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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series)
Publisher: Friends of ED
Authors: Dan Cederholm
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Much needed book with superb approach

For just under a year now I have been dipping into the online community of advocates for the many uses of CSS. As someone who is a graphic designer and part time web designer it can sometimes be a pain to find that mix of visual, structural, and functional design needed to take your portfolio and skills to the next level.

This book takes a very clear approach to laying out many paths to a single, or similiar, solutions. I think a big problem with all of us "non gurus" who are trying to get into CSS is knowing whether a tag or style is compatible with the "popular browsers" and if we are going to hand off the project to our clients full of holes and subsequently full of complaints. You can trust Dan as a professional who lays down a number of approaches that can be used, none of which are totally obselete and are going to leave you with an unhappy client.

Another great element of this book is the value it adds to your work. When you put these skills to work on your sites, your not only creating visually great work, but your also making your work compatible on all levels (hand helds, multiple browsers, screen readers, non CSS compatible browsers)and the book even shows why using specific techniques will optimize your code for search engines (and anyone worth thier weight in gold knows how important search engine optimization is for clients).

There are alot of great reasons to fork over your money on this book. As I believe I heard someone mention before, if you have basic CSS knowledge and this book you will be ready to rock. Just dont pick it up expecting to learn CSS from the ground up. For those who have that basic working knowledge, this is the next step in your CSS revolution!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (4th Edition)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Tom Negrino, Dori Smith
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent, and does what it's supposed to do

Unlike other Peachpit Press Visual Quickstart Guides, this is a VERY weak coverage of the topic, which will leave most buyers wanting. Typical of the lack of content is the description of how to do loops. "The kind of loops used in this book is the for loop..." No other types of loops are even mentioned. Does JavaScript provide while loops or until loops - or even the dreaded infinite loop? You'll have to look elsewhere to find out. The part on defining functions says you usually use an event handler to call a function, and gives no hint of other uses for functions - and this is also the only treatment of event handlers! It's true that you can call a function from an event handler, but often you use functions in calculations of values or in the logic of if statements. These more normal uses of functions are only treated in this book by use in the example scripts. You have to discover them for yourself. Event handlers are presented as if the only thing you can do is call a function. Can you also put code right in the handler? You won't find the answer in this book.
If you're looking for a few useful but trivial scripts, this book is an awfully expensive way to get them. If you're after a decent language reference book, this definitely isn't it. Save your money.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Flanagan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
It didn't disappoint me!

Probably it is not for newbies.. not sure
I am not new in Javascript. My first book was "javascript bible" by Danny Goodman, which got me started with it couple of years ago.
Last year, by accident, I came accross O'reilly's Safari subscription project, and decided to refresh my Javascript knowledge. One of the books I checked out was David Flanagan's "Javascript The Definitive Guide".
I read several chapters from it, and I cought myself enjoying it more than enjoyed my previous similar titles. So I decided to buy the 4th edition of the book, and was not disappointed. So what things does David do differently? Read on!
I remember "Javascript Bible" by Danny Goodman starts off with hands on examples, which anyone without any knowledge of Javascript can try out in his/her editor. This is not the case with "Javascript The Definitive Guide". If you have no idea how Javascript works, you will not see a working real-life example untill Part II (page 181). Untill then, the author explains the core syntax of javascript, how javascript interperator works, how it wraps things into two objects: while interperating - Global and Call objects; talks about variable scopes and Garbage collection, objects, arrays, operators and other good stuff. It will tell you the different between object properties and variables ( or does it say there're no differences? ), talks about Regular Expression and nested functions.
People who have little or no programming background tend to find this chat quite boring and meaningless ( as I would've couple of years ago ). But if you have some Javascript background, or at least know how Javascript works in the browser, and what to strengthen your knowledge of Core JS, you will find this book very informative.
Part || is dedicated to Client side Javascript. That's where your browser comes into play and all the fun starts. Only here it will tell you that "Global object" mentioned in the Core Javascvript part is called "window". Talkes about CSS and DHTML, Scripting Cookies, DOM. It covers every single aspect of Client-Side JavaScript that a good Javascript book should cover.
The rest of the book consists of very well designed references, that you will be using most of the time.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Flash MX 2004 Savvy(tm)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Ethan Watrall, Sybex
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Savvy, indeed!

Book: Flash MC 2004 Savvy
Author: Evan Watrall and Norbert Herber
Publisher: Sybex
Web: www.sybex.com
Phone: 510-523-8233
Pro: Easy to understand direct instruction, content progresses quickly
Con: None noted
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Rob LeFebvre

This is the second book I've read by Ethan Watrall, and I have to say I continue to be impressed. Flash MX 2004 (the most unfortunate product name, ever) is a complex, mature program. As the authors state, Flash MX 2004 can be "used to create amazingly complex, interactive products, dynamic and data driven websites and online applications, cartoon serials, online (and offline) games, music videos, music players, instant messengers...the list goes on and on." This book, Flash MX 2004 Savvy, then, takes the reader through the basics of using Flash MX and MX Professional, the new interface, visual techniques for drawing and animation, symbols and text, and runs right on through to more advanced topics, like ActionScript, Audio, Video, and integration with other programs.

Now, Ethan Watrall isn't the only author. His co-author, Norbert Herber, is the "mac guy" for the book. Both authors are faculty members at Indiana University. Their writing style is both easy to understand and thorough. As a Mac user, I appreciated the cross platform approach of the text, with key-commands spelled out for both Windows and Macintosh users, along with a variety of Mac screen shots throughout the book.

Each section of the book (2 - 3 Chapters) ends with a "Hands On" section, where the authors walk the reader through a project that includes the techniques discussed within the content portion of the chapters. (...) Based on scenes and reused graphic symbols, it looks fairly accomplished, I think. The book is full of these kinds of projects, which really helped me feel like I was learning something. Many times, books that are references on a given software application don't impart this same feeling of "getting somewhere."

This book is a beginner to novice level guide to Flash MX 2004. It doesn't cover form-based applications, publishing in multiple languages, data binding and web services, nor ActionScript 2.0. As you can see, these are very advanced topics. So, basically,. this book covers anything you really need to know about starting out and actually using Flash. The authors don't spend a lot of time on how to open and save files, or how to manage your computer directory structure. The book progresses fairly swiftly through the first 3 chapters on interface and usage of the basic drawing tools, a topic that I feel gets too much space in many "beginner" books.

An added value to the book is, of course, the CD full of files for use in the Hands On sections, as well as demos of Flash MX 2004 and other Macromedia products. In addition, it has several Bonus chapters, to take your learning further. What surprised me, however, was that the authors ALSO include a web site to go to that enhances learning as well. (...). Finally, the authors provide their personal email addresses, which I find refreshing.

I look forward to finishing this book. It's not one I'm going to leave on the shelf for reference; rather, I plan on delving into each content and Hands On section in my own learning of this powerful multimedia tool. I'd recommend this book for anyone starting out their journey towards Flash mastery. It's well written, easy to understand, yet thorough and full of information. It has evenly distributed Macintosh savvy advice, as well as screenshots that look familiar to those that use computers "for the rest of us." Buy this book now!