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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable walk through the essential steps in web site creation., June 28, 2006
This review is from: Creating Web Sites: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
Title: Creating Your Own Websites

Author: Matthew MacDonald

Publisher: Pogue Press/O'Reilly

ISBN: 0-596-00842-2

Pages: 535 pages

Reviewer: Philip High

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm sure we all have experienced the frustrating incompleteness and illogic of many software manuals. This book is part of an impressive series billed as: "The book that should have been in the box" put out by Pogue Press. It's the first one I have read but I would have to agree with their tag line, and if the others are anything like it I would definitely be interested in checking them out.

Of course a comprehensive set of web building tools doesn't come in one box -- no matter how hard some publishers try to bundle and brand it as such. That's one reason this overview is so handy. It ties together all the major issues in one current (for the moment) volume. A lot of territory is covered here: HTML, style sheets, graphics, tables, frames, site-promotion, merchandising, JavaScript, Audio, Video, Blogs, and more. Obviously there is only room to layout the basics for each of these topics, but the coverage is well selected, to the point, and surprisingly useful. At the same time it isn't an off-putting encyclopedia but an enjoyable walk through the essential steps in web site creation.

For web beginners this is an excellent place to start. Even the introduction is worth reading! The major subjects covered are: creating web pages, making pages look beautiful, putting it online, attracting visitors, making money, and adding frills. These topics and related material are presented in five divisions, each with several chapters. Along the way you'll find plenty of good advice on such things as what software to use, how to choose service providers, and where to go for more information.

Although the book seems to speak to the aspiring beginner, those with experience will probably find it fills in some gaps in their knowledge and serves as a great reference to have on hand. You might especially appreciate it if you have friends or clients who ask you web related questions about things you've done, but not recently, or without much thought. In other words, it can make you look as if you actually know what you're doing -- very handy indeed! For me it was a pleasure just to read a manual that was so well written and contained genuinely useful information, even if some of it was review. Personally, I have been interested in learning more about CSS lately and originally picked up the book for this section alone.

There are two useful Appendixes. "A" is HTML tags. It's a pretty basic list but the descriptions are good and fairly detailed. Appendix "B" is a healthy selection of links that are conveniently grouped by the chapters they relate to in the text. I found this much easier to use than just having them scattered throughout. There is also a note on the inside back cover that reads: "The Missing CD-ROM. -- There is no CD-ROM with this book; you just saved $5.00." It's a clever way to point you to the website, [...] that contains files referenced in the text, additional information, and updates. Sure it's a gimmick to keep your attention, but it's also a useful feature and an extended digital benefit we've come to expect with our analogue pages. Who needs another disposable CD anyway?
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