Review categories > Website Design Books > HTML in action
By: Charlie MorrisReview for 'HTML in action'
Rating: 6 of out 6
Written By: Bruce Morris
Page Count: 600
Cover Type: Softcover
Published By: Microsoft Press
Date Published: 08/1996
List Price: $39.95
Author's Site: http://www.webdevelopersjourna...
We here at NCT Web
pride ourselves on our unbiased reviews, so I may as
well say up front that there could be some slight danger
to my objectivity on this one. After all, HTML in Action
was written by our founder and publisher, Bruce
Morris, who also happens to be my brother. In fact,
I wrote a chapter of the book myself, and so did Chief
Tech Officer/Nephew Kief
Morris. In spite of all that, however, I shall be as
impartial as I can. This book is great!! Hop over to
Amazon and order a copy NOW! In fact, you'll probably
want 2 or 3 copies!! But seriously folks...
HTML in Action is an
intermediate-to-advanced instructional book for Web
content developers. Actually, it covers a lot more than
just HTML, including information about Graphics,
Multimedia, Animations, CGI programs, Java, Acrobat, and
The first chapter reviews some HTML
basics. This book doesn't contain a true entry-level
primer to HTML, although folks with a fair amount of
computer experience can probably learn HTML from scratch
with this book. What Bruce does in this first chapter is
to show how some of the basic HTML commands can be used
in unique ways. Just to take one example, how about the
old standby <HR> tag?
You probably know how to do this...
...but how about this?
You can use the
<HR> tag to create shapes (Only works in
This is just one example of Bruce's "Duct Tape
HTML". He also explains how to do fancy stuff with text,
lists and so forth. He also discusses issues of
compatibility with different browsers, and the need to
strike a balance between using all the newest tags and
being compatible with more browsers.
is about Forms, which can be a great way to add
interactivity to your site. Bruce tells how to make your
forms look good, and how to make the most of the
information about your visitors that they can provide.
As Bruce points out, tables are probably the
single most powerful formatting tool in HTML. He takes
you far beyond the standard tabley-looking tables, to
tables that can format your page just about any way you
like. In fact, our page layout at NCT Web, meant to work
like the columns of a print magazine, is all done with
Web graphics are covered pretty well
here. Bruce discusses not only how to incorporate inline
graphics into your pages, but how to edit and process
your graphic files for best results on the Web.
The chapter on Multimedia, written by yours
truly, includes a short primer on digital audio,
including information about different audio file
formats, as well as a primer on digital video. Next I
discuss some of the newer technologies that are finally
making audio and video on the Web a (semi-) reality.
RealAudio, Streamworks, the MBONE and VRML are all
Frames, animations, Acrobat, Java, and
ActiveX each merit a whole chapter. Another very useful
chapter covers HTML utilities. Here Bruce compares
various HTML tools, graphic editing tools, and other
little programs that you need for Web development. As a
matter of fact, some of the most useful Web tools are
Morris is a well-known Common Gateway Interface
(CGI) guru, and he contributed the CGI chapter here. CGI
lets you use little programs called scripts to do all
kinds of neat interactive stuff, like entering data from
forms on your site into a database, or rotating banners
and such. Kief lists various uses of CGI, gives a primer
on how to write CGI programs, and even covers security
To sum up, this is a comprehensive,
well-written book. Though it has plenty of technical
information, it's written in a readable, entertaining
style. If you already know basic HTML, and want to
expand your horizons, this is the perfect book for you!
If you don't know any HTML, but are pretty handy with
computers in general, HTML in Action may be the
only HTML book you'll need.