HTML Web Magic, Second Edition

"Learn to Tweak Your Code"

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Title: HTML Web Magic, Second Edition
Author: Raymond Pirouz
Publisher: New Riders Publishing
Publication Date: July 1998
Pages: 312
ISBN: 1-56830-475-7
Price: $39.99
Type of Book    
HTML Web Magic, Second Edition is a recipe-style how-to book that walks users through 50+ HTML lessons, ranging from page layout techniques to special effects. The full-color, visual nature of the book makes learning easy and gives readers immediate gratification. It includes dozens of techniques for HTML 4.0 and has a full-color, step-by-step "cookbook" approach which gives web designers immediate great ideas. It is a good book to read in front of your computer with your favorite HTML text editor and Internet browser engaged so that you can type the HTML techniques on your editor and test them in your browser as they are presented. The author, Raymond Pirouz, is an author, instructor, designer, and senior partner at R35, a company that markets Web design tools and has designed graphics for such clients as American Honda, Virgin Records, California Institute of Technology, and NASA/JPL/States of Art. He has a firm grasp of the topic, and it shows in his easy-to-read and concise writing.
User Level    
Intermediate and Advanced computer users. The book is designed and written for people with a general knowledge of HTML who are ready to take their designs to the ultimate level--adding sophisticated touches that will creatively communicate their messages to target audiences.
The book is organized in eight parts which are clearly marked with colorful tabs throughout the book and are summarized here:

Part I: Introduction--Reviews some basic Web design and HTML tips and provides an HTML 4.0 Quick Reference Chart and a word about JavaScript as it relates to this book.

Part II: Magic with First Impressions--Describes how to use the <META> Monkeytag and covers other techniques such as eliminating browser offset, determining your visitor's browser/platform, detecting specific plug-ins, and designing an alternative page for visitors with older browsers or no plug-ins. This chapter discusses how you can get rid of the browser offset so that the monkey looks like he's hanging upside down instead of being cut off as in the image to the left.
Part III: Magic with Images--Explores colorful GIF rules and square shapes, white space, using LOWSRC, animating a small portion of an image, and using PNG, image maps, and JavaScript rollovers. The graphic to the right is a scanned image from the book demonstrating how a large image can be divided up into sections so that only the bumblebee will be animated.

Part TypeIV: Magic with Tables--Delves into the art of coloring table cells, adding background images to cells, making tables invisible, aligning images and text within cells, creating nested tables, resizing tables dynamically, creating white space with tables, and designing "fake" image maps by using table cells. The image to the left shows "fake" typography layering by using tables.

Part V: Magic with Frames--Shows how to eliminate browser offset by using frames, sFramesend a framed page to its parent, lay out frames within frames, use tags within frames, create a NOFRAMES option, use frames to create border graphics, design frames for navigation, target framed content, target multiple frames with JavaScript, and develop a JavaScript rotating frame. The image to the right demonstrates nesting frames within frames.

Part VI: Magic with Windows--Covers opening new windows with HTML and JavaScript, opening a JavaScript remote control, and closing windows with JavaScript.

Part VII: Magic with Type--Helps you specify Web typography by using HTML and Cascading StylSnakee Sheets (CSS), vary type size by using CSS, create non-underlined text links with CSS, vary type color on rollover, experiment with type alignment techniques, wrap type around images, align images and type against backgrounds, create lists with graphic bullets, and design columns of type by using table cells. The image to the left illustrates the text-wrap effect.

Part VIII: Magic with Forms--Explores form-alignment techniques with graphics and text, visual Submit button tricks, TEXTAREA wrapping techniques, cross-platform consistency tips, pull-down menu tricks, and form-verification techniques with JavaScript.
Personal Comments    
This is a rather small, concise, and visually packed book on HTML techniques. There are enough tips and ideas to keep anyone happy and busy. New Riders puts out a variety of Magic books, most of which I own and use as a reference point for design ideas. Some of the books are: Dynamic HTML Web Magic, Photoshop 5 Type Magic, Photoshop Web Magic Vol. 1 & 2, Photoshop 5 Web Magic, and Illustrator Type Magic. For individuals who want an easy to learn, quick overview of the basics type of book, I would recommend the Sams Teach Yourself in 10 Minutes series. Sams Publishing and Que Publishing also have Professional Reference Editions where the books are over 1,000 pages and cover everything under the sun about a subject. The Magic series is sort of inbetween. When you just need that visual fix and specific technical information to get you started in your work, they are perfect.

Graphics: Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Photoshop
Web Page Editor: Symantec Visual Page
Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series