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Tagging -- No Spraycan Required!
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) has been evolving rapidly over the last year, due mostly to the vicious battle for browser market-share (and, indirectly, for control of HTML itself) between Netscape and Microsoft. The HTML standards effort has become fragmented, and the browsers in popular use on the Net vary widely in their capabilities and the set of HTML features supported. Moreover, the "user-friendly" WYSIWYG editors for HTML, such as PageMill and HotMetal, have all failed to keep pace with the HTML tags supported by the popular browsers.
You can choose to look at this situation as a messy, disgusting anarchy or a beautiful example of the free market system in action and survival of the fittest. Either way, the result is that Webmasters everywhere cannot yet rely on specialized HTML editors and are still designing -- or at minimum, polishing -- the HTML source code for their Web pages by direct manual entry of HTML tags. Consequently, every Webmaster needs a trustworthy reference to the extant HTML tags, the various levels of HTML standards or standards-in-waiting, and the subsets of HTML tags supported by the dominant Web browsers.
Several fine reference books on HTML are already on the market, such as the HTML Manual of Style by Larry Aronson (Ziff Davis Press) and HTML Sourcebook by Ian S. Graham (Wiley). But in my own experience, all of them are too beginner-oriented, or too UNIX-specific, or try to cover too broad a territory to serve as a day-in, day-out keyboard-side HTML coding reference for the busy Webmaster. None of those other books, in spite of their many virtues, can compete in clarity, focus, and authoritativeness with the newly released book HTML, The Definitive Guide from the technical publisher par excellence, O'Reilly and Associates.
There is virtually no mainstream HTML tag or technique that you will not find concisely explained in this book. Nicely organized chapters on forms, frames, tables, client-pull and server-push documents, and other advanced concepts are included. Browser-specific tags are explicitly designated throughout. The appendices contain a HTML tag quick reference, HTML grammar (BNF), the HTML DTD, and handy lists of character entities and color names. There is also a nifty pull-out HTML reference card that you can put under your keyboard for emergencies.
If your job involves the design, creation, or maintenance of a World-Wide-Web server, then HTML, The Definitive Guide is one of the very few books among the flood that you can't afford to be without. For my own part, I bought two copies -- one for home and one for the office!--Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books