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Getting Started in a New Medium
The typical O'Reilly book has a clean but spare -- even spartan -- style, well-suited to its technically sophisticated content. Designing for the Web, heavily illustrated in full color, with an unconventional form factor, breaks the O'Reilly mold in a number of ways. In fact, the book makes me think of a flower child that wandered into a convention of Hewlett-Packard sales engineers -- it is warm, amiable, and relaxed, but occasionally expresses a certain amount of surprise at its surroundings.
The principal author, Jennifer Niederst, is a former book designer for O'Reilly with a great deal of hard-won experience in the Web trenches. She helped create O'Reilly's Global Network Navigator, an early commercial Web site later sold to America On-Line, and subsequently designed the highly-regarded Web Review published by Songline Studios. Niederst covers all the bases, but has an altogether different perspective on the Web than the average nebbish programmer-author.
The book starts out with a quick overview of basic HTML tags and the general structure of an HTML document. Discussions of the creation of Web graphics follow, including many useful tips and techniques related to resolution, transparency, palette optimization, and image maps. The step-by-step examples rely on the Macintosh version of Adobe Photoshop. The final section covers the most commonly used HTML tags in more detail, organized by functional group.
Designing for the Web is an eminently practical introductory book of just the right length and orientation for the would-be Webmeister. With the investment of only a pleasant hour or two, the novice will have acquired the critical mass of information that is needed to get off the ground, but will also be alerted to many key issues from the outset: graphics performance, browser dependencies, and cross-platform gamma differences, among others. The hefty 1000-page tomes of Webmaster arcana can be browsed later, as needed.-- Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books