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The Web might be the most intriguing invention of the 20th century. Certainly, it is a technology that has spread faster than a California wildfire and has, in just a decade's time, changed the ways in which most contemporary societies live, work, study—and, of course, shop.

Hard to imagine that it all began as an experiment in a particle physics laboratory. Tim Berners-Lee and his fellow physicists at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) had been searching for a way to effectively share research documents across a variety of computer platforms. The Internet, with its complex, international network, was a very natural foundation upon which to house the technologies that would ultimately combine to make up the World Wide Web.

From its modest origins to the absolutely astonishing permeation into world culture, the Web, according to its father, Berners-Lee, was intended to be as much a social environment as a technical one. This idea might well have led to the fast proliferation of the Web, largely because it enables us to interact in many different ways socially via the technology, so much so that a new study of social networking has emerged to examine the social implications of the Web on society, and vice versa.

Who Should Read This Book?

You might, in fact, be a particle physicist, but this book is also intended for a wide range of nontechnical professionals interested in building websites and working with web documents for professional application within a given field, such as education, medicine, law, or science. To that end, I've written the book with a bit less technical jargon than I would for an audience of software developers, but you will find that this book, while very approachable, does get into some nitty-gritty concerns. The good news is you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand it—but if you are, it'll work out for you, too!

And, while intended for nontechnical professionals, the book will most certainly also be useful for people who are working in the web design and development field, and are interested in learning contemporary approaches to working with web pages.

How Is This Book Organized?

I've organized this book into two sections. The first focuses on HTML, the language used to structure the document and its contents.


Although HTML is still in use, it has been reformulated into a language known as Extensible Markup Language (XHTML). For general purposes, they are essentially the same, with the exception that XHTML can be extended in ways beyond the scope of the book. However, to keep up-to-date and to get you working with modern markup, XHTML is used in this book. In fact, it's an important point that I tend to use the terms HTML and XHTML interchangeably, even though they are, in fact, a bit different.

You'll learn more about HTML and XHTML in the book's first section, which contains the following chapters:

Table 1. Chapters in Section 1
ChapterTitleTeaches you how to…
1Building an HTML PageCreate a page in XHTML
2Adding Text and LinksFormat text and links
3Adding Images, Media, and ScriptsAdd dynamic content
4Creating TablesBuild effective data tables
5Building FormsCreate HTML forms
6Working with FramesWork with frames

The second section of the book focuses on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which is the language that integrates with HTML and XHTML to add the design features of the page: layout, colors, fonts, and anything decorative. You'll learn how to apply CSS to the pages you build by following the approaches found in the following chapters:

Table 2. Chapters in Section 2
ChapterTitleTeaches you how to . . .
7Using CSSIntegrate CSS with HTML
8Working with Color and Images Using CSSAdd color and imagery
9Styling TextWork with web typography
10Link Effects, Lists, and NavigationDesign with links and lists
11Margins, Borders, and PaddingGain control over space
12Positioning, Floats, and Z-indexPosition and float elements
13CSS LayoutsLay out pages with CSS

Along with the chapters, there are two very important appendixes. The first is “XHTML 1.0 Annotated Reference,” which provides a look-up along with proper usage and tips of all the elements available in XHTML 1.0. The second is “CSS 2.1 Annotated Reference,” which provides a listing, along with proper usage and tips, of all available CSS properties.

Between the chapters and the appendixes, you'll be set when it comes to the breadth of knowledge required to create great web pages using today's techniques.

What's Unusual About This Book?

This book, like the other books in the Spring Into… Series, provides the following unique approaches to the content within:

  • Each topic is explained in a discrete one- or two-page unit called a “chunk.”

  • Each chunk builds on the previous chunks in that chapter.

  • Many chunks contain sidebars and “Quantum Leaps,” which provide helpful, ancillary material that is often more advanced than the main text.

The chunk style has been specifically crafted to meet the needs of busy people. I know you don't have a lot of time to spend learning complex ideas, so giving them to you in bite-size chunks is a helpful way to get you working as fast as possible, the right way, from the get-go.

Where to Get Examples from the Book

See the book's web page www.awprofessional.com/springinto/.


Writing a book feels like a lonely process, but the fact is that many people help out. Barry Rosenberg provided much needed early guidance on how to best write in the chunk style used in this series. Along the way, three reviewers provided valuable feedback: Kimberly Blessing and Eris Free pointed out ways I could improve the text, and Daniel Smith lent his fine eye and found mistakes and points of clarification, and provided very supportive tips along the way. A special thanks to Mark Taub, who offered the fine opportunity as well as shepherded it through. Finally, to David Fugate, literary agent extraordinaire, who is always there with wit, wisdom, and great movie advice, to boot.

About the Author

Coined “one of the greatest digerati” and deemed one of the “Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web,” there is little doubt that in the world of web design and development, Molly E. Holzschlag is a vibrant and influential thinker, teacher, and author. With more than 30 web development book titles to her credit, Molly is a Steering Committee member for the Web Standards Project (WaSP and an advisory board member to the World Organization of Webmasters. She also has taught Webmaster courses for the University of Arizona, University of Phoenix, New School University, and Pima Community College. Many recognize Molly from her books, feature articles, and popular website, molly.com.

About the Series Editor

Barry Rosenberg wrote the cult classic, KornShell Programming Tutorial (Addison-Wesley, 1991), which pioneered many of the chunk-oriented techniques found in the Spring Into… Series. He is the author of more than sixty corporate technical manuals, primarily on programming. An experienced instructor, Barry has taught everything from high-school physics to weeklong corporate seminars on data structures.

Most recently, Barry spent four semesters at MIT where he taught advanced technical writing. Barry is also a professional juggler who has performed more than 1,200 shows, including a three-week run in Japan. Juggling serves as the backdrop for his novel, Cascade (not yet published). Barry currently works as the documentation manager at 170 Systems.

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