Web Site Cookbook
Solutions & Examples for Building and Administering Your Web Site
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: February 2006
Pages: 282

The total number of web pages today has been estimated at over 3 billion, spanning millions of individual websites. Not surprisingly, there is tremendous pressure on web developers and designers to remain current with the latest technologies.

The Web Site Cookbook from O'Reilly covers all the essential skills that you need to create engaging, visitor-friendly websites. It helps you with the practical issues surrounding their inception, design, and maintenance. With recipes that teach both routine and advanced setup tasks, the book includes clear and professional instruction on a host of topics, including:

  • registering domains
  • ensuring that hostnames work
  • managing the directory
  • maintaining and troubleshooting a website
  • site promotion
  • visitor tracking
  • implementing e-commerce systems
  • linking with sales sites

This handy guide also tackles the various elements of page design. It explains how to control a reader's eye flow, how to choose a template system, how to set up a color scheme, and more.

Typical of O'Reilly's "Cookbook" series, the Web Site Cookbook is written in a straightforward format, featuring recipes that contain problem statements and solutions. A detailed explanation then follows each recipe to show you how and why the solution works. This question-solution-discussion format is a proven teaching method, as any fan of the "Cookbook" series can attest to.

Regardless of your strong suit or your role in the creation and life of a website, you can benefit from the teachings found in the Web Site Cookbook. It's a must-have tool for advancing your skills and making better sites.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


designing, maintaining, and marketing a web site

By Roy Johnson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Web Site Cookbook:

This is what I would call an intermediate level guide to web development. But although Doug Addison assumes that you want to create a serious looking site with plenty of professional functionality, I was glad to see that for beginners he shows you how to build one using free tools and with free web hosting and resources.

He starts with the importance of site preparation (planning with wireframes, flowcharts, diagrams) before getting down to the essentials of page design, navigation, colours, breadcrumb trails, and advertising. Each topic is treated in the same way. It's defined as a problem (You want feature X on your site) a technical solution is given, and then he discusses the implications of the decisions you make.

That is - why you should have this feature; problems to watch out for; and where to find detailed information and free resources.

He provides just enough coding for you to try out his suggestions yourself, but not too much as to make the book over-technical. What he's trying to do is offer an overview which combines the basics of site construction with the more advanced techniques required for optimisation, efficient maintenance, and commercial promotion of a site.

There's a whole chapter on graphics - showing you how to manipulate them, encouraging you to optimise them, and showing you how to protect any on which you wish to maintain your copyright.

This is followed by a really interesting section on the advanced use of links. You might imagine that there's not a lot to be said about linking one page to another, but he shows you how to make the links more effective by choosing your highlighted words more carefully and packing the link with more information.

Next comes a section on interacting with your site visitors using forms, text messaging, and email newsletters. Then he outlines strategies for e-commerce (http://www.mantex.co.uk/biblios/art-ecom.htm), which centers on establishing security for your customers, protecting your site from fraud, and generating income from traffic and your content - which involves joining affiliate programs.

The final section of the book deals with site maintenance and trouble-shooting. These are matters such as improving site performance (the Holy Grail) tracking and documenting changes, evaluation, and backing up the site.

If you want to build a site, this will show you all the steps which lie ahead in order to develop something that will be taken seriously. And if you already have a site, it offers suggestions for improvement which will keep you busy for months to come.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Highly Recommended

By S. Stanicki

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Web Site Cookbook:

Excellent for beginners, but I would have liked to have gotten more detail. Perhaps that is the trade-off for so broad a subject.

This book has answers to alot of questions that beginners(like me) might have. For instance, when I was shopping around for a hosting service for a personal website, features that were common to most hosting plans were cron (a scheduling utility) and ssi (server side includes). What are they? Why would they list them as a plus for hosting? Why would I care if they featured these or not? Well the Web Site Cookbook not only tells you what they are, but also gives you examples as to when, how, and why you might use them.

Each topic (recipe) is broken down into 4 sections:

1. Problem: A one or two sentence description of what you need or want to do.

2. Solution: A step by step solution.

3. Discussion: A discussion of the applied solution.

4. See Also: Additional information from other "recipes" in the book and/or outside resources.

There are also sections on planning your site, organizing directories, creating color schemes, as well as tips on making URL's easy to find and remember. (just to name a few). This book will get you well on your way to putting together a well designed web site. Highly recommended.

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