Recommendation on books.

  machow 12:31 21 Jan 2004

Hello all

i have just finished a module in Web programming, by the skin of my teeth!!

Can anyone recommend good books on all aspects of web design (html, asp, java, etc...). Ideally aimed at beginner level and then moving up to intermediate.

There are so many books out there to choose from, but i am on quite a tight budget, so i want to make sure the books i do purchase are of value to me.

Thanks for any recommendations in advance!!


  Taran 13:07 21 Jan 2004

I'll tell you what I've told many before: there is so much free and GOOD information available on the web that investing in one particular title is sometimes a waste of time.

DevShed click here , WebMonkey click here , Web Wiz Guide click here and W3Schools click here to name just a few, between them manage to cover a very great deal of ground in useful step-by-step format.

In many cases they offer print or download versions of their articles for future reference and study, and they all teach in small chunks on the latest language standards.

HTML, as an example, will continue to be used on the web for a long time to come but XHTML combined with CSS is arguably your better bet to learn. XHTML is the future of HTML and, without going off on one, I'd suggest that in the long term it would be more valuable for you.

For Java the Sun site has free downloads for the developers runtime environment and lots of documentation including tutorials, how-to articles, getting started, sample apps and so on. Any simple text editor will allow you to write and compile your Java programs.

You could do worse than look at the excellent HTML Kit click here which is a free web editor, allowing you to use any and all of current mainstream web and programming languages. There are free plugins available for ASP, VBScript, PHP, Java, Perl/CGI and so on, and it at least will allow you to play with actual code instead of relying on one of the mainstream WYSIWYG editors to make your database connections and create the code for you on the fly.

If you really want to go with specific titles, post back and I'll jot a couple of suggestions down for you. Taking into account how often books are revised by comparison to reading, printing or downloading recent articles online, I just don't think that any one title really justifies the investment.

Also consider that many of the titles that may be suggested are quite pricey: ?40 to ?60 per book is not uncommon.


  Taran 13:10 21 Jan 2004

My pound signs got replaced with question marks.



  machow 18:12 21 Jan 2004

Thanks for the advice, i will take a look at these links first and see how i get on.

Its the programming side that i really fall down on.

Yes, i agree £40-£60 is quite pricey. I have bought books in the past, and havent really found them that useful.

  Taran 11:17 23 Jan 2004

When you say you want to learn web programming, you do realise that you should really think of one language and stick to it, at least until you are quite competent. Nothing uravels students more than trying to learn JavaScript, ASP and Perl [as an example] all at the same time.

Consider what it is you would either like to do or what it is that you have to do in relation to coursework before you go charging on in.

The good news is that JavaScript and C# stand you in pretty good stead to move into PHP, and if you're a good ASP programmer you can use a form of syntax tagging that more or less allows you to transpose to PHP with little fuss.

It very much depends on what you want or have to do, and trying to tackle more than one language at a time is asking for trouble.

I'd suggest you think of either ASP or PHP to begin with. Both of them are very mature languages capable of producing the most advanced web applications and data driven sites. Getting JavaScript to interact with data sources is far more difficult and since it is processed clientside there are a whole load of security considerations to take into account with any JavaScript that you don't have to implement in other languages.

Java on the other hand [as opposed to JavaScript] is very much in demand and popularity for it is growing steadily.

I'd seriously think about one language or system and stay with it at least until you are reasonably competent in it. You'll be surprised at how much easier it becomes tomove from one to another language once you have a good command of one.

Broadly speaking, ASP couples with Microsoft Access or SQL Server running on Windows web servers and PHP goes with MySQL on Linux/Unix web servers running Apache. It is possible to hook into Microsoft Access or SQL Server using PHP but the usual route is as I've outlined above.

There isn't anything I can think of offhand that I can do with ASP that I can't do with PHP. Factors you may want to consider for the future are cost of hosting [Linux web hosts are cheaper than Windows web hosts], potential demand for the language you choose [both ASP and PHP already have a huge following and PHP is about the fastest growing language out there], availability of resources to learn from, availability of a testing server to test your programs in and so on.

Windows XP Pro and 2000 have IIS [Internet Information Server] built in, which allows you to test and run your own ASP and Access database applications. You can also install PHP and MySQL under IIS, so you arguably get the best of both worlds. Any version of Windows can run the Apache server with PHP and MySQL on their own.

All I'm getting at is that choosing one platform and sticking with it until you have a good overall grasp, then trying out other languages, will get you much further than doing a bit of JavaScript here, some PHP tmorrow and an ASP application next week.

Have a think about the kind of things you would like to be able to do for your web programming, then bounce some ideas around in here if you like.

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