Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: February 1999
Pages: 468

From access counters and log-report graphs to scientific plots and on-the-fly animated GIFs, graphics scripting is within the grasp of most Web authors. It is a little documented field, however, and the many valuable free libraries and tools available on the Internet remain under-utilized. Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software is aimed at intermediate and advanced Web users who want to use CGI scripts to generate dynamic graphic content. It will also help to demystify the manipulation of graphics formats for newcomers to the Web.

Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software takes a practical, resource-like approach to the content. It is not a book about design or aesthetics of Web graphics; its focus is on programming or, more accurately, scripting programs that manipulate graphics file to be published on the Web. Most of the examples in the book use Perl as a scripting language, though the concepts are applicable to any programming language. However, several powerful Perl modules for generating graphics (GD, PerlMagick, GIFgraph) should help position Perl as a major contender for your Web graphics applications. Most of the topics covered in the book are applicable to any platform (NT, Linux, Un*x, MaxOS), with the exception of the chapter detailing the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (a free Adobe Photoshop-like application), which requires a connection to an X server. The focus is always on free software, when it is available.

This book covers the following:

  • a tour through the most popular Web graphics file formats by implementing parsers for GIF, JPEG, and PNG files
  • descriptions of the PNG, JPEG, and giflib libraries, as well as many other free and proprietary libraries and SDKs
  • extensive documentation and examples using the Perl graphics modules GD and GIFgraph, and the Perl interface to the powerful ImageMagick libraries
  • documentation on the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) and the Perl interface that lets you easily script plug-ins or interface to the GIMP via the Web
  • the creation of image maps from data extracted from a database
  • the implementation of several new Perl modules for the creation of neatly formatted PostScript files
  • details on interfacing to a fax gateway
  • reusable recipes for many popular applications such as Web counters and Web cams
  • the creation of animated GIFs on-the-fly

One of the key ingredients to the success of the Web is that anyone who wanted to could participate in publishing to the world. This book will take its readers to the next level of publishing to the world: learning to use scripting programs to create dynamic graphics for their Web sited. The information in this book is written in a practical, easy manner with high-quality documentation and useful examples throughout. It is a detailed reference that provides Web designers and programmers and with the information they need to program.

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oreillyProgramming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar
 
3.5

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software Review

By Thomas Platzer

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar:

well, being used to the otherwise high standards of o'reilly publications, I was somewhat disappointed with this one.

some parts just read like a printed version of the manpages. and I definitely don't need to buy a book that saves me typing "man x".

especially the chapter about ImageMagick was a major bummer. the functions are covered at a most basic level. severely lacking examples, and the description is far from complete. as a beginner, you might get a nive overview, but no more. and thats something I NEVER EVER bought a ora book for before: to get an _overview_. in-depth hardcore information is what I'm looking for.

this book left a sour taste in my mouth. so if you are searching for toroughly researched information, forget this one. read the man-pages, and be happy with online resources which will offer better information than this book.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software Review

By Mike Bilow

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar:

This is not an art book. There are not even any color illustrations. Rather, there is uniquely definitive and comprehensive coverage of the most important freeware graphics tools useful for web development. There is a strong bias toward programmatic tools, those which can be controlled from server-parsed HTML or CGI using Perl, which allow drawing graphics interactively with the user on the fly. One example with source code is a Perl "biorhythm" calculator, where the user enters a birthdate and the web page draws a customized GIF bar chart with a sinusoidal envelope, emulating the coin-operated "biorhythm" machine at the Vince Lombardi Rest Area on I-95 in New Jersey.

This basic technique can be used for charts of stock performance, server activity, and any other on-demand drawing. The ImageMagick tool, which can be run from a command line to do batch processing (such as thumbnailing) or through a Perl API, is also well covered, showing how to draw text labels onto images and do other tasks essential to good web practice. The GIMP, aweb-friendly freeware clone of Adobe Photoshop, is covered primarily from the point of view of its relatively unknown Perl API, but this is not a book about the GIMP and there are better choices of books (especially those with color) if interactive use of the GIMP is your main concern. However, use of the GIMP to create basic web elements such as flaming marbles or imploding cats is covered.

This book stands in a class by itself on its subject matter, and is destined to become one of the classic O'Reilly references. While it does have copious pointers to web information via URLs, the book's most serious deficiency is certainly that it is heavily tied to the current snapshot of availabletools, and the freeware tool development pace will doubtlessly necessitate frequent revisions of this book, possibly as often as annually. The author is also to be commended for not flinching from discussions of technical issues where appropriate, such as image compression, interlacing, and the internals of GIF, JPEG, and PNG file formats, but these discussions are not essential to the book if the reader has little interest in technical issues and wants to get right to the cookbook graphics recipes.

 
4.0

Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software Review

By Kevin

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar:

A prety good book but needs to be updated because Perl 5.6.0 just came along. Otherwise great because most systems have older versions of perl.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software Review

By Pete

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Programming Web Graphics with Perl and GNU Softwar:

Good book. Somewhat outdated now. GIF output is not supported by many of the modules reviewed in this book.

I can't believe there is no source code available for the script examples in the book.

That's a Major pain.

Pete

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