A Boundless Source of Simple Tricks for the Web

Accessible, simple, effective information for aspiring and professional web developers alike.


If you work a lot with HTML, your first impulse is likely to be like mine, what’s more to learn from a book that tries to teach people the basics. If you’re new to web publishing, you don’t have to give it a second though. HTML Goodies is an excellent way to get up to speed and to get the scoop directly from a man who’s been at it for a long time. Joe Burns not only has a flair for expressing ideas with clarity, but he brings it all home in a first-person talk with the reader without the burdens of formality. To get back to the original statement I was making, if you don’t learn a handful of new trick from this book, you clearly haven’t read it, no matter how much web experience you have.

HTML Goodies is divided into 5 parts. The first part is a collection of primers that ought to get you up to speed if you’re new to authoring web sites. From what you need, to HTML commands, text manipulation, links, images, and more, this section could teach your grandmother to work in web design. Of course, the predilection, passion and talent is not something you can get out of a book, but if you come to the table with an interest, the way this book progresses will get you there. Sophisticated web developers, may want to skip these pages. Part 2 digs deeper into text and graphics. Part 3 focusses on layout, Part 4 looks at more advanced techniques, and Part 5 encapsulates a trio of appendices, including a healthy look at what you need to know about HTML 4.0.

Because a lot of the value in this book comes from little twists along the road, I’ll mention a few examples of what I found. Chapter 3 covers images and backgrounds and, in passing, shows some fancy tricks you can achieve by wrapping text around a table. Chapter 6 looks at frames and shows how you can load three frames at the same time with a single button click. Chapter 7 covers form handling and offers three interesting ways to make your site searchable by visitors, including a sly technique that lets the search engines, like HotBot or AltaVista, do the work for you. Because there are so many little items like this throughout the book, even if these are not new to for you, you’re sure to a find some new ideas along the way.

The most effective thing I can say about this book is that it’s loaded with information, much of it trivial and common, but a lot of it you simply won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re new to web authoring or an expert in the field, you’re likely to pick up something. The writing style is friendly and simple, the insights and experience well preserved in the content. The author puts the pieces together with eloquence and offers a glimpse at many a trick that even the most sophisticated web professional will encounter for the first time. What’s more, this book is only $20. How can you go wrong at that price?