From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 21:15:39 Pacific Time, Tuesday, 14 December 2004.

Web Design in a Nutshell

   by Jennifer Niederst

    15 October, 2001


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Editorial description(s):
In 1998, Jennifer Niederst wrote the first edition of this very successful book after she found herself spending way too much time chasing down the solutions to HTML problems. From hexadecimal color specs to mouseover scripts, the answers are all out there, but finding the exact one you need can soak up a whole day. "I wrote Web Design in a Nutshell because it was the book I needed--one place to find quick answers to my questions."

With all that's changed in the meantime, an overhaul is welcome. This is the rare book for designers that is almost completely nonvisual. It doesn't show what's hip in navigational bars or what the coolest colors are. Rather, it gives readers the kind of know-how that can make a difference between someone who just whips up pretty pages with WYSIWYG applications like Dreamweaver and someone who can make those pages cross-platform, cross-browser, fast loading, and accessible to all.

The clear organization makes it easy to locate any specific topic. There are six sections. "The Web Environment" discusses the realities of browser compatibility, display-resolution problems, a useful bit of Unix, and tips for print designers looking to move into Web design. "Authoring" shows how to write accurate and up-to-date HTML, cascading style sheets, and Server Side Includes (like putting the current date and time on your homepage).

"Graphics" brings together all you need to know to make effective use of images (GIFs, JPEGS, PNGs, and animated GIFs). "Multimedia and Interactivity" helps with adding audio, video, or Flash to your site (including some succinct tips on optimization and publish settings). And "Advanced Technologies" covers JavaScript, DHTML, XML, XHTML, and WAP and WML. And there are six useful look-up tables in the appendix, which include HTML 4.0 tags, deprecated tags, attributes, and CSS support across browsers. Web Design in a Nutshell could easily have been titled The Web Designer's Companion--it's mighty handy to have around. --Angelynn Grant

From Library Journal
Niederst discusses everything a web designer needs, from basic principles and HTML to designing for multiple browsers, cascading style sheets, and XML. For a working web designer this book will be an invaluable quick reference, and it is written well enough that someone just starting out on the web could also use it. Highly recommended for all libraries.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the

From Book News, Inc.
Includes discussions of the Web environment, monitors, and browsers; a complete reference to HTML and Server Side Includes, containing browser support for every tag and attribute; chapters on creating GIF, JPEG, and PNG graphics, and designing with the Web Palette; information on multimedia and interactivity, including audio, video, Flash, Shockwave, and JavaScript; a tutorial and reference on Cascading Style Sheets; and appendices on detailing HTML tags, attributes, deprecated and proprietary tags, and CSS compatibility. This is not a source for programming, scripting, or server functions, but is geared to all levels of expertise, including the lack thereof.Book News, Inc.®, Portland, OR --This text refers to the

Book Info
New edition is completely updated for the latest web browsers, graphics editors and authoring tools. New material on web standards, printing, accessibility, Flash, and designing for wireless devices is included. Softcover. Previous edition c1998.

Book Description
Web Design in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition contains the nitty-gritty on everything you need to know to design web pages. It's the good stuff, without the fluff, written and organized so that answers can be found quickly. This completely revised and expanded second edition is chock-full of information about the wide range of front-end technologies and techniques from which web designers and authors must draw. This book is an excellent reference for HTML 4.01 tags (including tables, frames, forms, color, and cascading style sheets) with special attention given to browser support, platform idiosyncracies, and standards. You'll also find lots of updated information on using graphics, multimedia, audio and video, and advanced technologies such Dynamic HTML, Javascript, and XML, as well as new chapters on XHTML, WML, and SMIL. Web Design in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition is an indispensible tool for web designers and authors of all levels.

Reader review(s):

The Return of the Least Weasel, September 25, 2001
When a book is as good as this one, later editions can't improve it; they can only update it.

That's what this one does. The second edition of Jennifer Niederst's comprehensive reference on web design now takes account of HTML 4.01; the stuff on browsers takes account of Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape 6.

And what else is there to say? Just like the first edition (but with a handful of additional topics and updates to the existing ones), this volume provides a thorough "desktop quick reference" on the entire spectrum of web design -- a general introduction to and overview of the Web itself; authoring using HTML, cascading style sheets, and server side includes; graphics (GIF, JPEG, and PNG formats, colors, and animation); multimedia (audio, video, Flash, Shockwave, and introductory Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language); and advanced topics like JavaScript, DHTML, XML, XHTML, WAP, and WML. The appendices still provide easily-thumbable tables of HTML elements, attributes, tags nobody officially likes anymore, proprietary (i.e., browser-specific) tags, a chart showing which browsers support which CSS features, and all the special characters you can use in HTML (you know, these; things;).

And you probably also already know who Jen Niederst is; if not, go read my review of her book _Learning Web Design_, which you should buy first anyway if you're new to the subject. Anyway, she's a terrific writer with intimate knowledge of all the little details you need to know in order to do web design effectively; guides just don't come any better.

You know all of this already if you have the first edition. If not, then all you need to know is that this is an updated version of -- no contest -- the best available single-volume reference on web design, written by -- no contest -- the person best qualified to write it. It's complete; it's accessible; it's well-designed; it's O'Reilly.

Oh -- and the "least weasel" is the species of weasel pictured on the cover.

Comprehensive and complete Coverage, January 12, 2000
This was my first purchase from the Nutshell series and I was particularly pleased with the content. The layout is very tidy and easy to navigate.

I would consider my knowledge of the internet and web design at an intermediate level, and I would recommend this book to anyone other than a complete novice. Each section is concise and to the point and does not assume too much.

The section on CGI scripting and Server Side Includes, I found invaluable. It was easily explained in basic terms and provided plenty of examples to get these working. In addition there are lots of references in the book to resources available on the web.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read, if you want only one web reference book on your desk this year, this should be it.

This book is not about design., May 5, 1999
I think it is appalling that this book got such rave reviews. ALthough it is a good HTML (and more reference), it misses the point of good web design - you can know all the technique, but if your pages don't look good, then you're missing the boat (hence the word, _design_).

The book does nothing for building a sense of web aesthetic into the reader. Yes, to some extent, good web design is subjective and designing for the web is a new paradigm. But now that the web is no longer entirely new and there have been some lessons learned in design, good designers know what works and what doesn't, and this book did not tell me that stuff the way some other books did.

Let's not get wooed solely by the O'Reilly name. Although they treat technical aspects expectecly well, this book fails to instruct on the other half of good web design, namely, making pages that are intuitive, well-designed, and graphically superb.

A reference for all seasons, July 4, 2002
If you design web sites, even just for your own personal use, this is a book to keep by your computer. In it you'll find the answer to just about any designing problem you face.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of web design is how to make a site not only attractive but accessible to a variety of browsers and to have it look the way you want it to in each. Niederst begins there. She explains browsers (most people seem to use Navigator rather than Explorer)and a variety of design strategies. To design for the lowest common denominator (for instance), splitting the difference or something for everyone --the choice is yours.

Chapters are divided into Designing for different browsers, for a variety of displays, Web design principles, a guide to the server. She includes a great overview of HTML, tags, text, links and adding images, tables, forms and frames. Under graphics she explains GIF, JPEG, PNG and teaches designing graphics. There's also lots of information on animated GIFs, audio, interactivity and javascript.

In a section titled Emerging Technologies she explains cascading style sheets, DHTML, XML, embedded font technology and internationalization. In the appendixes you'll find HTML tags and elements, list of attributes, deprecated tags, proprietary tags and CSS compatibility.

This book is basic and thorough, but it's going to have to be revised for Windows XP. That aside, it's a useful reference because it's easy to find information and Niederst seems to be able to anticipate problems, explain them and provide useful solutions. So far the answer to every question I've had has been easy to find in this book. I give it the highest recommendation. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that I've recently decided to reserve those for exceptionally beautiful writing.

Not a starter book but superb as a reference, August 24, 2001
This is a nutshell book, plain and simple. It's not intended to teach you HTML but it will help you hone your coding and web design skills. I read this book after learning HTML from Sams' "Teach Yourself HTML in 4 Hours." The former provided the appetizer, this book provides the meat and potatoes. It's best feature is the tips and tricks sprinkled throughout each section, particularly as they apply to getting the same effect in different browsers. The book also highlights IE quirks and Netscape bugs for various HTML tags and provides examples for workarounds. Most invaluable are the various tables included in the text: "MIME Types and Subtypes by Extension," "Decimal to Hexadecimal Equivalents," "Colors w/ their RGB and Web-safe hex values," and a full listing of character entities (@=@). You may be able to find this info. elsewhere, but rarely in one location as it is here. I would highly recommend this reference for any webmaster's desktop library.

It seems to follow me where ever I go., February 25, 2000
If you looking for immediate answers to isolated questions. Then you'll love this book. It's indexed by tag name, attribute and normal keywords. At the same time the chapters develop logically starting from basic HTML page layout and moving into working with text, tables, frames and forms. There's a few sections on graphics and colors, and a brief sprinkling of server issues and some Javascript. Each section generally starts out with a brief description of each tag including a summary of all attributes and browser compatibility. This is followed by a more tutorial approach in which greater insight is provided into the usage and interaction of tags and attributes. This helps to develop a more conceptualized understanding of the topic at hand. In my opinion the topics were developed out of a sense of "How do I accomplish the presentation needs I will run into in trying to develop websites attractive and easy to navigate?" So for example Javascript is not covered in any great detail. The basic intent was to provide a simple example of how one would use events such as OnMouseOver and OnMouseOut inorder to describe how to build rollover buttons. The sketch of the an otter on the front cover of this book is truly appropriate for me. I always imagine the otter saying to all of his programming buddies. Hey summarize all that stuff in all of those books because I like to travel light and have fun and I don't want to carry what I don't need.

Comprehensive but Outdated, January 30, 2001
I'm amazed at the range of topics covered by this book, especially because it was published in early 1999. It contains information on HTML 4, PNG, animated GIFs, multimedia, JavaScript, dynamic HTML, and XML. There are several noticable gaps, however. For example, the
The book's biggest weakness is that much has changed in the past two years. HTML 4.01, XHTML, Java servlets, MNG (animated PNGs), Internet Explorer 5.5, and Netscape 6 have appeared. Of course, this book doesn't mention any of these. If you want to stay informed of the latest technologies, you'll have to buy a more up-to-date book in addition to this one.

Excellent Nutshell book, February 3, 2000
This one covers it all--from web design to working with image files to HTML coding to designing a file system to configuring Apache. There's a lot of stuff that's in here that ISN'T in O'Reilly's "HTML: The Definitive Guide"--including configuring server-side includes (a glaring omission in the other book). Not a beginner's book (the Visual QuickStart guides from Peach Pit Press are better for beginners), but if you need a quick reference for web design, this is the one.

Nutshell? That's a joke., March 16, 2002
I...grabbed my copy of this for a reference. Bad choice. My jaw must have dropped open as I read the history of video...This is a "nutshell"? I am reading stories about QuickTime version 2 and Netscape 3? What possible use is it, in web development, to be lectured about 5 year out of date standards?

I want to place video on a website NOW and there are nasty problems that these [people] completely overlook in their banal history lessons and definitions... Read this quote: "Both Netscape 3.0+ and Internet Explorer 3.0+ come with QuickTime plug-in players, so the majority of web readers are able to view QuickTime movies right in their browser."

...Fact is that in the real world everyone's "free video player" is junked up with advertising and tries to play each other's formats. The upshot is that the web designer cannot control or guarantee how video will play or if it will at all. This book still lives in the dreamland that video on a website was possible and simple once upon a time...long, long ago, before the Justice Department lawsuit against Microsoft.

This book should be in a museum for people designing with a Macintosh on OS ...building website for that "hot new" web browser called Opera or for WebTV, or who really want their sites to look good in version 3 of Netscape.

...How can you call 500 pages of 9pt type a nutshell? This book has no idea what a nutshell is, so I resent the title as false advertising. This book needs a competent editor and 3 versions worth of updates before it is useful. And you can trim all those explanations. If someone doesn't know what a gif is what would they need a web design book for? Cut the length in half!

This is no nutshell and that animal on the cover is no squirrel. That is a weasel and so is this book.

My "Desert Island" web book, November 14, 2000
I will only be repeating what other reviewers have said, but if I could have just one book on my desk, this would be it. I'm notorious for purchasing a new book each week on every aspect of information design and web development, but few catch my attention for longer than a week (yes, it's a vicious circle). It is rare that I'll reference one after my initial read.

However, Web Design in a Nutshell has not left my side in the 18 months I've owned it. It was my introduction to CSS & layers, is a wonderful Javascript and HTML tag resource, and has just enough about Unix & CGI scripts to get me through.

Let me put it this way: I refuse to lend this book out to people anymore, because I always end up reaching for it. I'm thinking of purchasing a second copy exclusively for lending out.

Top Reference for Web Work, October 26, 2001
The second edition has greatly improved on my favorite Web development reference. I had nearly worn out my copy of the first edition. Jennifer Niederst has completely updated the content and the reference tables to incorporate in this guide the breadth of elements available for those that code and program the Web. This edtion is broken into sections that are easily scanned by the reader looking for answers to questions. The reference tables have been updated to now include elements that have been depreciated (or not longer considered fully supported by the standards boards), as well as the recently approved elements. This version is thicker than the last so I will have to gladly expand my notch for it on my bookshelf that is within easy reach.

The best of the best, May 5, 2000
In my quest to find the best all-around book for HTML learning and reference, all roads seemed to lead here. I was fortunate, therefore, to have stumbled across it over a year ago, in Israel, of all places, where a friend of mine was teaching himself everything about the web entirely from this book. I figured if he could go from zero web and programming skills to a relatively accomplished web guy (which he did), the book would probably be of good use to me. I was right.

Granted it is NOT for pure beginners... if you barely know how to switch on your machine, this book will be daunting. But even if you are just starting out at web design or making the switch from Print to Web, this is an invaluable book, going into useful detail about web-specific issues, print-vs-web stuff, as well as a very complete reference which never leaves my desktop.

This whole "In A Nutshell" series has been a constant companion for me in the last few years - they are absolutely wonderful.

Indispensible reference, November 30, 1999
Very comprehensive, and a great reference for techie-types who are diving into web design and development. I keep one copy on my desk at work, and one next to my computer at home. Niederst captured a number of things better than most authors: the 216-color web-safe palette, image types, HTML forms and tables, cross-browser compatability, and live space (the amount of space, in pixels, you have to work with depending on monitor resolution, platform and browser). If you want to take your understanding of web design to the next level, buy this book.

this book is ABS(fantastic), June 14, 2000
What a great book!

Concise, just great. There are already 46 reviews so I am not sure what more I can add, I just want to say that it is very worthwhile.

If you're having doubts and browsing the reviews, as I do, then let me assure you it is a great book.

Firstly, it will serve as a good reference when you know it all.

Secondly, it will help you learn it all.

WARNING: if you are very very much a beginner, you might also want some other beginner books to get you into it. I still recommend it, but perhaps with another, beginner book as well.

If you are computer literate it will help you learn FAST ... rather than wade through lots of nonsense.

Read the other reviews - nearly everyone thought it was great, except 2 people and I honestly think they are confusing this book with some other book ...... perhaps they just came out of the nutshell.

If you are working in IT you should have heaps of cash anyway so get it ... lol

The Best Reference Book around, May 18, 2000
This has to be the best reference book around for web design. It covers all concepts of web design and includes a full list of tags in the HTML 4.0 specification plus what is and isn't proprietary to a particular browser. From CSS to Javascript to Images and SSI, this book brushes the basics on everything. It isn't a book for learning about web design, it was written for those who already know something but need quick look ups. I keep this book next to my computer at all times and even take it with me on the road if I know I'll be working on design. I always refer to this book first when I have a question on web design. It is a must have reference book!

Good desktop book, November 30, 1999
The nutshell series books has another winner. Nice compact book that fits on your desk with a wealth of concise, useful information. In 30 minutes I found 6 things that I had be trying to figure out how to do for a year. Covers what works in what browser, really well. Very readable too.

600 pages of HTML., September 19, 2002
As someone who has struggled with the user un-friendly GoLive I bought this book hoping for some clarity. But this is some nutshell--it reads (and visually appears) like The United States Penal Code In A Nutshell.

If you are a professional web designer and you need a reference that's like the unabridged dictionary, this might do it.

Granted, Dreamweaver and GoLive are so complex, you probably could just write your own code. But no thanks.

There is one lesson that this book really brings home. Desiging an exciting site that looks good on all monitors and with all browsers, is not fun, is not easy and is not user friendly. But that's not the book's fault.

In fairness, this is not the most difficult book out there. If you just can't get enough complexity there are the Real World books.

Excellent Reference, April 11, 2002
As a web design student I was looking for a good reference book. This book is it! Hands down!! I was tired of trying to look up things I learned from 5 or 6 books, plus the internet. HTML, CCS and Introduction to Javascript and DHTML plus others. There is a great section on creating web graphics. I learned more from the book than I did in my "web graphics" class. Jennifer has laid out the cross browser/platform problems. This has already been a tremedous help in bringing everything I learned together in my mind. The format of this book is excellent and easy to read. This is not a beginners book. There are no fancy pictures and type is small. It might be overwhelming. For beginners I recommend Jennifer's book "Learning Web Design".

This excellent reference book gets near-daily use!, August 14, 2000
This book has been my best friend for about a year now. It contains very concise definitions of common web design tools, and very useful examples on how to implement concepts. My background is in engineering, and I was looking for a tool that summarized terms, tags, concepts, and languages. I did not want a lot of oversimplified, verbose explanations. This book fit my needs perfectly.

This is an ideal reference for someone who has some background in programming, and just wants to know what syntax to use. If you are beginner, this book alone may not be enough for you to get started in web design, but it will certainly become a valueable reference for you in the future.

A Great General Reference, February 24, 2000
Simply put, this book has everything inclusive of the kitchen sink. It is concisely written, but unfortunately, some of the book's slenderness stems from a few skimpy sections. For example, although the Javascript chapter covers the most frequently used Javascripts, you will need to buy a separate Javascript book in order to learn the scripting language well. The CSS section is very good, considering its brevity. All of the issues are covered; therefore, the book is a great general reference to web design, one which should be near to your computer. For more detail though, you will need other books focusing on the specific issue in web design, such as Javascript.

Great Overall Reference for Web Design, February 17, 2000
It gives one the essence of what you need to know without superfluous language. As good as it is from that point of view, it is disappointingly slim on Javascript. If you want to learn Javascript, you will need a different book. It also is good about providing the necessary design principles for Web building. It should be on your shelf, if you are a serious Web author/designer/master.

A crucial resource for HTML Production!, December 5, 1999
An excellent source of tips and tricks as well as the basics for HTML production. I bought a copy for everyone on my design/production team!

Excellent book for the "not quite a beginner" to Web design, August 30, 2004
This book takes novice to intermediate designers to the next level and is also useful as a desktop quick reference. Many buy such books and end up never opening them or maybe a few times before it's outdated. I admit I'm one of those people, but not when it comes to the weasel (picture on the cover) book. This is the book the professor assigned for one of my first Web design classes and it is responsible for my learning tables, CSS, and knowing when to make a graphics file .gif or .jpg.

It's the most well worn Web design book I have in my collection and the only HTML book I ever bought. Thankfully, there is little that's changed in the format of the book because it wasn't broken. Niederst takes the appropriate steps to update it and expand the sections that are more relevant today such as HTML 4.01 and new versions of browsers including Netscape 6 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.

Expect an entire orchestra of instruments relevant to Web design, along with the specific details and tricks you should know. It may seem a bit much that Niederst covers HTML, CSS, SSI, graphics, multimedia, JavaScript, DHTML, XML, XHTML, WAP, and WML. However, she appropriately magnifies essential things while the advanced or "you may want to explore" topics are touched upon to give an idea of how it works with suggestions for further reading

The book starts off by addressing the biggest challenge of designing a site that looks good in every browser and version. "Designing for a Variety of Browsers" has a two-page chart of various browsers and versions for the Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX environments, showing what each supports and doesn't support.

The next chapter covers another source of frustration for designers, "Designing for a Variety of Displays." If you monitor your Web visitor stats, then you'll probably notice that no size leads the majority especially with WebTV, handheld, and cellular devices accessing the Internet. There are screen shots of browser and system measurements and tips for designing for various displays.

Chapter 26, "Flash and Shockwave" explains what it is, advantages and disadvantages, introduces you to the Flash interface, adding a Flash file to a Web page, and integrating it with other technologies. Flash is a whole different animal and the book gives you the big picture of how it fits with designing Web pages. The following chapter on SMIL covers the same basics.

Part V addresses the advanced technologies including JavaScript, DHTML, XML, XHTML, and WAP and WML. It's useful to have these all close together at the end of the book to help you figure out which you may want to use for a Web project.

As useful as special characters can be, I never remember what to type to make the symbol appear, though I know these now. Finding the special character chart is the only complaint I had from the original edition and not even the index helped me find it, so I had to tab the page. This has now been remedied with one of the best improvements of moving the special character reference chart to the appendix for speedy access. Other appendices in the book are listings of HTML tags, attributes, deprecated tags, proprietary tags, and CSS compatibility and support.

As your design skills and knowledge grow, there is always a question that prompts you to open the book and get your answer. It holds true today as I retire the worn out book with a loose page thanks to a certain child and happily replace it with its new younger sibling.

First edition was great!, April 17, 2003
I am buying the second ed. because the first was terrific! For an html newbie, I was able to create a working web site with this book. Excellent organization, great examples, and I really like the way she explained the problems one faces with various codes, approaches, and how to avoid or overcome them. I'd say this is one of the best technical books I've ever read.


Best book out there for understanding HTML, December 21, 1999
This title is written in an easy to read format that will quickly get you writing HTML like a pro. Highly recommended.

The edges are already worn., August 23, 1999
This is the book I would like to have written. An easy to use reference that contains the details a professional website builder needs. The browser-compatability chart and minimum/maximum window dimension charts were worth the price alone. (I'd already spent about 4 hours trying to put one together before I found this book.)

It's not a tutorial; it's a reference with a lot of explanations. If you're brand new to HTML, you *might* need something more lesson-based, but buy this one, too. Eventually, you're going to use it.

Excelente. Lo recomiendo sin duda, July 9, 1999
Es verdaderamente bueno. Una referencia imprescindible. Si quieres hacer paginas que resulten profesionales, tienes que comprarlo. Aprenderas un monton de cosas que te costaria horrores aprenderlas sin este librito. Merece el dinero que cuesta

Beginner's Reference, June 28, 2004
Whether First of Second edition, this book is definitely dated material, and in need of regular update. So, there a certainly parts that no longer apply to the current state of Web Design.

However, there are still portions that are pertinent and valuable for web designers, especially those just getting into the art. The author offers guidance from broad design principles to specifics of forms, frames and graphics. The basics have not really changed, just the tools. The layout of the book by topic makes it very useful for reference and the samples provide a basis for the budding web developer and designer (WDaD) to build on. Couple this book with any of a number of good HTML and Scripting books and the new WDaD will be well on their way toward designing usable and appealing web sites.

Bottom line - not worth list price at the time of this review; if you can get it at a steep discount it is still worth getting. P-)

Can be useful, but mainly about web PAGE design, September 1, 2003
Maybe it's because I'm primarily a web software developer and not a graphic artist, but I just can't empathise with a lot of the glowing reviews for this book.

I bought this as a companion to the excellent "Webmaster in a Nutshell", but was somewhat disappointed. It seems at first glance to be packed with useful stuff, but the core of day-to-day material on HTML, JavaScript, SSI, CSS and so on is virtually the same as in "Webmaster in a Nutshell", and the rest is mostly hand-waving introductions to topics such as streaming audio and video on the web or, strangely, an Adobe Photoshop tutorial.

Even stranger, the one topic it doesn't seem to cover is web design (as I understand the term). There's nothing about how to create interesting, useful, impressive or "sticky" sites, and precious little about page layout, navigation or information architecture.

My recommendation would have to be to think about this book if you want some the tools to pretty-up a page or two, but buy "Webmaster in a Nutshell" for the nuts and bolts, and then look for a decent "web design" book which is actually about web design rather than just web page construction.

Overall Very Good Reference, June 3, 2002
I like this book in its one stop shopping quality. As a reference it does more than just skim topics- for most topics you need to get up and running with you probably have everything you need here. For more advanced coverage of a topic you'd probably want to buy a book on just that, but it goes surprisingly deep on each topic. Also very comprehensive. A must for anyone new to the web and anyone who wants a big picture view of the web and its tools.

Very Good Comprehensive Guide to Web Design, March 1, 2002
Overall, this book is the best I've found for explaining all the related web technologies: HTML, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, audio and graphics, and everything else you can find on the web. If there's one book you can rely on for all your web work, it's this one. Of course, if you do substantial CSS, JavaScript, CGI, or servlet work, you'll want separate books for those subjects, too, but this book at least covers the basics of those topics.

One of the major drawbacks of the book is the omission of critical details. For example, it's difficult and frustrating to write XHTML or strict HTML using this book as a guide, because throughout the book only transitional HTML is explained. The book also doesn't explain which charset you should use for your web pages, or exactly when you need to return true or false from event handlers. Due to the poor timing of this book's release, it isn't fully updated for MSIE 6.0, which will become the world's most popular browser in 2002. The numerous other omissions and obsolete details prevent me from giving it a 5-star rating -- see the errata at the O'Reilly web site for all the details.

Even with all its faults, this is the best book on HTML and related technologies I've found, and it's mostly updated to be current with mid-2001 browsers and tools. I'm hoping that I can rate an improved version of this book 5 stars in the near future!

Handy book with useful info, January 4, 2001
Yep, this seems to have it all. I just spent the last few hours pouring over this book and have found quite a few things I hadn't found elsewhere (on the web or otherwise), like Netscapes habit of collapsing blank cells in tables, etc. I find these types of references increadably handy.

I highly recommend this book for anyone serious about the web or web design.

My best purchase at to date.


Best reference, July 25, 2000
I think it's best web book I ever read since it covers about web publishing in general detail, not so specific with some tools in the market. For myself, I'm an intermediate level in web publishing but I still found some technical detail in this book which I never known before.The strong point of this book is that it covers nearly all technology aspects about web and make the comparison between them in benefit and drawback such as "The difference between Java and Shockwave".This book also shows you URL for additional detail about topics it described.

A Must-Have!, February 18, 2000
I used to have several HTML and Web Design books beside my computer. Now, I don't pile as many books as before because Web Design in a Nutshell guides me through. It talks about almost everything you need to know on how to put up a decent website-- the web environment, HTML, graphics, multimedia and interactivity, and the emerging technologies. It is a handy reference-- organized and easy-to-read. A must-have beside your computer.

Excellent - good reference, readable text, January 24, 2000
Not often do I find a reference that I can also sit down and read. This is one. Covers the html tags, but also gets into aesthetics of page design. Highly recommend!

Outstanding Quick Reference, October 6, 1999
As someone who learnt HTML largely by trial and error, this book provided anwsers to many of my questions and helped me introduce some sort of standard to my coding. The information provided on tables and particular browser real estate are invalueble. This book is a must for anyone who wishes to appreciate what comprises good, adequate, or poor HTML coding practice.

Excellent for learning and reference., September 13, 1999
This book was so good, I read it from cover to cover as if it was a novel. As a novice web publisher, I was happy to see each subject covered in sufficient detail to get me going, and with many examples. I still use it constantly as a reference.

a *MUST HAVE* for web developers, June 1, 1999
560 pages, and every single one is worth reading. Very nicely written, easy to understand, great examples. Covers everything from developing for different browsers all the way up to XML, DHTML, and CSS (and everything else possible in between!) I refer to this book daily and it never steers me wrong. Answers all those pesky questions that no other books address. Get this book and you will not be dissappointed. A definite must have for all web developers and designers. Although a basic knowledge of HTML/web design would be helpful. The chapters on Tables is worth the price by itself.

Please don't buy this book!, March 20, 1999
As a web design consultant, I've always maintained a competitive edge by knowing a ton of coding tricks and tips of the trade. These "secrets" have kept me in the field for a long time.

Now along comes this book. With it's tricks, tips, and trade "secrets" all published for everyone to see.

Oh no! Now I'm out of a job. Great. Thanks a lot, Jennifer.

(This was written with two big heaps of sarcasm. The number of stars I give show how I really feel about this book.)

Outstanding Material (slightly outdated by now though), May 6, 2004
Let me get this out of the way first: The information in this book is somewhat outdated by now. I wish there was a more current edition available.

With that being said; I found the information in this book to be most helpful. For the topic that it covers, it is the most efficiently comprehensive reference I have found. it provided me with a great understanding of things to consider when developing for the internet and also provided many examples/tips for tackling common webpage design problems. I felt the book was laid out very well and as a reference, I have had no trouble finding information when I have needed it. I found this book to be very easy to read and understand. My hat's off to Jennifer! Very nicely done!

Great reference, February 13, 2004
I've used this book more than any other technical book I've ever owned. It's always by my side when I'm doing a large amount of HTML and CSS development. It's extraordinarily organized, and I refer to it constantly. The only reason I can't give this title five stars is that by my rating system it's not absolutely essential reading for technical leaders. There are other books that have the same reference material as this one; however, none of them do as good a job conveying it.

I own the first edition, and it's since been updated. (I need to by the new edition myself.) You should strongly consider getting The Web Design CD Bookshelf CD-ROM which includes a paper and electronic edition of the second edition plus electronic editions of five more great O'Reilly titles. Having this as an eBook on your laptop would be an incredibly useful resource.

Very strong on HTML, May 1, 2002
This book provides an overview of just about all the topics required to design a web site, and is an excellent HTML reference. I especially like the way the browser compatibility of the various elements is presented. At a glance it is easy to see whether a particular element is compatible with a specific browser version.

Being a webdesigner this anwswers all my questions., July 29, 2001
I had purchased this book about 5 monthes ago before i started this big design project. During the design project my partner and i had multiple questions regarding some design principles such as live space and pixel dimentions. This book in the first 50 pages answered ALL of our questions and even listed the solutions we came up with. This is the most comprehensive and up to date design book about the web i've ever read. Highly recommended for any type of web developer from beginner to advanced.

Jack of all trades, master of none, July 10, 2001
If you are looking for a book that covers a large range of material on various Internet technologies, this book is for you. I really came away with a good feel for the basics of HTML, web design, audio, video, display concepts, etc. However, if you want to learn HTML in-depth, look elsewhere. Jennifer Niederst focuses on summarizing a ton of breadth, but gives specific details in only a few instances. This is a great starter book to get you excited about Web technologies, but other texts will be needed for more in-depth learning.

Great for both learning and quick reference, March 31, 2001
This book's overall view on pretty much all aspects of webdesign makes it perfect for people who are to learn some basics/intermediate web designing, as well as for more experienced readers who are looking for a good reference book for when memory fails - without this book I would've been stuck for hours trying to remember some style sheets properties and a few basic javascript that kept slipping out of my mind. A life saver!

indispensable reference, March 24, 2001
This is not a design book, per se, but simply titling it "HTML in a Nutshell" would have been misleading as it covers not only HTML, but Unix basics, various graphics formats, CSS, JavaScript, CGI, SSI, and so on. Concisely written and well organized, this book is an essential reference that is still useful two years after its original publication. This is probably not the right book if you are new to web design, but once you know the basics, you'll want to keep this book by your side any time you work on a web page.

The most useful web development reference available, June 21, 2000
(Review of 1st Ed.)
Web Design in a Nutshell is well organized, the index is excellent, the writing clear, and there are plentiful examples of the various concepts discussed. It contains charts covering almost every set of function/browser compatibility, as well as reference tables for everything from colors (including an excellent discussion on the use of websafe colors) to ASCII elements.

It covers the basic elements of web design, ranging from basic design principles to browsers and types of displays; basic html elements to image formats; and Cascading Style Sheets to JavaScript and basic server background.

In four years of building web sites, this is the best overall reference I've found. It summarizes the basics well enough to be a good overview for the beginner; covers a wide array of web elements to help the intermediate user expand their knowledge; and is an excellent quick reference for the experienced.

If I could have only one web development book on my desk, this would be it.

(Comments on 2nd Ed.)
Still the best single-volume reference for developers.

Niederst has added sections on DHTML, XML, XHTML, WAP/WML, updated information on browser compatibility, added to the information on graphics, audio/video, Flash, etc. There is also more information on accessibility, internationalization, and servers. The Design Principles section has been expanded, while other sections, especially under "html", have been broken out into smaller segments with their own side tabs. The character entity chart has been moved to the back as Appendix F, and the CSS compatibility chart, html elements, depreciations, and proprietary codes appendices have been enlarged.

As with the 1st Ed., the index is excellent. The new organization is logical, but if you're used to the 1st Ed. layout the changes may take a little getting used to, as many things aren't where you left them. For example, the color code chart has been moved from near the beginning to the middle of the book in a special section on "Color in HTML".

While it doesn't cover every web development topic as thoroughly as a shelf full of specialty books would, Niederst has culled the most important information and used it to create an excellent (updated) quick reference. Especially handy for contractors and people who find themselves working on the road.

Too good to be true, June 8, 2000
This book, by far, is the best web design book I have ever read. It is perfect for someone who is trying to get into the field of web design. The author has done an excellent job by explaining everything possible a beginner needs to know. The language is so casual and simple and there are excellent examples and references. I would highly recommend it to someone who is considering a good introduction book. Kudos to the author and the folks at O'Reilly for a job more than well done!

The HTML Bible!, June 1, 2000
I could not imagine designing web pages without this book on my desk. It clearly describes all the design considerations a good web designer should evaluate. The HTML tag reference is really good and is a must have tool.

A reference I could not do without!, July 14, 1999
This book is fantastic for dipping into when you just can't remember that bit of html code. I have found it extremely handy as well for things like javascript code and image information. Out of all the computer books I have in my collection, this one was the most useful I have ever come across for day to day use. (All the O'Reilly books have such beautiful covers too!)

Great for CSS reference, March 28, 2003
Could be more comprehensive, but I guess I should have bought a CSS book for that!! Overall, it's a great reference to have for the kind of person that does programming and design of websites.

My web design bible, February 23, 2003
I got the first edition of this book not long after it came out, around the time when I was still new to building web sites. I was shopping in my University bookstore when I decided I wanted to get a few reference books for my web design hobby. There was a wide range available, but I was looking for a small handful of books to use as a reference for whenever I got stuck.

When I spotted Web Design in a Nutshell I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for. It covered the topics I needed in just the right amount of detail, not too technical but not patronising either. Needless to say, I only did buy the one book that day, it was the best �15 I ever spent on a computer book!

The first edition of Web Design in a Nutshell was the tattiest computer book I owned, and with very good reason. While I may be a dab hand with the old HTML code, there are times when I'm not sure if I'm using the right code or if a certain tag will work. I wish that there were more books like this, it has enough detail to satisfy those new to HTML as well as an easy to use reference for those with bad memories!

The second version of Web Design in a Nutshell contains all the same quality information as the first (revised and updated obviously). One of the most important changes made is to update the advice given about the use of CSS in favor of depreciated tags now that CSS is better supported. Revised chapters on the images formats and the new ones added covering new topics such as SMIL and designing for mobile devices make the book more appealing to a much wider web developing audience. As ever there is the useful HTML reference and CSS support chart, which, to be honest was the main reason for me buying the 2nd edition soon after it was printed!

This book, whatever version you can get your hands on, is a must have. I've often found myself referring to Web Design in a Nutshell as my "Web Design Bible", it is the only HTML reference book I have! The only thing that lets it down, is its suceptability to age - web technologies move quickly and I'll no doubt be updating my copy of this book as and when new versions become available.

Please don't waste your money on this book., November 7, 1999
One star is only because i could not leave it blank.I think the mind of the authur was somewher else when she wrote this book . I can't believe a word if any one tell me that they underestand this book . I am a degree student and had more joy with inferia books at the liberary and i am just going to warn people to throw thiere money away and they'll be better off than reading this book .

Hot Dang! That's a good reference book!, September 9, 1999
The O'Reilly folks have their stiff in order. This is a great reference for any front-end web-building you want to do. Pair this with O'Reilly's "Webmaster in a Nutshell" book, and you can do just about anything you want. Good stuff!

It's like having an experienced web guru sitting next to you, March 10, 1999
I wish that I had this book 6 months ago. More than a "here are the tags, this is what they do" reference, Niederst shows you the solutions to all of the oddball problems that you would otherwise only stumble upon after years of experience. I am a professional webmaster, and people are always asking me to recommend books on building web pages. This is the first one that I've actually recommended. The information in this book is more valuable than books I've seen that cost three times as much.

Great reference, February 13, 2004
I've used this book more than any other technical book I've ever owned. It's always by my side when I'm doing a large amount of HTML and CSS development. It's extraordinarily organized, and I refer to it constantly. The only reason I can't give this title five stars is that by my rating system it's not absolutely essential reading for technical leaders. There are other books that have the same reference material as this one; however, none of them do as good a job conveying it.

I own the first edition, and it's since been updated. (I need to by the new edition myself.) You should strongly consider getting The Web Design CD Bookshelf CD-ROM which includes a paper and electronic edition of the second edition plus electronic editions of five more great O'Reilly titles. Having this as an eBook on your laptop would be an incredibly useful resource.

Good reviews are no fluke, October 9, 2003
I bought this book based on its great reviews, and read it cover to cover. The information is very well organized, well written, and useful. I would give this book to anyone who does web work.

Excellent introduction but it is time for the next edition., October 2, 2003
If you are a beginner putting together your website or even an intermediate web designer, this book is a must-have desk reference. If you are an advanced user, you can probably still benefit from this excellent book on web design.

This second edition has been out for over two years and probably due for an overhaul. A few additions are needed to make this book today's definitive desk reference for Web Design (as it was at the time of original release).

What's missing in this edition? Coverage of the .NET framework and related language like ASP.NET and VB.NET, ActionScript from Flash MX, PHP and MySQL would be very nice. With the explosion of so many handhelds to the technology market, it may be time for a section on the web design principles as applicable to this unique sector. Recently, there has also been a lot of focus in the areas of search engine optimization and marketing principles applied to web design. It would be good to see a couple of chapters on this subject too.

Other than what is mentioned above, this book covers almost everything you can imagine in the web design world - 32 chapters ranging from accessibility to internationalization and cascading style sheets to JavaScript. I benefited tremendously when I first bought this book two years ago and still refer to it once in a while.

Overall, this is currently one of the best books on the market to quickly ramp up on web design (till the next edition comes out). Good luck!

Web Design in a Nushell, February 3, 2003
Great if you are new to web design and need a reference to give you the essentials and get you up and running fast. I used this book with Macromedia's Dreamweaver and I was building interesting data driven sites in a week.

Great intro and thorough support., December 12, 2002
This is the book I chose to start my website design career and I have found it to be excellent in presenting all the facets clearly and relatively comprehensively, giving good sources for further exploration. It is still in arms reach at all times
as my desktop reference, although I have begun to buy some more advanced and specialized books.

The one book I keep right by my side., October 10, 2002
I bought the first edition this book with no real knowledge of HTML or web design at all for that matter. After I was finished, I was pretty proficient with HTML and CSS. I liked it so much that I talked my test team into purchasing the second edition (my first edition was well used and in need of the replacement).
Keep in mind that this is a reference, but it's a reference that touches on most of the web technologies that exist out there. Although it won't teach you everything about web design, it's a great starting point and gives you enough info to know what the technology are for and if you need it in your page.
I've been programming on and off since the 80's, but my memory is like a sieve, so I rely on reference books constantly. I also don't learn like your regular programmer, so good examples are a must for me. I think this book does that.
If you are that type of person, get this book.

Simply Indispensable, June 20, 2001
As a reference book, it comes very handy specially when requiring quick looks or crash reviews to keep a project going. It's comprehensive, easy to understand and well organized. It's not a teaching book so don't expect any kind of handholding.

Fantastic Desktop Reference, June 18, 2001
This book is a great reference for those trying to develop for and support multiple browsers. It is already a little old (Published in January 99) but since many of the general public don't upgrade thier browsers regularly, it is still very appropriate. This book is a must have for web developers.

The best!, November 12, 2000
Niederst has created an invaluable resourse for web professionals. She goes beyond the usual summaries of commands to get into issues such as browser differences, accessibility for the disabled webuser, and future web technologies. My copy is only a few months old, but already it is dogeared from active use--in particular, the comprehensive appendices of HTML tags and attributes, and the table of special character codes.

Her writing is clear and concise, with a welcome touch of humour. However, this is a book for people who are already comfortable with computers--a newbie would likely be intimidated. Personally, though, I prefered this book to the scores of cutesy dumbed-down books for the masses for this very reason.

Good Overview of Basic Web Design, August 16, 2000
Good, fairly complete overview of all aspects of web design. Doesn't cover many details on any one aspect. I read it once (after designing several web pages) and didn't get too many new ideas. I use it mainly as a reference book for HTML and CSS tags.

an excellent reference.. keep it close at hand!, January 17, 2000
This informative, clear, easy-to-read book is an excellent reference for the intermediate and above web designer. You will not be dissapointed with its appendixes.. clear descriptions of almost every tag!

A comprehensive and well-organized reference, September 5, 1999
I want to add my voice to those praising this book. As a full-time web designer, I appreciate having this information close at hand. Criticizing the book for not being more chatty or for not expressing strong opinions misses the point entirely.

Confusing explanations and wishy washy advice., September 3, 1999
The author's explanation of a parameter called names includes an example setting the parameter to, what else, "names", as in, names = "Names". Other commands and parameters have no examples with no evident pattern, but generally make it hard for the reader to understand.

The author presents both sides of controversial topics with no indication of which side she is on. It you're going to be an expert, you ought to have an opionion.

Very easy to use html reference book., September 2, 1999
If you need a quick html reference without having to flip through a lot of pages, this would be the book to get. I find it quite handy when I need to look up an html tag attribute.

The best book of its kind, September 2, 1999
This book is without question the best book I have ever seen on web development. It is succinct yet thorough with that perfect balance of detailed explanation and reference. I am so fond of this book that I am even posting this review, which is something I never do.

Accelerate Your Web Development Project: Read This Book!, August 18, 1999
We use this book to give both our customers and ourselves a better understanding of all the in's and outs of professional web design. Many web developers create a barrier to entry with complex code and bandwidth hogging graphics, this book gives you a reason not to do that. If you want to gain a quick understanding of how each piece of the web development puzzle impacts both the user experience and business issues you face with potential clients ... I highly recommend you read this book.

A very usefull reference for more serious web design., July 17, 1999
A very usefull book. It lives up to its subtitle - "A Desktop Quick Reference" - but it's surely more than that.

Covers every tag in HTML 4.0 tag - a GREAT reference, February 17, 1999
This book covers every aspect of creating a web page! It even has every tag in HTML 4.0 specification and it's compatability with different browsers on different OSs. CSS, DHTML, JavaScript - it's all there!

No "wet glass" rings on this one!, December 30, 1998
This book is a webmaster's best friend. The browser compatibility charts are alone worth the cost. I doubt this one will get lent out. Current up through MSIE version 5 and all of Netscape's offerings.

Must have html reference, January 29, 2004
I purchase a lot of books. Most don't survive long on my bookshelf, and end up being placed in a box or stacked. This book is one of the few that has survived on my bookshelf because it is a worthwhile reference to have around.

Even though I avoid taking web jobs, I sometimes need to generate some html on occasion. As a result, I often find myself wondering what the hex value of a particular color is, or need some obscure tag. That is when I reach for this reference book.

The information is well organized, well written, and still useful long after I purchased it.


Great Book, November 20, 2003
I bought this book because I haven't updated my HTML reference for several years and usually I trust the O'Reily authors.

Considering whole books have been written on Cascading Style Sheets, (I recommend the one by Steve Callihan) it's not surprising that there's not much of substance here.

The rest has proven itself time and again and saved countless hours as well as provided needed insights.

Well done!

Never tease a weasel..., September 2, 2003
I teach web design at a well-known art college in Chicago, and this is the book that I use for my class. This book is good for people of all levels, and explains things clearly and concisely. The cross-reference of "what works in what browsers" is invaluable, albeit a bit outdated (when will the 3rd Edition come out? Soon I hope).

Simply the best, August 1, 2003
Where I'm coming from:
I am a producer at a media firm. This book is in constant use as I shuffle the day with deadlines and complications. This book gets me through, solves and answers my tough questions and presents easy to follow solutions. This book makes my job easier
Why I like it:
Easy to use, great tab set-up and clear language. The book is arranged so you do not need an atlas, just short, simple searches. A true gem of clarity!
Why I am suggesting "Nutshell":
I have tried other books which now sit dormant with clean spines and trophy dust collections. Don't waste your money, go straight for Jennifer Niederst's fine accomplishment.

Essential reference, December 13, 2002
While the style is sometimes a little difficult, this is an essential reference. I would recommend reading through it once if you don't know much about web page design. After that, it is easy to pick up the book and flip to the right section for whatever you're looking for - graphics, CSS, basic HTML... even the first edition includes a small amount of information on DHTML - enough to whet your appetite to learn more about it.

(I have the first edition of this book.)

Great intro and thorough support., December 12, 2002
This is the book I chose to start my website design career and I have found it to be excellent in presenting all the facets clearly and relatively comprehensively, giving good sources for further exploration. It is still in arms reach at all times
as my desktop reference, although I have begun to buy some more advanced and specialized books.

A comprehensive reference, December 27, 2000
I've only had this book for a couple of months, but when I program HTML, I can't live without it. Every chapter lists first the syntax of each function, and then gives examples and illustrates how to use the functions together. Granted, I have a couple years C++ background, I went from having no concept of the language to being able to compose web pages at least semi-proficiently in no time... Now I just need a good Javascript book. any recommendations?

Spectacular, October 30, 2000
Don't design without it. Deeper than a quick reference, but lighter than a full manual. It has increased my skills tremendously!

Quick Ref, February 7, 2000
This little book has become a standard trapping of my desk. I think I would be lost without it. Put into the popular "nut shell" format it is user friendly and can be used quickly and acurately.

Please don't waste your money on this book., November 7, 1999
One star is only because i could not leave it blank.I think the mind of the authur was somewher else when she wrote this book . I can't believe a word if any one tell me that they underestand this book . I am a degree student and had more joy with inferia books at the liberary and i am just going to warn people to throw thiere money away and they'll be better off than reading this book .

Great reference., August 4, 1999
This book is a great reference book and is always near my desk. Get this if you want it all in one place.

An excellent reference book!, July 6, 1999
This book bailed me out of alot of problems I faced in my University Web design courses. It answered all of the questions I had in which our instructor did not cover completely.

A very good ref, June 22, 1999
A very good reference for the intermediate to advanced. Concise and to the point.

A must have, June 9, 1999
This book is a must have for web designers who want the most up to date information about web publishing. It is the most comprehensive HTML reference I've seen, with just enough examples. Lots of other great things are covered such as the basics of UNIX, so the average person can get the 30,000 foot view of web technology without feeling overwhelmed.

Good book for general understanding and as a reference, May 25, 1999
Loved this book. Gives good techincal advice and examples without going on for hundreds of pages (like so many books these days). Good for people who have tech background and want to come up to speed quickly. Not recommeded for non-techs.

Bravo!! What a great reference guide, May 8, 1999
Clear explanations, numerous examples, and Jennifer writes in a fashion that is understandable and useful to all, from beginners to experts. Even my room-mate, who is a complete idiot, was able to grasp the material.

Good Job, Jenn

THE best quick ref in the world for anyone in Web Design, February 27, 1999
I thought that I had all the reference material I needed... until I saw this book. Complete, concise, and honest. This is indespensible and sits on my desk instead of on my bookshelf (right along with Information Architecture)

An essential for anyone designing web pages, February 13, 1999
Easy too follow and yet very thorough in its treatment of all aspects of web design. Even those familiar with HTML should find some tricks they don't usually use. It is probably the one book anyone doing web design should own.

Stuffed full of useful info, February 5, 1999
Excellent up to date book (Feb-99), stuffed full of facts. An actually useful reference book, well worth the Amazon price. Complements "HTML The Def Guide" quite well.

An amazing resource, February 3, 1999
This is a great resource, especially for people that have been writing HTML for a while. Not only does this book list all of the usual useful stuff (web-safe color codes, special character codes, the HTML 4.0 tags, etc.)it has so much practical information I've never seen anywhere else. I've only had this book since yesterday and I've probably exclaimed "I didn't know THAT!" 10 times already. The section on tables alone is worth the price of the book.

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