Top positive review
Excellent Instruction for Those Just Starting
on July 19, 2004
"The Non-Designer's Web Book, 2nd Edition" is perfect for those of you who want to build your own site but don't want to use one of the canned templates so many ISP's offer.
Ms. Williams advice is, as usual, right on target and very easy to understand. Her humor is understated and well placed, encouraging the reader to continue in the project at hand. The book has plenty of color illustrations and screen shots, and is peppered with great advice on creating graphics, getting your site listed, basic design principles, and even a few lessons on HTML coding, if you like.
Each chapter concludes with a short quiz to help cement the principles that were just taught, and her coverage (despite what some people have written) of the basics is just what is needed for those of you who have skipped over an idea or two and wonder just what the heck something such as the difference between search engines and directories are.
Starting on page 50 is a Ms. Williams takes you through setting up a page and the associated site, step by step, in a concise, easy to understand way. It covers such things as typing and formatting text, changing colors, creating links and adding an email link, adding graphics, setting up a table, explaining what frames are and how to use them, and finally, adding some HTML code, if you want. These topics are the very basics of web construction, and the author expounds on them in later chapters, but it's especially nice that she distilled them into a short, easy to read section (that is extremely well illustrated) so you don't have to hunt through the rest of the pages later.
Some people have taken exception to the Netscape emphasis. They fail to realize that when the book was written Netscape was still a big player, and that IE's implementation of standards left a lot to be desired. Also, someone has stated that there are big errors throughout the book, but I haven't found any, and the example the reviewer gave (directions to use a page-sized graphic as a background) doesn't exist. In fact, Ms. Williams stresses that's just want you DON'T want to do.
There is a slight Mac-bias, but it is slight, with plenty of screen shots of Windows software along with the appropriate instruction. Given that the design industry is predominately centered on the Mac platform, this preference is easily understood.
All in all, this is one of the best books out for learning the basics of setting up your web site, as the title implies. You won't go wrong with Robin William's books, and this is just one example of why: clear writing, excellent advice, easy to follow instruction.