Based on material originally prepared for a presentation at NOAA WebShop '96, Silver Spring, MD, June 1996.
It doesn't take a technical specialist to craft a page for the World Wide
Web. But it does take some basic understanding of how a computer displays
information, and a bit of background in design is a Good Idea, too.
While huge books measured in tons occupy lots of bookstore shelf space,
people actually tend to read things more modest and digestable (and show the big, thick ones to their supervisors or impressionable interns). Here are
some noteworthy "little" books you should actually read:
The Mac is not a typewriter, by Robin Williams, Peachpit Press, 72 pages, $9.95. If you are a Mac user, you need to read this book. It explains
in the most succint possible fashion how your computer puts information
on paper, and how that differs from traditional methods of communication.
While the World Wide Web is electronic and not paper, the same general rules
apply. Most "bad" Web pages are bad because of basic typing, spelling and grammar mistakes, so don't overlook this outstanding book.
The PC is not a typewriter, by Robin Williams, Peachpit Press, 96
pages, $9.95. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a Mac, you need to read this book. (If you are among the fortunate, you need to read the previous book.) It explains in the most succint possible fashion how your computer puts information on paper, and how that differs from traditional methods of communication. While the World Wide Web is electronic and not paper, the same general rules apply.
The Non-Designer's Design Book, by Robin Williams, Peachpit Press, 144 pages, $14.95. This thin, heavily illustrated book is an outstanding introduction to the art of designing a page of information. While it was intended for those wishing to do desktop publishing, it is equally useful for World Wide Web publishing. This may well become one of your most frequently used references.
The Little Web Book: a gentle introduction to the World Wide Web by Alfred Glossbrenner and Emily Glossbrenner, Peachpit Press, 256 pages, $14.95. As the title says, a gentle introduction to the entire subject, including setting up servers and writing pages.
HTML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStar Guide, by Elizabeth Castro, Peachpit Press, 192 pages, $17.95. Great little book filled with nothing but examples of how to do common and uncommon things. "Nothing" should be taken literally; there is almost no narrative text, just page after page of "to do this, first do this."
HTML3 Manual of Style, by Larry Aronson, Ziff-Davis, 200 pages, $24.95.
The first edition of this book is probably the best known HTML reference.
This time around, Aronson adds coverage for HTML 3.0 as well as Netscape
and Microsoft Explorer extensions.
Web Publisher's Design Guide for Macintosh, by Mary Jo Fahey, Coriolis Group Books, 406 pages, $34.99 (includes CD-ROM). Admittedly, this is not a "little book," but it reads like one: a series of tightly focused chapters showing, step by step, how to use photographs, image maps, sound, video, animation and 3D graphics with the World Wide Web. Much, much better than the unattractive cover suggests.
Planning and Managing Web Sites on the Macintosh: The Complete Guide to WebStar and MacHTTP, by Jon Wiederspan and Chuck Shotton, Addison-Wesley, 368 pages, $39.95 (includes CD-ROM). OK, this book isn't so little, either, but once you've figured out how to type, design a page, write things in HTML, and add spiffy graphics, the next step is setting up a Web server. The CD-ROM includes virtually all the required tools, including a sample Web site and Web server software.
Providing Internet Services via the Mac OS, by Carl Steadman and Jason Snell, Addison-Wesley, 409 pages, $34.95 (includes CD-ROM). An even larger not-so-thin book. While this covers Web servers, most of the book is devoted to everything else you might want to do on the Internet with Macs: mail servers and gateways; mailing list servers; FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers; Gopher servers; Domain Name Servers; and various applications, utilities, and tools to make all this work. With the notable exception of a mail server, real or demo versions of all the applications covered in the book are included on the CD-ROM, along with detailed instructions on how to apply for your very own Internet domain.