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Web Design in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference [Paperback]

Jennifer Niederst
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Nov 1998 In a Nutshell

Web Design in a Nutshell contains the nitty-gritty on everything you need toknow to design Web pages. It's the good stuff, without the fluff, written andorganized so that answers can be found quickly. Written by veteran Web designerJennifer Niederst, this book provides quick access to the wide range of front-endtechnologies and techniques from which Web designers and authors must draw.

It is an excellent reference for HTML 4.0 tags (including tables, frames, andCascading Style Sheets) with special attention given to browser support and platformidiosyncrasies. The HTML section is more than a reference work, though. It detailsstrange behavior in tables, for instance, and gives ideas and workarounds for usingtables and frames on your site. Web Design in a Nutshell also coversmultimedia and interactivity, audio and video, and emerging technologies like DynamicHTML, XML, embedded fonts, and internationalization.

The book includes:

  • Discussions of the Web environment, monitors, and browsers
  • A complete reference to HTML and Server Side Includes, including browsersupport for every tag and attribute
  • Chapters on creating GIF, JPEG and PNG graphics, including designing with theWeb Palette
  • Information on multimedia and interactivity, including audio, video, Flash,Shockwave, and JavaScript
  • Detailed tutorial and reference on Cascading Style Sheets, including anappendix of browser compatibility information
  • Appendices detailing HTML tags, attributes, deprecated tags, proprietary tags,and CSS compatibility

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Product details

  • Paperback: 578 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (11 Nov 1998)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1565925157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565925151
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,082,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Web design can be very simple these days thanks to the massive selection of programs available to take the difficulty out of producing slick Web sites.

But for the perfectionists and those who want more than a passing degree of control over their creations, the only real way to produce Web content is the old fashioned way--with a copy of a decent text editor and a head full of HTML tags.

There's no denying that this method ultimately produces the best results and the gives greater control over layouts but it's all so difficult. Isn't it?

O'Reilly's Web Design in a Nutshell aims to prove that it needn't be.

This superb book gives a no-nonsense overview of HTML programming starting from the ground up and encapsulating some of the more advanced topics some lesser books choose not to approach.

Everything is so well presented it makes for easy reading even when not sitting at your computer. It's nice to see such good support for multiple browsers too--the book gives information about which commands will work with which browser so it's easy to produce more universally accessible sites.

Although this is not aimed squarely at the beginner it's so well written it should be on any prespective coder's bookshelf from an early stage. An excellent read --Andrew Russell

About the Author

Jennifer Niederst was one of the first Web designers. As the designer of O'Reilly's Global Network Navigator (GNN), the first commercial Web site, she has been designing for the Web since 1993. Since then, she has been working almost exclusively on the Web, first as creative director of Songline Studios (a subsidiary of O'Reilly) where she designed the original interface for WebReview (, and as a freelance designer and consultant since 1996. She is the author of Designing for the Web (O'Reilly, 1996), and has taught Web design at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Interactive Factory in Boston, MA. She has spoken at major design and Internet events including the GRAFILL conference (Geilo, Norway), Seybold Seminars, and the W3C International Expo. [You can visit her site at http:// or send her email at]

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over-stuffed nuts! 26 Jan 1999
By A Customer
The idea of having a single volume with the nitty gritty of HTML, in all its flavours, Cascading Style Sheets, DHTML, XML, Web graphics, audio, and video, CGI, SSI, and Javascript is too tempting for anyone professionally involved with the web to ignore. A collection of the O'Reilly & Associates books on each individual subject will take up many inches of shelf space, so in the tradition of the Nutshell series, here is a single volume with the essential details for those of us who don't want to start at "Hello, World!" every time.
Does the book succeed? Certainly on all aspects of HTML, especially cross-browser issues, it is a perfect one-stop shop. I like the fact that Lynx gets more than a passing mention, and that accessibility for the blind and partially-sighted is covered. Cascading Style Sheets are well covered too, though it's unfortunate that the table of CSS compatibility is relegated to an Appendix, rather than integrated with the main chapter on CSS syntax. Chapters on GIFs and JPEGs are very informative, discussing all the salient points of palettes and compression. However the book clearly overreaches itself when it comes to DHTML, XML, CGI and Javascript, the chapters on these topics being much less in depth than for HTML, CSS and graphics. The author acknowledges these limitations more explicitly in the Preface than the publishers do on the back cover :-) These are good introductory discussions for those who want to move on from basic HTML, but anyone wanting a genuine desktop guide to these topics will have to fork out for a separate tome. (ORA's DHTML, CGI and Javascript books are excellent, by the way, but we're still waiting for them to come up with the definitive XML manual.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I can't recommend this enough. It covers everything from HTML (very complete) through to Javascript; CSS, XML; DHTML (overviews). Especially useful is the complete listing of HTML tags and attributes. Also helpful was the list of deprecated HTML tags (ie those that the W3C will phase out in the next HTML version). This is not for beginners, but if you have a basic knowledge of HTML and web design it's invaluable both as a dip in reference book, but also for a complete overview of web design. You'd be hard pressed to find better
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
It would be hard to find a book that covers every thing about the Web but this one focusses on the basic knowledge required to get some Web pages together.
It is clear, concise and has a place on my bookshelf as a quick reference guide. Also covers which browser supports which Tags and Attributes. Handy for multi browser compatibility. Mentions CGI and quotes handy web sites for picking up CGI scripts.
If you're new to the Web and need a starting place then this is it. It touches on DHTML and Javascript but can't cover these in great depth in a book of this size.
It's a good buy at the price and I thoroughly recommend it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Planning a home page? - you need this 8 April 1999
By A Customer
O'Reilly already have Webmaster in a Nutshell and Web Design overlaps in coverage but the two titles are nonetheless complementary. Perhaps the forthcoming 2nd edition of Webmaster will sharpen the distinction. As it is Webmaster looks out from the server side, Web Design is more publisher/user presentation oriented - you probably won't need both. Web standards change fast and some passages suggest the author was pushed to be both up to date (ie HTML 4) and in print - Some deprecated tags such as <BR CLEAR> are used in examples. Not, in my opinion, necessarily a bad thing; there are cases when style sheets are just too much overhead. This book maintains O'Reilly's high reputation as the only computer books worth having. It does not condescend, it is not a bloated cookbook. It is a concise reference - and a useful revision tutorial - for people who know what they want to do, know it can be done, and just need to find out how.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable - gold tipped excellence 27 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Invaluable reference text for anyone interested in best practice web design, from the basics to front-end technologies, all the information you'll need is easy to find, easy to understand and implement. Contains an excellent reference section on HTML4 as well as sections on graphics, CSS, DHTML, SSI and XML.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not bad .... but outdated! 23 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Although I agree with the other reviews in some aspects, I found this book to be EXTREMELY OUTDATED (having been published end of 1998). It only touches on DHTML, Java, JavaScript, etc, so if you want anything other than a vague reference guide, do not buy this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A saviour of a book. 15 May 1999
By A Customer
Splashing out on my first web design book was an odd experience. I initially went for 'Instant HTML' published by Wrox Press - billed as written 'by programmers for programmers'. This is what I want, I thought, something without the 'user-friendly' crap that just gets in the way. As I read it, I became more and more horrified. Programmers do *not* necessarily make good writers! The book was poorly written, edited, and designed - *badly crafted*. I took it back to the shop, which had a minimal selection of books. The only other one there that was in my price range - luckily enough - was 'Web Design in a Nutshell' by Jennifer Niederst. After my experience with the previous book, I was overwhelmed by how readable, informative, and beautifully thought-out this book was. I literally kissed the book when it explained some key graphic issues I'd been wrangling over! I recommend this book unreservedly. It is especially relevant to those coming from a DTP background, and pays special attention to Photoshop graphics work (although those using Paint Shop Pro or others will easily adapt). O'Reilly are rapidly becoming my first-choice for computer books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for day to day work
Not the most in depth treatment nor the most bang up to date, but I don't think it means to be. This book is a concise treatment of web design from the basics through to CSS with a... Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent first-step into web design
This book gives enough detail on such a variety of subjects that you can really put a web site together that you are proud of. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars The best value for money HTML reference book
At this price you can't go wrong. Good HTML coverage, plus lots of useful advice on using graphics in web pages, browser compatibility issues etc.
Published on 27 Oct 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD HTML book, avg. CSS book, lousy Javascript/XML book
This book i VERY nice for the beginner webauthor! With good illustrations and easy reading english. Also very nice short referencepages and even overviews over HTML-tags and... Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for the beginner or intermediate...
Clear, concise and informative. This book is an excellent HTML reference. Especially useful for anyone wanting to create their first Web pages. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2000 by antom
5.0 out of 5 stars forget the rest this the best
if you are like me and you want to start in to the web enigma this is what you'll need, dont look very hard, you'll find this book covering everything you need about the web i... Read more
Published on 12 May 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars For your first grown up steps as a web designer
I like O'Reilly books because I trust them to do what they say on the cover, and do it well. Jennifer Niederst's book is a fine addition to their line and to any aspiring web... Read more
Published on 28 April 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still useful
I bought this book ten months ago when it was new. Then it had everything you needed, provding in depth well presented coverage of everything you needed to know to get started... Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference
I have found this book to be a great reference resource when designing my corporate web site. The index tabs down the side of the page really help you find the relevant section... Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars The Holy Grail of Web Page creation
This book has everything a web page needs. starts with simple practice to border creation and table control. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2000
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