Review: Internet & World Wide Web How to Program, 4th Edition
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by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Inside the Book and Recommendations

The book is divided into five parts. Part 1 provides a basic introduction to Computers, Internet and Web browsers. It also includes a chapter devoted to Web 2.0 which covers all aspects of blogging, tagging and social book marking along with a glossary. Part 2 begins with a short overview of XHTML and CSS and also provides a comprehensive overview of JavaScript. Towards the end of the part, the authors provide a nice coverage of RSS and creation of Ajax enabled applications.

The book thoroughly examines the creation of multimedia aware applications using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight and also the usage of Dreamweaver. I wonder how the authors have failed to devote a chapter to discuss Microsoft Expression Web which is one of the popular tools among designers and ASP.NET developers. I would suggest the authors provide a brief coverage of Expression web along with the Dreamweaver chapter. However, the Silverlight chapter examines the usage of Expression Blend, which I hope will benefit readers to some extent. The authors have straight away examined Silverlight with the help of a complex project. I would suggest the authors begin the coverage of new technologies with a basic application so that it will benefit beginners a lot. The authors should also provide a short overview of Windows Presentation Framework (WPF) either along with the Silverlight chapter or preferably as a separate chapter.

Part 4 examines some of the important programming languages, such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, ASP.NET 2.0, Ajax, Java Server Faces, Web Services with Java and ASP.NET, along with a brief summary of various web servers and popular databases like MySQL. This part contains a chapter which lists few commands under the section SQL, but I feel it will cause serious confusion among readers as they do not know whether it is SQL Server or MySQL. The authors should clearly state the database language name instead of simply quoting SQL. From my point of view, the authors should cover the fundamentals of SQL Server 2005 for the benefit of developers working with Microsoft technologies.

The authors have combined the coverage of web services with both Java and ASP.NET, although they have given major thrust to Java. I feel this will cause little disappointment among .NET developers. I would suggest the publisher to cover Silverlight after ASP.NET chapter since majority of developers would be interested to learn Silverlight as well. I feel that ASP.NET 2.0 chapter will be useful for learners as it includes a case study which examines the development of books database application. Moreover, the authors must provide a rough overview of ASP.NET 3.5 as well, since its release is around the corner. As of now, readers need to wait until the next edition of the book to see its content and by that time a new version will be released.

The authors, however, maintain an exhaustive resource center for various technologies and I hope readers will refer to them as and when needed. It contains many interesting facts which are not covered on the book and are regularly updated as well. I would prefer to see the coverage of PERL and Phython in the next edition as the book is not specific to one particular technology. The authors should also examine the Internet related aspects involved with Linux operating system so that it will help those readers who are not well versed with the environment.

The book concludes with a set of six useful appendixes on XHTML special characters, Colors, JavaScript operator precedence chart, ASCII character set and a short coverage of number systems and unicode. Each chapter contains complete numbered and colored source code, relevant screenshots, common programming errors, good programming practice tips, error prevention tips, list of useful resources with relevant link and explanation, section wise bulleted summary, list of terminologies and self review exercise questions. I would suggest the authors to provide answers to self review questions at the end of the book rather than at the end of each set of questions. There is absolutely no use in providing both questions and answers at the same place since it does not serve any purpose for instructors and students.

Although the book examines the aspects of Internet and World Wide Web, it does not cover the steps required to host a site which I feel is important especially from the perspective of beginners. I would suggest the authors to provide a list of tools and utilities available for various technologies covered on the book as most of the readers are unaware of exciting third party CMS, Forums and Chat applications.

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