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Creating a Web Page with HTML: Visual QuickProject Guide

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In: Reviews > Book Reviews

By Matthew Vanden Boogart

Published on December 1, 2004

Creating a Web Page with HTML As an educator, I’m always interested to see what books are being published to get people started in Web design. With Creating a Web Page with HTML, Elizabeth Castro has put together a simple guide to getting started with publishing a site. With an easy-to-follow descriptive style, this guide is a great starting point for anyone interested in getting involved with Web publishing.

From the beginning, Castro lays out what you’re going to get—and she delivers. It’s loaded with clear color graphics and easy-to-follow pages that help even the most novice follow along in the journey to online publication. For publishing your site, she gives introductory information about working with graphics and graphic software and using an FTP program. On the companion site, she offers tools, resources and all original images and code used in the book.

This really is a guide for beginners who have never worked on a Web site. It contains a basic overview of CSS, good for those who have created a simple site but are unfamiliar with stylesheets. Aside from that, the book probably isn’t that useful for anyone coming to the table with some background knowledge.

What’s Inside

If you’ve ever tried to pick up a book and learn computer software, you understand the frustrations that can ensue. You’re always looking for the book that gives you a balanced explanation of what’s happening, shows how it’s happening, and then tells you how to best go about doing it. Castro finds a great balance of these three elements. She is able to walk with readers, not overwhelm them, and lead them on their way.

Before we even dive into the heart of the guide, the table of contents deserves a high-five for its structure and layout. Part of this book’s appeal lies in the fact that each page contains only one step, which is captured on the TOC. Forgot something? Need to find out some more information? The TOC will most likely have your answer.

The introduction tells the reader how to use the guide, and each chapter shows the reader exactly what to expect and where to find it. Her reader-friendly flow is complemented by a step-by-step process complete with screenshots and coding explanations. Each page contains that balanced explanation of what’s happening, how it’s happening, and how to do it. It really is a simple, step-by-step, visual guide to get you started.

Each chapter concludes with some great “Extra Bits,” one of my favorite elements of the guide. These bits are packed full of superlative information for those interested in knowing just a bit more. Castro sets each tip apart by topic (e.g., add a header logo), tells you the page number it’s referencing, then details the process. An example of an “Extra Bits” regarding page titles is: “Use specific words in your title that reflect the content of your page.” Most people overlook the impact a title has on a page, and its overall purpose is a bit supplemental to the content of the site, but Castro points out how it still makes a difference. She also details the reasoning behind the decisions she made during the lesson.

A Visual Tour

The organization of the book is what earns it high marks. Each chapter begins with an image of what you will be creating. Castro identifies each new element on the Web page and indicates on which pages the topic will be covered. People wanting to go back to a certain part, say, adding a copyright notice on the bottom of a page, can quickly get to that point. If you already know about creating links, you can easily see how to skip over other pages. This is a wonderful visual tool and an organizational dream.

Each page within the chapter focuses on one thing: getting you to the end result. Source code is colored--orange for HTML and green for CSS. This really makes it easy to follow along and know what file you’re working on. Clear action headings (e.g., “Adjust Link Borders” or “Pad the Images”) are used, followed by step-by-step instructions on what you’re doing. Her use of color to associate file names and descriptive text helps to further ease your transition to the Web design world. After going through the steps of the chapter, Castro concludes with those great “Extra Bits” that really make the book worthwhile for beginners.

Contents

Introduction

  1. Creating the Inner Pages
  2. Creating the Home Page
  3. Publishing Your Web site

Appendices

  1. HTML Reference
  2. CSS Reference
  3. Colors
  4. Symbols

The Ups

The Downs

What You’ll Learn

The Quickie

The Final Word

Buy this guide if you’ve never published a site before. It has what you need. This guide contains the basic resources you need to get started in the Web publishing world. Whether you plan on making Web design a full-time career or just a hobby, Castro’s Creating a Web Page with HTML is an easy pick-up-and-get-going guide. The book’s full-color spread of information and how-to steps help any reader grasp new concepts. For the beginner, you can’t go wrong.

Creating a Web Page with HTML: Visual QuickProject Guide
ISBN 032127847X
Elizabeth Castro
Peachpit Press, 2004, 160pp.
US $12.99
Companion Website: HTML Visual QuickProject Guide

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Related Topics: HTML, Basics, XHTML

 

Matthew Vanden Boogart is a leadership educator studying for his Master’s degree at Kansas State University. He’s been a web designer and educator for the past four years. His interests lie in blogging in higher education as well as usability and design of websites in higher education.

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