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Build Your Own Website: A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS, and WordPress 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This book did all this and more. It is organized so you can read it front-to-back, or go right to the section you need. There is both a comic book-like story and afterwards, the more traditional format, (so you sort of get 2 for the price of 1).
After using the book a few days, my teenage kids stole it from me while doing school projects. They have borrowed my books before and this time, really enjoyed, and found useful, the instructions, and the format.
If you are a beginner or slightly intermediate skilled person, I would say this is a title worth investing in.
I should probably mention that by "a comic guide", it does not mean in the funny sense (though some of it is), but in the illustrated, graphic novel sense. For those familiar with NoStarch Press and their "The Manga Guide to..." series of books, Nate Cooper's writing and Kim Gee's artwork fits very well in that space. What's more, "Build Your Own Website" follows the same template that "The Manga Guide to..." books do, in that each section starts with an illustrated graphic novel treatment of topics, and then follows on with a more in depth prose treatment of each area.
So what's in store for the reader who wants to start on a mission to make their own site from scratch?
Chapter 1 starts with our protagonist Kim looking forward to her first web design class, and shows that inspired and excited first timer's desire to get in and do something. It's followed by an explanation of the tools needed to be downloaded and do the work necessary to complete the examples in the book. All of the exercises and examples can be done for free, all you need is a web browser or two, a text editor, an ftp client (the book recommends FileZilla; it's the one I use as well) and you can get a free WordPress account at http://www.wordpress.com.
Chapter 2 talks about The Trouble with HTML, and how Kim and her dog Tofu meet up with the Web Guru, who introduces them to the basics of HTML, paths and naming conventions, loading pictures and following links, the hierarchy of files and directories that make up a basic web site, and a dragon called "404". The second section goes into details about all of these including explaining about document structure, HEAD and BODY tags, the items that go in each, embedding images, and a basic breakdown of the most common HTML tags.
Chapter 3 shows us how Kim Makes Things Look Great with CSS. Well, Glinda, the Good Witch of CSS helps Kim do that (graphic novel for kids, gang. Work with me, here ;) ). Glinda shows Kim the basics of CSS including classes and IDs, inline styles and external stylesheets that can be referenced along with inline styles, effectively creating a "cascade of styles" (CSS == "Cascading Style Sheets"). The chapter also discusses using div's for creating separate sections and blocks that CSS can be applied to, and ends with commonly used CSS properties.
Chapter 4 is where Kim Arrives in WordPress City, and where the examples focus on, of course, WordPress as a composition platform. Kim gets introduced to what WordPress is, which is a Content Management System (CMS), and the conventions of creating both blogs and websites. Kim is introduced to the Dashboard, creating posts, using the Visual editor, structuring her site, using Categories and Tags, using the Media Library to store media items, and the overall Theme to be used for the site. Each of these is covered in greater detail with examples in the second prose part.
Chapter 6 brings us to The Big Launch, where Kim and Tofu navigate the realities of hosting the site and how to set up hosting so that they can display their finished site to the world. There's lots of options, and most cost some money, but not very much (plans ranging from $5-$10 a month are readily available). Registering a domain is covered, and many sites have an option to install WordPress and use it there.
"Build Your Own Website" starts with some basic HTML and CSS, and then spends the bulk of the second half of the book introducing you, the user, to WordPress. For those looking to see the nuts and bolts of making a web site from scratch, including making the navigation elements, more involved interactions, and other esoteric features of web sites outside of the CMS system that WordPress provides, you will be disappointed. Having said that, if the goal is to get a site up and running and using a well designed and quick to use interface, WordPress is a pretty good system, with lots of flexibility and ways to make the basic formatting of a site nearly automatic. Younger web development acolytes can get in and feel what it's like to design and manage a site. To that end, "Build Your Own Website" does a very good job, and does it in an entertaining and engaging manner.
This book covers all the basics of the web- such as how to read an address, they tell you that clients and servers are just computers talking with one another, They explain how you need a host to show your web pages to the world and that you'll need an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to send your files to the host. It all sounds complicated, but this book gives you exact names of all these things, so you can contact them and set them up in no time at all.
The cartoons explain in the simplest language how to successfully use HTML documents. Using all small letters and never using spaces will keep you from crashing and avoiding errors. If you make an error, these 404 errors are warnings, but errors lead to broken links and that means visitors to your website will have a terrible experience. The book shows you avoiding errors is very important and most importantly they show how to avoid these common mistakes, making for a great website.
Once you learn HTML, the language structure of your website, the book teaches you CSS- your structure for style and layout. These are the structures that will make moving on to Wordpress easy. Once you are in Wordpress, you'll find you can type fast in the Dashboard- where there is no Code Editor. The cartoon explains that even though there is no Code Editor typing in the Dashboard of Wordpress, when you hit Text, the Code (HTML) is still there, it is just underneath it all.
When you are finished with this book, you will find that knowing HTML's Code language, CSS' style, avoiding 404's and using Wordpress' modern content management will all give you the strong framework to building your own website or blog. This book keeps you both in the technical learning of website languages and then takes you into the cartoon world where you can see just how simple these Code Editors, Style Sheets and Wordpress' Dashboard can actually be to use. This is a 5 Star Book that is great for all ages to use in creating the beginnings of your own Website or Blog.