Delicious Recipes for Your Web Site | WebReference

Delicious Recipes for Your Web Site

Delicious Recipes for Your Web Site
(A Review of Web Site Cookbook)


Web Site Cookbook Author: Doug Addison
Total Pages: 280
Publisher: O'Reilly
Copyright: 2006
ISBN: 0596101090

There are many tips, details and tricks that can tighten up a Web site. But how do you find them? You could scour the Web for days, and I'm sure you'd find enough information to totally confuse you. But let's look at this from a different viewpoint. Let's say you were going to prepare a nice dinner. What would you do? You would buy a good cookbook and go from there, right?

Well, get out the HTML tongs and the CSS mixer. You'll also need some PHP for seasoning and a little dash of JavaScript. Add to that a little RSS, and a few cookies for dessert. Mix it all up, and pour into an Apache bowl. Now, let it bake a bit and, presto! You have a spicy, yet elegant Web site souffle!

This is a possibility if you use the recipes in the Web Site Cookbook (written by Doug Addison). Doug has been building Web sites on the Internet for over nine years and also has a background in journalism. Along the way, he has picked up some excellent recipes and included them in this book.

To use Doug's words, "Web Site Cookbook is about building Web sites that people will visit, bookmark, and revisit." Now that's right to the point. I see articles everyday detailing the complexities of planning, designing, and building Web sites. For those designers/developers who want to build smaller sites it can be quite overwhelming.

That's where Doug's cookbook comes in. It's not designed to be read from cover to cover. Just jump in where you need to. (Who reads a cookbook from beginning to end?) The book is geared to everyone involved in planning, building, and maintaining Web sites and is divided into nine sections:

  1. Web Server Setup
  2. Site Planning and Setup
  3. Page Design and Navigation
  4. Formatting Text and Code
  5. Formatting Graphics
  6. Displaying and Delivering Information
  7. Interacting with Visitors
  8. Promotion and E-Commerce
  9. Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Each section is made up of several "recipes," each being short and concise. All of the ingredients are given or directions are given as to where to obtain them. There is no technical jargon. Everything is explained clearly.

Doug begins with the basics: domain names and Web hosts. Everything is covered, from registering a domain name and choosing a Web host to building an easy to maintain Web site.

The book then progress from the planning stage through the development and maintenance stages. In between, there are recipes for all kinds of features, such as creating navigation that doesn't link to itself, dividing a text block into multiple pages, highlighting a search term, creating a printer-friendly version of your Web site and protecting your Web site from fraud.

In all of this, Doug never strays from the original intent of the book: building Web sites that people will visit, bookmark, and revisit. As I read the many recipes included in the book (there are 89 of them), I wanted to try all of them as soon as I could. I like techniques that are simple, easy to implement, and beneficial. Doug has got it down to a science. There is a place for the more detailed technical manuals (I imagine one would compare them to gourmet cookbooks); yet there is also a need for ones that are just quick and easy (just like good old meatloaf and potatoes).

O'Reilly has a whole series of cookbooks like this. They are geared to solving specific problems in many areas, such as Actionscript, Apache, ASP.NET, Java, JavaScript, MySQL, Perl, PHP and XSLT.

Check out Doug's cookbook. While it may not get him his own show on the Food Network, it will help you prepare a full course Web site guaranteed to please any appetite.