Painting the Web

Author: Shelley Powers
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2008
Pages: 656
ISBN: 978-0596515096
Aimed at: Techie web designers
Rating: 4
Pros: Easy to read
Cons: Idiosyncratic choice of material
Reviewed by: David Conrad

 

Painting the Web is about all things graphical on the web - it's not a text book nor a cookbook but you might find it fills a niche that other books don't.

Author: Shelley Powers
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2008
Pages: 656
ISBN: 978-0596515096
Aimed at: Techie web designers
Rating: 4
Pros: Easy to read
Cons: Idiosyncratic choice of material
Reviewed by: David Conrad

Starting off from the basics of imaging - colour, JPEG, GIF and PNG - this book takes us on a grand tour of the graphical web. It's not complete because, despite it being a big book, the subject is even bigger.


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Some of the chapters barely scratch the surface of their subject mater - Chapter Three on Photographs is merely an introduction to the topic. We then have some chapters dealing with design but with techincalities such as thumbnailing throwin in.

By Chapter Six we are into the second major topic of the book - vector graphics and SVG in particular. Chapter Seven is an SVG bootcamp that should be enough to get you started. Then we have some tricks with CSS, another excursion into design and Dynamic web pages (DHTML and the DOM).

Then we return to SVG and vector grahpics by way of canvas and scripting SVG. The book concludes with a random selection of topics - ImageMagick, Geographical data and mapping and data and graphics in general.

What is difficult is to say exactly what this book is about. Most of it seems to cover vector graphics but the style is chatty and informal and the thread tends to range over general design topics. The big problem is that despite being a standard SVG support is very patchy even among modern browsers. Perhaps the world has moved on and vector graphics are best implemented in Flash and Silverlight which this book mentions but doesn't do justice to.

An interesting book that probably deserves a second edition to deal with some of the inherent problems in advocating vector graphics on the web and to cover some of the more recent advances.

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Think Stats

Author: Allen B. Downey
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Pages: 140
ISBN: 978-1449307110
Aimed at: Programmers
Rating: 2
Pros: Good treatment of estimation
Cons: Too slight, badly organized
Reviewed by: Mike James
Increasingly programmers are having to cope with the difficult ideas of statistics and probability i [ ... ]



Mahout in Action

Authors: Sean Owen, Robin Anil, Ted Dunning, Ellen Friedman
Publisher: Manning
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-1935182689
Aimed at: developers wanting to learn Mahout
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank

Machine learning is a topic that sounds theoretical but has an increasing number of practical uses. This book provi [ ... ]


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