Web Books

Try the following exercise at Barnes and Noble or Amazon – enter “Web Development” or “Web Design” in your search request for books. Click and you will get 100s if not 1000s of books recommendations – Web Creation for Dummies thru CSS Zen Garden to Learning Web Design. And many of the books will have 4 and 5 star reviews. But even among the better books there are a series of problems:
1)The Web continues to develop in technology and methods extremely rapidly. Microsoft turned off all browser development for 5-7 years and now its once dominant IE is constantly losing market share. Despite this impedance, Web technology has continued to percolate. Methods like ASP, JSP are being extended or supplanted by ASP.NET, JSF, and AJAX. But those technologies are being superseded by RIA etc. And each of these hese are profound changes (Web 1 to Web 2 to Web 3) and they are coming very fast. The net result is that top-rated books just 2-3 years old can have almost hopeless gaps.
2)The complexity of Web continues to increase as users now expect the same GUI experience and prompt response time they get on the desktop to be delivered online. And they want more convenience like customization, templates and plugins in their Facebook, Zoho and other online software. This means that such excellent books as Web Design in a Nutshell or The Design of sites can reach a thousand pages and still have major gaps and omissions on Web development. You almost have to 4-5 books to get a comprehensive picture of how to do Web development.
3)Security and hacking are becoming malignant on the Web because now organized crime is exploiting Web defects for all their “worth”. Web books, unfortunately following the Web industrys cues, are just not prepared to discuss the trade-offs and tough decisions that have yet to be made in this arena. Just look at email and messaging security or the trade-offs in using AJAX and JavaScript for ease of use and greater performance but at the risk of some much greater security vulnerabilities.
4)The success of the Web is all about openness, equity and fairness – so called Net Neutrality and Open Standards adherence. Yet both of those are currently in jeopardy. Big corporates and governments are already in testing the move to IPV6 (huge increase in address space plus improved low level Web packet movement) adding capabilities that advantage big players. Likewise, Microsoft thwarted all Web standards for well nigh 7 years with barely a peep from the carefully Redmond coddled trade press. Book publishers fared no better – references to the Redmond tax of 20-40% more development time necessary to comply with the standards defective Microsoft IE browser, the dangers of proprietary Microsoft extensions and other non-open Web APIs are hopelessly buried and/or muted in countless Web books.

So this is a cautionary note – do not expect to find for a while yet – one book that is going to have all your Web Design or Development answers. True Google and especially Wikipedia are good starting points for online resources. And our website is packed with references and links for every major topic area, but inherently the Web is fractionated, diverse, many overlapped and sometimes contradictory conversations, blogs, tips and opinions. Despite OReilly and others epic tries, there is still not an adequate Web Bible.

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