them.

caution

Accessibility validation is an especially difficult issue because it's recommended that you use multiple validators. In addition, accessibility validators don't measure visual issues, so you have to use them just as you would a grammar checking utility-rely on a balance of the validator feedback and your own knowledge. Markup and CSS validators are more specific because they test against the specifications for the defined languages in question.

Secret #6: PNH Toolbar

Till this point, you've read about tools that are broad in scope. The PNH toolbar is a very specific utility that I've found absolutely invaluable as part of my Web design toolbox.

The PNH toolbar is completely free, available across platforms, and can be installed in Netscape 7.0+, Mozilla 1.0+, and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers instantly. Once installed, you can use its reference links and fantastic utilities while you're developing pages.

Some of the PNH toolbar features include the following:

* Instant access to W3C reference materials

* Page testing where any open document can be run through HTML, CSS, Accessibility, and other validation tools in a background tab

* Allows you to disable styles on a given page, add an external style sheet to any page open within the browser, outline block elements, outline replaced elements, outline table cells, turn off images, and resize your browser window to custom as well as conventional sizes

* View form and cookie details

* View source

* Access additional Mozilla and related tools instantly

Figure 1-10 shows me turning on the table cells of a table-based page.

note

Download the PNH toolbar from placenamehere.com/ pnhtoolbar/.

Secret #7: Sidebar Reference Panels

Netscape 7 and Mozilla contain a sidebar panel (F9). This panel has a range of utilities, such as search, with which the browsers ship, but there are also additional sidebar panels that individuals have created. Some of these panels are extremely valuable for Web designers to have as they offer immediate, in-browser access to aspects of design.

Continues...


Excerpted from 250 HTML and Web Design Secrets by Molly E. Holzschlag Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2004

    easier long term maintenance

    If you have already used HTML to make some web pages, then this book might be of value. That is, if you plan on adding more pages or perhaps you want to maintain the website hosting these pages? The book talks about how to handle this next level of complexity. The author does not bog you down in the fine details of HTML syntax. Instead, she gives many suggestions ['secrets'] on making a logical arrangement of content. Like giving simple, intuitive names to the directory hierarchy and files. So that users can traverse your website easily. Typically, most of the suggestions are of this style. The payoff is often easier long term maintenance. Like her ideas on effectively using CSS and XHTML. Again, like with HTML itself, you need some minimal prior acquaintance with these packages, to take advantage of this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2004

    Something for EVERYone, here!

    This is really a comprehensive book. Whether you have been building web sites for ten years or just started this weekend, you'll learn something, here. Cool tools, how to keep everything straight, Cascading Style Sheets, XHTML, design considerations, accessibility, search engine optimization and even dynamic content. It's all easy to read, easy to understand and most importantly, easy to implement on your own pages right away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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