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Review: Build Your Own Website - A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS, and WordPress

· Web Dev Zone

In order to work with WordPress, you need not require any prior knowledge in HTML and CSS. However, a basic idea of HTML and CSS always helps if you would like to build websites manually.

No Starch Press has released an entirely different book with the title, Build Your Own Website. The subtitle of the book reads as A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS and WordPress. This means that you will learn the fundamental concepts associated with HTML, CSS and WordPress in a comic style rather than full blown text coverage.

Build Your Own Website

The book authored by Nate Cooper with art work by Kim Gee helps you to learn the concepts associated with HTML, CSS and WordPress in both interesting comic style with adequate explanation.

Build Your Own Website begins with a basic introduction to web, browser and text editor in addition to concept of web addresses, clients, servers and hosts. The first few pages feature comics such as yoga and pizza preparation. You will also see group of students sitting on their desks with their laptops to start learning.

Build Your Own Website - A Comic Guide to HTML, CSS and WordPress

The author introduces herself nicely with a cute comic followed by a brief explanation of the above mentioned concepts with relevant screenshots. In page 14, you will learn about the use of FTP client software – FileZilla.

Chapter 2 of Build Your Own Website enable you to learn HTML. As discussed above, the chapter begins with few comics. You will also see a comic which shows HTML code for creation of a simple page. In Page 35, you will see a comic which mentions <p> tag in comic style followed by sample code.

You will also learn that <br> tag is for line break with a comic which demonstrates its usage. I feel that readers will be able to learn faster with this book than a traditional book if they follow the content inside the comics.

The author has devoted one full page to illustrate HTTP 404 errors in Page 42. In addition to comics, the author also provided a detailed coverage of various HTML tags. Towards the end of Chapter 2, you will find a detailed list of all the important HTML tags along with a brief explanation.

Chapter 3 examines the concepts associated with CSS in detail. The designer has taken little effort in drawing a comic of a web browser with illustrations. The author has mentioned the importance of mentioning three different font names in code with a nice comic.

In Page 82 of Build Your Own Website, you will learn the use of color hex value. You should note that the content inside the comic is more than what you saw in HTML chapter.

If you are not interested with comics you can directly skip to the content. The author has examined all concepts with source code and screenshots. The author has provided a list of common CSS properties in page 113.

Chapter 4 explores the functionality of blogs with special reference to WordPress. You will learn the real meaning of the term – posts in a comic style. In Page 127, there is a picture which illustrates the meaning of SEO. The author has created a small dummy picture of the WordPress login screen and clarifies a query as to whether login is similar to that of FTP.

A rough sketch of the dashboard and page addition has been provided in addition to a brief outline of visual editor. In Page 130, you will learn the formatting options available with WordPress with a comic. The author has shown link creation process with a nice touch followed by the relevant screenshot.

You will learn the relevance of WordPress pages, categories and tags in pages 133, 135 and 137. The remaining content of this chapter examines media library and the steps required to insert an image into your WordPress post.

The author has examined the importance of WordPress administrator account in page 144 of Build Your Own Website followed by a detailed coverage of WordPress. You will learn the same concepts covered in the comic but with the help of comprehensive explanation and real screenshots.

Chapter 5 examines the use of themes and plugins. The author has provided an extensive coverage of theme, menu and settings customization. You will also learn the use of screen options tab including usage of plugins and widgets.

Towards the end of the chapter, the author has provided the relevant steps to migrate sites from one host to another. Among other concepts, you will learn how to make use of a widget in your blog.

The final chapter of Build Your Own Website elaborates the steps required to setup a hosting account and installation of WordPress under the account with the help of the web based interface.

The author missed to provide a brief coverage of Permalinks, which is essential to every WordPress blog. It is used to enable SEO friendly URLs.

While the comics provide a brief idea of the concepts, the content helps you to learn the concepts in a detailed manner. The book is not a comprehensive manual of HTML, CSS and WordPress.

I would prefer to see an appendix with list of free themes and plugins which are essential for every WordPress blog. I very much liked the way in which the book is designed with fun filled comics. The book will not be useful if you are already aware of HTML and WordPress.

From my point of view, Build Your Own Website will be an ideal companion for beginners, students and senior citizens, who would like to learn the fundamental concepts associated with HTML, CSS and blogging.

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Published at DZone with permission of Anand Narayanaswamy, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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