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Book Review: Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML and CSS by Ian Lloyd

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Trying to create a web site can be a pretty daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. When my son’s swim team asked me to do theirs, I was a bit intimidated. I was a application programmer and I had worked on some website stuff, but the web is a different beast. The questions were many: what tools do I need? how do I layout my pages? do I use tables? HTML tags to directly apply formatting?

One could use FrontPage or a similar product to automatically generate the web site, but that was never my style. I would have to go old-school. I wish I would have had Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way back then.

Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way is geared for the absolute beginner to web site design. However, you should be comfortable with a computer, you should use the web a lot, have seen a lot other sites, have a good grasp on what you want for your own site. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it is the language that generates web pages. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets and it is what is used to format those pages.

Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way is set up into eleven chapters and an appendix. Chapter 1, “Setting up Shop,” explains what tools you will need to get going. While you can buy tools to use, the author shows you how you can also get them for free.

Chapter 2, “Your First Web Pages,” will teach you what makes a web page. You will learn about XHTML — the latest version of HTML — and about the basic requirements for creating a properly formed web page.

Chapter 3, “Adding Some Style,” will introduce you to CSS. You will learn how to apply CSS to add color, change fonts, and generally improve the appearance of your page.

Chapter 4, “Shaping up with CSS,” builds on chapter three to teach you about border styles and more advanced page layouts. You will even learn how to position elements using CSS.

Chapter 5, “Picture this! Using Images on your Web Site,” teaches you all about image. You will learn about inline images, background images, as well as learning how to make images accessible for your blind surfers.

Chapter 6, “Tables: Tools for Organizing Data,” will show you when it is proper to use tables, and especially when they should not be used. You will learn how to use CSS to make your tables more visually appealing.

Chapter 7, “Forms: Interacting with your Audience,” will teach you about the proper use of forms to collect data from your user. Lloyd also shows how to use a free service to have data emailed to you!

Chapter 8, “Getting your Web Site Online,” is all about getting your site hosted, uploaded, and presenting it to the world. Here the pros and cons are examined to see what approach will be right for you.

Chapter 9, “Adding a Blog to your Web Site,” will show you how to do just that: create your own blog. You probably have an idea of what a blog is; a way to interact with other people. Whatever you think about this review, you can tell me in the comments. If you think I should have said more, or didn’t like something that I said, you can tell me. I can then turn around and respond. Neat stuff!

Chapter 10, “Pimp my Site: Cool Stuff you can Add for Free,” will have you spicing up your site with carefully executed cosmetic touches that won’t break the bank.

Chapter 11, “Where to Now? What you Can Learn Next,” will summarize the skills that you have learned as well as to provide a listing of sites that can take you to the next level.

The Appendix is an XHTML Reference guide that provides information on the elements that you are likely to use.

What I like about Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way is its quick and easy pacing, subtle humor, and straightforward manner. While this may be a beginners book, even the more seasoned of us learned, or perhaps I should say un-learned, quite a number of things along the way.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • http://philobiblon.co.uk Natalie Bennett

    Advance.net , which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States, and to Boston.com. Nice work!