Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: O'Reilly, 3rd Edition
Aimed at: Web builders who want to understand the technology
Pros: A good revision of a well written and engaging book
Cons: The title is too general
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
Lots of readers want to create a website - which of them will find this book helpful?
Last year I reviewed the second edition of this book and took issue with its title on the grounds that "Creating a Website" is just too all-embracing for a book that tackles some difficult topics. I also levelled a few other criticisms at it and am now pleased to discover the revised edition's changes have taken account of at least one of my points. But at the end of the day I was impressed by the quality of the explanations of the second edition. The new version is more than a simple addition of new material to cover HTML5 - and in fact the page count has reduced which is quite an achievement. So what is different about the 3rd edition?
There is one major change to the structure of the book. The chapter on blogging which used to constitute Part 5 is now included earlier on, but it still introduces the idea of blogging and then looks at Blogger.
In other respects the book follows its original structure annd starts with Part One: Welcome to the Web which presents a basic introduction and then has chapters on creating a first web page and web hosting
Part Two: Building Better Web Pages still starts with a chapter on HTML tags and then goes on to style sheets but there are major changes that are to be welcomed. The fact that the book has been updated to cover HTML5 is responsible for the simplification of not having to cover XHTML and the tutorial at the end of the chapter on CSS rounds it out well. At the end of this part are two heavily revised chapters. Chapter 9 is now called Page Layout and goes further into CSS layout properties. The new Chapter 10: Multipart Pages looks at how to standardize layouts throughout a site.
Part Three: Connecting with Your Audience is thoroughly revamped and is going to be understandable by website owners as well as website developers. Chapter 11: Introducing Your Site to the World is largely about being found by search engines although it still covers having a promotion plan and tracking visitors with Google analytics. Chapter 12:Website Promotion looks at more ways to get your site known, including Google AdWords and Google Places and then goes on to the idea of community and looks at email newsletters, Google Groups, Twitter and Facebook. Now that books are covered in Chapter 13, it is Chapter 14 that has the title "Making Money with Your Site" and it still covers Google AdSense, Amazon Associates and PayPal Merchant Tools.
As before the book concludes with two Appendixes - an HTML Quick Reference and a list of useful references - which is also available online on the book's Missing CD page.
So, as before, I can recommended this book with the reservation that it won't suit complete beginners or anyone not willing to delve a bit deeper into the technology.