Getting Started with D3 – A guide to working with data-driven documents – #bookreview #javascript

Getting Started with D3
Mike Dewar
(O’Reilly, paperbackKindle)

This focused, 58-page how-to guide introduces the basics of D3, a JavaScript library written by Mike Bostock.

The D3 library, a free download, can be used to manipulate documents based on data. According to the Data-Driven Documents website, “D3 allows you to bind arbitrary data to a Document Object Model (DOM), and then apply data-driven transformations to the document. For example, you can use D3 to generate an HTML table from an array of numbers. Or, use the same data to create an interactive SVG bar chart with smooth transitions and interaction.”

Mike Dewar’s book is aimed at “the data scientist: someone has data to visualize and who wants to use the power of the modern web browser to give his visualizations additional impact.” However, if you don’t consider yourself a data scientist, but are comfortable with coding and manipulating data, this book can still show you how to use a combination of JavaScript and SVG [Scalable Vector Graphics] “to build everything from simple bar charts to complex infographics.”

Getting Started with D3 has six chapters, and they are illustrated with code samples and examples of graphics produced using D3.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Enter Selection
  3. Scales, Axes, and Lines
  4. Interactions and Transitions
  5. Layout
  6. Conclusion

In his conclusion, Mike Dewar, a data scientist at Bitly, offers encouragement and additional resources for digging deeper into D3. “The documentation for D3 is extensive,” he writes, “and is available at http://d3js.org along with a huge gallery of examples. This is an essential resource, both for reference and inspiration.”

His book is also an essential resource, for learning the basics of using D3.

Si Dunn

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Dreamweaver CS6: The Missing Manual – 1000+ pages of good website how-to information

Dreamweaver CS6: The Missing Manual
By David Sawyer McFarland
(O’Reilly,  paperback, Kindle)

Dreamweaver website development and management software has been around more than 14 years. This makes it almost ancient by software standards. Yet, with each new release, it keeps steadily evolving, improving and adding more features and capabilities. And it is well-supported and stable. So Dreamweaver remains one of the most popular and widely used packages for designing and managing high-quality websites.

One thing you still don’t get with the Dreamweaver software package, however, is a printed manual. So it remains a perfect candidate for O’Reilly Media’s popular “The Missing Manual” series.

This book’s author, David Sawyer McFarland, knows pretty much everything about Dreamweaver. He has been using it since 1998. And, with this new edition, he keeps alive his string of writing every Dreamweaver book in “The Missing Manual” series. (His previous edition, covering Dreamweaver CS5.5, is reviewed here.)

McFarland’s book shows you how to use Dreamweaver CS6 and how to create a basic website. From there, you learn how to improve, expand, add features, and enhance the usefulness and sophistication of your website. You also learn how to use the built-in tools to manage what you have created. 

Here is what’s new in Dreamweaver CS6:

  • Basic support for HTML5, including HTML5 tags and code-hinting.
  • Support for CSS3, including code-hinting and adding numerous CSS3 properties to the CSS Styles panel. Dreamweaver CS6 also has a new CSS3 web fonts manager that expands font choices. And its new CSS transitions panel “lets you easily add animations to mouse rollovers, so you can turn a navigation bar into an animated visual delight.”
  • More web design support for mobile browsers, including a new “‘fluid grid layout’ tool that lets you build designs that re-flow content to match different devices….”
  • More support for jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap—“two programming technologies that let you build mobile phone applications using just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.”

Dreamweaver CS6: The Missing Manual is organized as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Part One: Building a Web Page
  • Chapter 1: Dreamweaver CS6 Guided Tour
  • Chapter 2: Adding and Formatting Text
  • Chapter 3: Introducing Cascading Style Sheets
  • Chapter 4: Links
  • Chapter 5: Images
  • Chapter 6: Tables
  • Chapter 7: HTML: Under the Hood
  • Part Two: Building a Better Web Page
  • Chapter 8: Advanced CSS
  • Chapter 9: Page Layout
  • Chapter 10: Troubleshooting CSS
  • Chapter 11: Designing Websites for Mobile Devices
  • Part Three: Bringing Your Pages to Life
  • Chapter 12: Forms
  • Chapter 13: Adding Interactivity with JavaScript
  • Chapter 14: Add Flash and Other Multimedia
  • Part Four: Managing a Website
  • Chapter 15: Introducing Site Management
  • Chapter 16: Testing Your Site
  • Chapter 17: Moving Your Site to the Internet
  • Part Five: Dreamweaver CS6 Power
  • Chapter 18: Snippets and Libraries
  • Chapter 19: Templates
  • Chapter 20: Find and Replace
  • Chapter 21: Customizing Dreamweaver
  • Chapter 22: Working with Server-Side Programming
  • Appendix A: Getting Help
  • Appendix B: Dreamweaver CS6, Menu by Menu
  • Index (46 pages)

As usual, a CD is not included with this book. But “every single Web address, practice file, and piece of downloadable software mention in this book is available at www.missingmanual.com (click the Missing CD icon.)”

Whether you are an absolute newcomer or an old hand at using Dreamweaver, you can benefit by having and using this hefty how-to book.

Si Dunn

The CSS3 Anthology: Take Your Sites to New Heights – #bookreview #in #webdesign

The CSS3 Anthology: Take Your Sites to New Heights, 4th Edition
Rachel Andrew
(SitePoint,
paperback, list price $39.95; Kindle edition, list price $29.95)

“The basic purpose of CSS [Cascading Style Sheets],” Rachel Andrew notes, “is to allow the [web] designer to define style declarations — formatting details such as fonts, element sizes, and colors — and then apply those styles to selected portions of HTML pages using selectors: references to an element or group of elements to which the style is applied.”

The fourth edition of this popular how-to book for Cascading Style Sheets is aimed at providing how-to examples, shortcuts and tips for busy web designers and web developers already working with CSS.

However, web-savvy beginners and those who build and maintain their own websites also can benefit from this well-written book. Along with a short introduction to CSS basics, it offers many short code examples and related screenshots. And virtually every chapter is structured around answering the question “How do I…?” as each new topic is introduced.

Indeed, the 420-page book is a compilation of answers to questions, specific how-tos and examples readily adaptable to real-world web pages.

The CSS3 Anthology is organized into nine chapters:

  • Making a Quick Start with CSS
  • Text Styling and Other Basics
  • Images and Other Design Elements
  • Navigation
  • Tabular Data
  • Forms and User Interfaces
  • Cross-browser Techniques
  • CSS Positioning Basics
  • CSS for Layout

If you need a tutorial or refresher in HTML and CSS basics before grabbing this book, the author recommends Build Your Own Website the Right Way Using HTML & CSS, 3rd Edition, available in paperback and ebook formats.

— Si Dunn

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