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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Websites
About the Author
Robin Nixon has worked with and written about computers since the early 1980s (his first computer was a Tandy TRS 80 Model 1 with a massive 4KB of RAM!). One of the web sites he developed presented the world's first radio station licensed by the music copyright holders. In order to enable people to continue to surf while listening, Robin also developed the first known pop-up windows. He has also worked full time for one of Britain's main IT magazine publishers, where he held several roles including editorial, promotions, and cover disc editing.
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The second major part of the book moves from the web programming side of things to consider CSS and HTML5. Aspiring web designers should be aware that– despite the book’s occasional claims to be for those who want to learn how to “style and lay out” web pages (p. xxii)– this is not the book from which to learn the nuances of web design with CSS and HTML5. The book does not cover the new semantic elements in HTML5 (though an explanation for this is given on p. 601), nor does it cover all of web design’s intricacies (divs, spans, floats). The book’s chapters on CSS could serve as a helpful primer or refresher for the web programmer who needs to do some light web design work, though. The coverage of CSS3 and HTML5 is good; Nixon discusses many of the ways that HTML5 and CSS3 are changing (and often simplifying) the way to do things on the web, from streamlining layout and display to displaying audio and video, while still explaining how to support older browsers.
This may not be the final word on web programming– given how much things are in transition at the moment, it is hard to know how any single book could be– but as an introduction and a practical set of tools, this book is recommended.
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from O'Reilly as a part of their Reader Review program.)
If you wish to learn how to go beyond just static HTML websites and create websites that are more interactive then this is one of the best books to start with. I obtained this book to learn some background before I dived deep into Wordpress development and i think I made the right decision. You would not make a mistake by buying this book, it is worth it.
More on the book itself, it is worth your money to an extend it worth your every penny: each chapter is verged so it takes you right from a printed book page to real-life example implementations. The book is very well structured, it has many (26), but succinct chapters that end with questions that help you memorize what you learned (this is my preferred way of studying), the book has the answers in the appendix. If you want to hear me whining, then may be I should say that the book author sticks to using the Zend Framework, no others covered, thus even though it is a very popular and mature development platform and has all the bells and whistles you may need to run a commercial grade website you may need to figure out yourself how you would develop and deploy using other Frameworks your company uses. Also the book does not cover Unit Testing.
What I liked: the Ajax section and HTML5 are my favourites. Also tasteful graphics, website examples, the part on doing the validation was both very useful and explanatory. The chapter on ‘Practical PHP’ is of much help.
Advice: HTML5 is a little hard, and at times a tad unusual, also not functionality of HTML5 is implemented by every browser in full (notably the IE family of browsers), so plan your features coding in advance.
In the terms of closing I would like to tell that the web development after reading this book does not look so intimidating any more. A big thank you to Robin!
My verdict – 5 out of 5 without doubt.
Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book as part of the O’Reilly Blogger Reviewer Program in exchange for a review publication.
Regardless of what book you choose, PHP is a wonderful language to learn. Web programming used to bore me because HTML didn't "do" anything. Learning PHP allows you to actually make a useful and dynamic website, and HTML5 has some pretty awesome new features as well. It is an exciting time to be a programmer or a web designer.
But I'll go ahead and review what I have: This is a good overview of a wide range of technologies used for creating dynamic websites.
1. As with many books that try to cover a range of technologies in a single volume, the coverage of each is less than one might like
2. To my mind, this book is confused about its intended audience. There's some "learning how to program" explanations, such as what an array is, but I don't think this is the right place to start learning programming. Everything is explained far too quickly for a beginner to have a reasonable chance to catch on. (The preface to the book says that the intended audience includes "graphic designers who are already creating static websites", but I recommend that you get some programming experience before you launch into this book.)
3. Like any web technologies book, the underlying technologies continue to shift. This intersects with the caveat about being a total beginner, because some of the examples will need tweaking to work, and that's hard to work with when you're a beginner.
1. There is a website where you can download supplemental material -- example code and errata. (lpmj dot net)
I think this is a really good book for people who know some stuff already to learn more stuff. It's nicely structured and walks you through examples and gotchas. But again, I don't think it will work well for (most) people who are not comfortable programming already.
Four stars for the book itself, which is a good overview for the right people, but downgraded to three stars because you should not buy this edition.
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