Beginning HTML with CSS and XHTML: Modern Guide and Reference (Beginning: From Novice to Professional), the book to which I contributed 6 chapters, is finally in transit from the printer to the warehouse, thence to be distributed to bookstores worldwide. Some time in the last 24 hours, Amazon switched the button from “Pre-order this item today” to “Add to Shopping Cart,” so I guess that makes it official. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet updated the cover image or added my bio, but I’m sure that will be remedied soon enough.
This is probably a good time to pimp the companion site, BeginningHTMLbook.com. All the hip authors do promotional companion sites these days, so who am I to go against the grain? The site features all the usual bits: an introduction, table of contents, and code downloads, as well as some other recommended books and the complete case study website from Chapter 11, Spaghetti & Cruft. But I also thought it would be good to add some “extended and deleted scenes,” which are additional articles and tutorials that don’t appear in the book. The goal is to supplement the book and fill in any knowledge gaps: stuff that really should be covered somewhere, but didn’t make it into the print edition. So far I’ve only written up a bit on specifying colors in CSS, but more is forthcoming soon.
The design is based on the one I did for the case study, which was deliberately engineered to be uncomplicated (it’s a book for beginners, after all, and is more about code than about design, so I went for simplicity). The companion site is a tad more complex than the case study, but follows the same general template. I changed the masthead background from red to blue because, well, the Apress standard black-and-gold cover looked positively putrid on a red background. I first darkened it to a rich burgundy, which looked good, but was much too similar to Andy’s recent reboot. So, since Spaghetti & Cruft was red with green accents (complementary colors, as well as invoking the Italian flag), I simply rotated the color wheel and switched to blue with orange accents.
The site naturally includes the requisite multinational Amazon links, with affiliate IDs attached to those for the US, UK, Canada, and Germany (I couldn’t muddle through the French signup process, and Japanese was right out). If anyone wishes to purchase a copy, doing so via these links will earn me a slightly higher commission, which I would certainly appreciate. As of this posting it’s still on pre-order on Amazons outside the US, though Canada shows it as “out of stock” and unavailable. Come on, Amazon.ca, get with the program.
Working on this book has been a more grueling and time-consuming process than I ever could have imagined. I’ve always said that writing is the easy part. Deciding what to write, what to keep, and what to cut out… well, that’s downright excruciating, and demands a great deal more skill and competence. I did my best, and in the end I’m rather proud of the portions I wrote. I learned a lot in the course of writing my chapters (and correcting my mistakes), and I sincerely hope the book can be of some use to people who want to learn how to build a better web.
For the moment, I intend to rest on my laurels for a bit and enjoy the relief and sense of accomplishment for as long as it lasts, at least until the inevitable nasty reviews start to appear. Until then… wow, I wrote half a book. How freaking cool is that?