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The book is well-structured, starting from the basics and explaining what you are doing in close to "ordinary" English.

Book Review: No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP

About five years ago, I sat down with a “Teach yourself HTML” book and a HTML editor, Hotdog, obtained from a CD on the front of a computer magazine, and wrote my first website. I had no idea what I was doing, but by trial and error (and a lot of help from friends) ended up with a site that worked, even if there was an awful lot of excess HTML floating around in it. Amazingly enough, that site worked pretty well until a few months ago, when I started to get complaints about its usability.

In the meantime I’d started a blog on Blogger, Philobiblon. By the same trial and error method I taught myself about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – although I only learnt that was what I was using a few months ago, when I started thinking about constructing a series of websites/blogs.

So, I thought, I should start again from the beginning, and acquired Thomas Myer’s No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP. Reading through it, I quickly concluded that if I was to teach myself XML and PHP from the ground up, this would be a good way to do it. The book is well-structured, starting from the basics and explaining what you are doing in as close to “ordinary” English as is feasible. It also, importantly, has a good index.

But, in the end I decided, I just don’t have the time to start at the beginning and teach myself the full range of XML skills. I’m never going to be a real website developer; I’m really a content person. So I’ll just pick it up by the hit and miss method I’ve been using so far – usually knowing almost as much as I need, and begging for help when that fails.

But the book will still come in handy. When I stumble across something I don’t understand in the code of my new WordPress site, My London Your London, this reference will be by my side.

I’ve just one small complaint to the publisher, Sitepoint: Could you make a little more effort with the cover? What looks like a very bad bit of clip art, coloured a sickly orange, doesn’t an attractive image make.

About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

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