Complete Idiots Guide Creating A Web Page And Blog 6e Paperback – Sep 6 2004
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Since you can so easily find a listing of book topics in the information Amazon provides, I'll just mention some of the things that particularly caught my attention in this book. One of those was the section on blogs. None of the other HTML books I've read have discussed the issue (probably because this is the most recent of them, put out in 2004). Not only does McFedries get into the how of blogging, but he also gets deeply into the social and historical details. There's plenty of information on formatting, programs, services, etc., but there's also great stuff in here about finding and building your audience, focusing on a topic or two, deciding on your posting frequency, writing interesting entries, getting along with other bloggers, and so on. I read this section with rapt attention.
Some CIG and For Dummies books make the mistake of providing what I call "perishable resources." That is, they tell you about a couple of specific hosting providers or whatever. I refer to these as perishable because by the time you read the book those companies have probably shut down, been bought, or changed enough that everything is different. For the most part McFedries doesn't make that mistake. Instead he tries to tell you how to find this sort of information on the web yourself, so you'll be able to figure out who is most currently a good choice.
There's a chapter in here on "the elements of web page style." Before I got to this chapter I was a little worried (this is where that intro line about the review score comes in). There are a lot of sites out there on the web that go crazy with wild fonts, bold and italics all over the place, frobbies that only work on one browser type or another, lots of huge images that take forever to load, horrid noises that play without asking first and scare your cats off of your lap (okay, I have some personal pet peeves here), and so on, and it seemed to me like all of McFedries' enthusiasm for the web tools at one's disposal could contribute to that. But then he wrote this wonderful chapter in which he explains things to help you make your web page appeal to visitors, and he covers a lot of these things in there.
I think this is a fantastic introduction to web site and blog creation--in particular the wide world of blogging, since there are so few other resources on that subject. I hope that McFedries continues to do revised versions of this book as the need arises, because this is a valuable resource.
One minor complaint is that it took me a LOT of extra time and phone calls to the web hosting company even once my HTML was all in place and my web page was ready to go. I had to coordinate for the domain name, web server, and ftp program to all be in sync with one another to actually get my page to show up on the net, and that is more difficult than it sounds for a neophyte. In the next edition, I would make that part a bit more comprehensive, perhaps better showing step-by-step how to get all those elements coordinated.
I would also maybe give provide suggestions on where I could find good beginner's resources for building common specific functions that require programming, such as message boards or info that comes up based on "drop- down" menu choices. I know that programming was outside the scope of the book, but it is very difficult for novices to figure out where to go next to implement simple programs, without wading through an endless sea of java text information sites geared towards experienced programmers.
All in all, I was VERY satisfied with the amount of useful, easy to understand info I was able to gain in a short time by reading this book.
I can't say much more than the other reviewers, but I will say this:
Having very basic knowlegde of HTML and scripting, and after reading the first couple of chapters, I was able to start setting up my "practice" page. It's kind of a rush seeing what you created in a web browser, pre-publish of course :), and I'm only on Chapter 5. McFedries book is very page-by-page, with good explanations of the what's, why's, and how's. I actually look forward to each new step in the creation process. I have a couple of other books, and they have mispelled words, improper grammer, etc., point being McFedries and his team pay attention to detail. I highly recommend this book to anyone that thinks coding is beyond their reach. (Guess I had more to say than I thought)