WTF is JavaFX?!? (book review)

I didn’t really know anything about JavaFX until I picked up this book. Now not only do I know what it is, I can use it too. If you’re looking to understand what JavaFX is and where it might fit in your toolset then go grab the 216 page book “JavaFX Script: Dynamic Java Scripting for Rich Internet/Client-side Applications”. This book will get you rolling quickly and simply and give you the basics you’ll need to know to properly evaluate if it is right for you.

With that said – if your not familiar with programming concepts (conditionals, loops etc.) in general, or if you want an in-depth explanation of where JavaFX fits into the scheme of things, then I would not suggest this book.

Looking to learn CSS? (book review)

Stylin' with CSS: A Designer's Guide (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter)If you’re looking to jump into CSS or maybe just refresh your skills – then this is a good book to pick up!

Book Description: “This book teaches you everything you need to know to start using CSS in your web development work, from the basics of marking up your content and styling text, through the creation of multi-column page layouts without the use of tables. Learn to create interface components, such as drop-down menus, navigation links, and animated graphical buttons, using only CSS (no JavaScript required). Discover how to design code that works on the latest standard-compliant browsers, such as IE7 and current versions of Firefox, Safari, and Opera, while working around the quirks of the older ones.” –

As the description states, there are plenty of examples to give you a good feel for CSS. What makes this book stand out for me? Well, let me list the ways:

  • The book is written in a easy, clear style that makes you want to keep reading.
  • CSS concepts and rules are explained very well and as an added bonus – the why of CSS is explained – something that many other books seem to leave out.
  • The organization of this book is great, both for the first read and use as a reference (check out the appendices).
  • Its is easy to look at – meaning, the points and tips are well placed so that you don’t mind reading though the material (unlike many other technical books)

All in all I’d say this is a book you should check out if you think your CSS skills are getting a litttle rusty or your just starting out. If you’re quite familiar with CSS or are looking for the hottest CSS layouts and designs or tricks, then maybe another book is for you.

CSS CookBook – I want to know more

Know some CSS? Do you want to enhance what you know and can do? Ever wonder about how to do something you’ve seen in on some site somewhere? Well, I have and do, and I’ve just finished reading a book that provides me with a good theory and example reference for CSS that provides that extra information I was looking for. O’Reilly’s CSS Cookbook, Second Edition (ISBN: 0596527411)



  • I definitely like the “Quick look-up” format
  • Simple and clear explanatations that can be easily understood.
  • Great for extending knowledge, not just the normal “basic” CSS info
  • Lots of good code snippets that can be adapted to real world situations
  • Covers CSS 2.1 conventions



  • No color images? Um…how many black and white web sites do you see out there?
  • If you’re a beginner, check out another book
  • I see tables in their code…we’re talking CSS right. Maybe this was done to keep things simple, but still.


All in all this is a great book for extending what you know about CSS and how to solve specific problems that may crop up. Like I mentioned, this book is probably not for the CSS beginner, but definitely a good reference to have around the keyboard!

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Foundation ASP for Dreamweaver 8

One of the recent books that I’ve checked out is Foundation ASP for Dreamweaver 8. Since I used to teach a course similar to the content provided in this book I thought it might be something good to review and let everyone know about.

Review of ASP For DreamWeaver 8 – Book Review
Rated as 3/5 on May 29 2007 by John


The first thing that I have to say is that you’ll need to be quite familiar with databases to get going with this book. If your not you may just have to take a little extra time with that part of the code and set up. With that said I think that this is an excellent book for someone who is new to either Dreamweaver or ASP. There are great examples, some that can be ported easily to real world projects that you might be working on right now. The only negative note is that there are a few errors in the code that closer review and testing would have fixed before releasing the book. Although, it’s always good to get some debugging under your belt when learning a new programming language or tool…right?!

Microformats – Book Review

I didn’t know much about microformats, but hearing the buzz and wanting to know more about them led me to the book – Microformats Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0.

Review of Microformats Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0.
Rated as 4/5 on May 29 2007 by John


This book is perfect for someone like me that doesn’t know much about what microformats are or what they are used for. The book is also totally appropriate for those who are familiar with microformats, but need additional insight to their uses and place in the world of Web 2.0. The book does not limit itself to introduction level information. The Microformats book provides plenty of detailed information about the multiple formats that microformats take, where they came from as well as examples of how and when to use each of the microformats.One of the best pieces of information I gleaned from the book, was the purpose of microformats – simply put, to decentralize content. Decentralizing content allows for data to be located and aggregated by whatever means necessary for the end use or result by giving structure to the different types of data. This allows for disparate systems to more easily use the data.

I would say, even though microformats are very young, pick up this book learn what they are and how to use them then, help spread the word.

P.S. Technically, this review should use the hReview format, but what can I say…I haven’t built a plug-in for WordPress to do that yet, my apologies.

P.P.S I’ve just found an hReview plug-in and have converted all my reviews to the hReview format.

Advanced ActionScript 3 with Design Patterns

I was very excited to receive the book Advanced ActionScript 3 with Design Patterns I had heard great things about the book and was not disappointed as I read through it.

I just happen to be stuck in jury duty for a full day and as I waited for the city and county of Denver to decide if they required my services I was able to read through most in the book in a morning. The really nice thing about this book is the lack of fluff. It is very direct, very to-the-point and very useful.
There were quite a few lessons that I learned (one would be typing a variable to an Interface…tre useful!) through out the book. Not to mention to the descriptions of many of the more popular design patterns around. I’d say Joey Lott and Danny Patterson have done a fine job presenting ActionScript 3 as applied to development with a focus on design patterns.
The only complaint that I have heard, is that that it can become a little repetitive. If you are very familiar with ActionScript syntax, you may want to skim many of the chapters for items that catch your eye and look to be good tips or new to you.

Build Your Own Standards Compliant Website Using Dreamweaver 8

Being a Dreamweaver trainer, I always like to check out new resources for the tool. Rachel Andrew’s book Build Your Own Standards Compliant Website Using Dreamweaver 8 is a nice introduction to Dreamweaver as a tool for building simple Web sites, as well as focusing on creating a site that meets Web standards guidelines. She does this while also creating a site that is visually appealing with the “conventional glitter that most of us have come to expect”.

The book begins by focusing on XHTML, describing what it is and how it differs from HTML. CSS is also a main focus of the book providing excellent examples of how to create, edit and apply CSS style with Dreamweaver.

Chapter 7 is a bonus Chapter for though who are new to Web compliance. The book clarifies differences between the conforming WCAG guidelines as well as illustrating how to use Dreamweaver to access/create the compliance settings.

If you’re looking for a resource for building dynamic Web sites, this isn’t the book for you, but this is a great starting point for building a web site and great resource if you are new to either Web compliance or Dreamweaver.