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Web Design in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) [Paperback]

Jennifer Niederst
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 3, 2006 0596009879 978-0596009878 3

Are you still designing web sites like it's 1999? If so, you're in for a surprise. Since the last edition of this book appeared five years ago, there has been a major climate change with regard to web standards. Designers are no longer using (X)HTML as a design tool, but as a means of defining the meaning and structure of content. Cascading Style Sheets are no longer just something interesting to tinker with, but rather a reliable method for handling all matters of presentation, from fonts and colors to the layout of the entire page. In fact, following the standards is now a mandate of professional web design.

Our popular reference, Web Design in a Nutshell, is one of the first books to capture this new web landscape with an edition that's been completely rewritten and expanded to reflect the state of the art. In addition to being an authoritative reference for (X)HTML and Cascading Style Sheets, this book also provides an overview of the unique requirements of designing for the Web and gets to the nitty-gritty of JavaScript and DOM Scripting, web graphics optimization, and multimedia production. It is an indispensable tool for web designers and developers of all levels.

The third edition covers these contemporary web design topics:

  • Structural layer: HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 (9 chapters), including an alphabetical reference of all elements, attributes and character entities
  • Presentation layer: Ten all-new chapters on Cascading Style Sheets, Level 2.1, including an alphabetical reference of all properties and values.
  • Behavior layer: JavaScript and scripting with the Document Object Model (DOM)
  • Web environment: New web standards, browsers, display devices, accessibility, and internationalization
  • Web graphics optimization: Producing lean and mean GIF, JPEG, PNG, and animated GIFs
  • Multimedia: Web audio, video, Flash, and PDF

Organized so that readers can find answers quickly, Web Design in a Nutshell, Third Edition helps experienced designers come up to speed quickly on standards-based web design, and serves as a quick reference for those already familiar with the new standards and technology.

There are many books for web designers, but none that address such a wide variety of topics. Find out why nearly half a million buyers have made this the most popular web design book available.


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Web Design in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) + Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennifer Niederst Robbins was one of the first designers for the Web. As the designer of O'Reilly's Global Network Navigator (GNN), the first commercial web site, she has been designing for the Web since 1993. Since then, she has worked as the creative director of Songline Studios (a former subsidiary of O'Reilly) and as a freelance designer and consultant since 1996. She is the author of the bestselling "Web Design in a Nutshell" and "Learning Web Design (O'Reilly), and she has taught web design at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and Johnson and Wales University in Providence. She has spoken at major design and Internet events including SXSW Interactive, Seybold Seminars, the GRAFILL conference (Geilo, Norway), and one of the first W3C International Expos. In addition to designing, Jennifer enjoys cooking, travel, indie-rock, and making stuff. She maintains her own professional web site at http://www.littlechair.com as well.


Product Details

  • Series: In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)
  • Paperback: 826 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (March 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596009879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596009878
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Niederst Robbins got started designing for the Web in 1993 as the graphic designer for Global Network Navigator (GNN), the first commercial website published by O'Reilly. She has been writing books about web design since 1995, including Learning Web Design, Web Design in a Nutshell, and the HTML5 Pocket Reference. Jennifer has spoken at many conferences and has taught beginning web design at Massachusetts College of Art and Johnson & Wales University. She now uses her web technology know-how in the design and development of mobile apps and other digital products at O'Reilly Media.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
113 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Least Weasel September 25, 2001
Format:Paperback
When a book is as good as this one, later editions can't improve it; they can only update it.
That's what this one does. The second edition of Jennifer Niederst's comprehensive reference on web design now takes account of HTML 4.01; the stuff on browsers takes account of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape 6.
And what else is there to say? Just like the first edition (but with a handful of additional topics and updates to the existing ones), this volume provides a thorough "desktop quick reference" on the entire spectrum of web design -- a general introduction to and overview of the Web itself; authoring using HTML, cascading style sheets, and server side includes; graphics (GIF, JPEG, and PNG formats, colors, and animation); multimedia (audio, video, Flash, Shockwave, and introductory Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language); and advanced topics like JavaScript, DHTML, XML, XHTML, WAP, and WML. The appendices still provide easily-thumbable tables of HTML elements, attributes, tags nobody officially likes anymore, proprietary (i.e., browser-specific) tags, a chart showing which browsers support which CSS features, and all the special characters you can use in HTML (you know, &#these; &#things;).
And you probably also already know who Jen Niederst is; if not, go read my review of her book _Learning Web Design_, which you should buy first anyway if you're new to the subject. Anyway, she's a terrific writer with intimate knowledge of all the little details you need to know in order to do web design effectively; guides just don't come any better.
You know all of this already if you have the first edition.
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book takes novice to intermediate designers to the next level and is also useful as a desktop quick reference. Many buy such books and end up never opening them or maybe a few times before it's outdated. I admit I'm one of those people, but not when it comes to the weasel (picture on the cover) book. This is the book the professor assigned for one of my first Web design classes and it is responsible for my learning tables, CSS, and knowing when to make a graphics file .gif or .jpg.

It's the most well worn Web design book I have in my collection and the only HTML book I ever bought. Thankfully, there is little that's changed in the format of the book because it wasn't broken. Robbins takes the appropriate steps to update it and expand the sections that are more relevant today.

Expect an entire orchestra of instruments relevant to Web design, along with the specific details and tricks you should know. It may seem a bit much that Niederst covers HTML, CSS, SSI, graphics, multimedia, JavaScript, DHTML, XML, XHTML, WAP, and WML. However, she appropriately magnifies essential things while the advanced or "you may want to explore" topics are touched upon to give an idea of how it works with suggestions for further reading

The book starts off by addressing the biggest challenge of designing a site that looks good in every browser and version. "Designing for a Variety of Browsers" has a two-page chart of various browsers and versions for the Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX environments, showing what each supports and doesn't support.

The next chapter covers another source of frustration for designers, "Designing for a Variety of Displays.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book focuses on frontend matters of web design and development: markup, style sheets, image production, multimedia, and so on. Ironically, despite its title, there is little in the way of "design" advice, per se. Rather, it strives to be a thorough reference for the technical details and requirements faced in day-to-day work designing and developing web content. Although it is a good introduction to all subjects covered, if you really want to dig into the details of any particular technology, you will probably need other reference books. As far as "big picture" instruction, though, I highly recommend it. I review the book further in the context of its table of contents. The book is divided into six parts plus appendixes, each covering a general subject area.

Part I: The Web Environment

Chapter 1, Web Standards, describes the current approach to web design and sets the stage for the entire book. It is essential reading. Chapters on designing for varying browsers and displays provide useful overviews of the unique challenges web developers face. Chapter 5, Accessibility, and Chapter 6, Internationalization, both serve as introductions to the ways web content may be created to reach all users, regardless of ability, browsing device, or language. Chapter 4, A Beginner's Guide to the Server, is a primer on basic server functions, system commands, uploading files, and file types.

Part II: The Structural Layer: XML and (X)HTML

This part of the book is about document markup, commonly referred to as the structural layer because it provides the foundation upon which presentation (styles) and behaviors (scripting) are applied. Chapter 7, Introduction to XML, covers critical concepts that guide the way (X)HTML is handled in contemporary web design.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Me gusta mucho el formato y la reputación de la editorial.
Having a guide of this size on hand, it is very useful for quick reference and consultation in the office. Its content seems appropriate and well treated the subject matter. Read more
Published 17 days ago by PABLO ZURITA CACERES
3.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous resource when updated
The second and third editions of this book were fantastic resources and I have owned multiple copies of each. Read more
Published 4 months ago by 7h0m
5.0 out of 5 stars Prefect desktop reference
It's a wonderful desktop reference. I would recommend it if it weren't for the fact that at this point with html5 and css3, it's getting a bit outdated. Read more
Published 19 months ago by J. Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to web technology, good design advice, but dated
I am a beginner / intermediate web developer and am reading much of this book for a web development class in early 2012. Read more
Published on January 2, 2012 by gregr
5.0 out of 5 stars Web Design in a Nutshell
This is a great desk reference book! While it is a challenging book to read, I know it will come in super handy when I need to find the answer to a specific technical question!
Published on October 5, 2009 by Tari Fullerton
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books around
the author knows the subject well, and she writes well. i found myself reading the book for hours, and learning new things in a nice and organized way. Read more
Published on May 29, 2009 by Epsilon Delta
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Textbook
Reached me in time (Amazon Prime) in excellent condition. This book is perfect for all those who are beginners in Web Designing. Five stars. No Fault!
Published on February 28, 2009 by Az
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Reference Book
I'm not sure I'd want to learn from scratch with this book but there is a HUGE amount of information here. It is very dense but well written.
Published on December 22, 2008 by J. C. Luce
4.0 out of 5 stars A Generally Good Reference Book
Worthy of the O'Reilly name, this was a good book that covered many interesting topics. It's contains some good information about web concepts that are of valuable use to... Read more
Published on October 20, 2008 by Brian R. Jewell
5.0 out of 5 stars Web Design in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference
This comprehensive reference book covers every topic a web designer could need in 36 chapters. Numerous code examples and figures showing the end result make it easy to find and... Read more
Published on February 12, 2008 by L. H. Zotis
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