The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 review

With the release of Drupal 7.0 earlier this year (January 2010), a new time has come for the Drupal Community.

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Drupal is an open source PHP/SQL based content management system (CMS). As SQL database, popular engines as SQLite, MySQL and PostgreSQL can be chosen.

Since version 4 Drupal is one of the most used open source CMS platforms available.

Drupal can be compared to other popular PHP/SQL based CMS systems like Joomla, WordPress and XOOPS but has its own benefits.

You are reading my review of the book “The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7”.

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Pro CSS for High Traffic Websites book review

What`s the book about?

As the title suggest this book is about professional Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for high traffic websites (10.000+ visitors/day). This book guides you through the development process of optimizing codes for improved speed and how to handle large style sheets and interact with other teams and team members to  work more effective.

As a webmaster/webdesigner I`m giving a chance to review this book by Apress.

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Joomla! 1.5 Top Extensions Cookbook review

The Joomla! 1.5 Top Extensions Cookbook is one of Packt Publishing’s cookbook series meaning that it contains recipes. This book contains over 80 different recipes to use extensions to add maps, image galleries, slideshows, audio  and video players, security, forums, shopping cart, guestbook and other functionalities to your site.  Each recipe is a articles with an idea and how to work it out (step by step), just like a regular cookbook.

Joomla! is an open-source award-winning PHP/MySQL based content management system (CMS). Since its available under the GPL license it`s free to download, modify and use it for your website.

This book is written for Joomla! 1.5 users without programming or webdesign knowledge. Basic knowledge of setting it up is recommended.

For basic Joomla! Knowledge I can recommend Joomla! 1.5 Cookbook which I reviewed earlier: Joomla! 1.5 Cookbook review.

Most of the content of this book is also valid for Joomla! 1.6, although not all extensions will work fine. The same counts for users of PHP 5.3.

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The definitive guide to HTML5 book review

One of the new elements in HTML5 is the video element and it`s Javascript API.
With HTML5 video you can easily embed videos into your page, without the need for external plugins like Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight or Apple QuickTime. Another benefit is that it`s natively integrated into the web browser which allows Javascript to take full control of this element. This means video transformations and image analysis is also possible, along with creating your own start/stop controls.
Along the video element this book also explains the audio element and it`s Javascript API.

The book is targeted at web designers and programmers with basic experience in HTML (5)  and Javascript. SVG experience is useful but not required.

I have been offered the chance to review this book by Apress.

I’m Ramon van Belzen, a 22 year old webdesigner from Vlissingen, the Netherlands. I’m surfing the web since 1997 and I`ve been programming HTML since 1998. Today I use web technologies like HTML 4, HTML 5, XHTML 1.1, CSS2 / 3, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery, PHP/MySQL, XML. I currently run over 10 websites, most of them as webmaster and webdesigner.

The book promises to explain what you can and cannot do with the HTML5 video element. By reading this book you will learn how to integrate video in all the major browsers, the different codecs, creating your own controls and using the Javascript video API. It also teaches you how to integrate video with  the canvas element, SVG, CSS and web workers.

This book fits in the same series as the following books:

The first three chapters of the book explain the basics of implementing video in your page.
The following four chapter explain how to integrate the media elements with other technologies like SVG, Canvas, Javascript and Web Workers.
The final four chapters  are more advanced and explain more experimental techniques like reading and manipulating audio, accessibility and the future.

The first chapter tells you about the history and origin of the video element. Later on the basics of codecs is explained. Finally a short sum-up of the major browsers current supported codecs and sites who use these codecs is described.
This chapter also contains a lot of footnotes to sites where you can find more information about statements and the discussion which led to the HTML5 specifications.

Chapter two starts with the basics of implementing video  and the basic attributes like autoplay. Further on the same is done for the audio element. Next up is a simple Javascript to test the browsers codec support. Paragraph 2.2 ends with how-to encode files to HTML5 video and audio codecs. Also HTTP streaming is explained and implementation examples are given. The last paragraph explains the user interface and finally a short summary of the chapter is given.

The third chapter explains how to style the video element with  CSS 3. What more can I say about it?

The next chapter (four) explains the use of Javascript in combination with the video element. It contains things like timing, stretching, error reports, events (like start, stop) and ends with creating your own start/stop buttons.

The fifth chapter is about integrating Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and video. The chapter starts with the basics of SVG and examples how to merge these two techniques. Next is using more advanced techniques like using a graphic to control the video, using gradients, patterns and effects like blur. Also SVG animations in combination with a video element is described. The chapter ends with reflections and video edge detection.

Following chapter explains how to use HTML5 media in combination with the canvas element. With the canvas API it`s possible to draw bitmaps of video frames within HTML5 and create video effects. It`s even possible to emulate green screen effects (to change the background). Together with CSS3 styling you can make strange effects like 3D  and add gradients and text with video as filling. The chapter  ends with creating simple animations.

Video editing is CPU-heavy. With HTML5`s web worker API it`s possible to split these Javascript codes into small workers which can use multi-threading and afterwards combine the work. How to do this and some benchmarks are explained in this chapter. Examples include converting to sepia colors, motion detection, region segmentation and face detection (actually skin color detection).

The HTML5 Audio API is chapter eights content. It starts with extraction of audio samples and basic information functions. Next is displaying waveforms using the canvas element. Also audio spectrum graphic rendering using FFT is explained. With the HTML5 Audio API it`s also possible to render tones with Javascript. Paragraph 3 explains how to use the filter graph API, which contains audio effects like gain, delay, filtering, panning, convolutions (impulse responses like reverbs), channel split/merge and a real-time analyzer.

Chapter nine is about accessibility and internationalization. The chapter starts with the theoretical part behind this. The second paragraph explains how to create interactive transcripts using HTML. The next paragraph demonstrates and explains how to use synchronized text using WebSRT.

The final chapter – number ten – explains the use of audio and video using the device element. This chapter also uses the Stream,WebSockets and ConnectionPeer APIs. The chapter ends with a simple two-user video conversation.

The book ends with a summary and outlook of what to expect, like the Metadata and Quality of Service API`s.

The book promises to teach you everything about HTML5 and it does. It’s so complete that I cannot think of anything I want to do with HTML5 video which is not mentioned. It teaches you how to make your own players, synchronize multiple videos and implement video effects.
There is no other book out there (at this moment) which goes so into detail when it comes to HTML5 video.

After reading this book I didn`t have any questions.

Everything demonstrated in the book is shown with multiple browsers (five) and mentions if it works or not – and if not how to create a workaround.

What I liked very much about the book is that it contains loads of screenshots, one for every function, which demonstrates how the function looks in different browsers.
What I also liked is the amount of footnotes. Whenever you want to learn more about a certain code or information, just visit the link in the footnote.

What I disliked about the book is that the Javascript programming sometimes goes a bit too fast and to deep, but this might be user depended. I have to admit that I’m not a Javascript programming wonder.

The book covers everything I wanted to know about HTML5 video and more.

If I had the chance to improve  the book I would explain the Javascript code more.

I can recommend this book to everybody who wants to dive into the world of HTML5 video or who wants to replace other third party video systems like Flash and who wants to make the switch to HTML5.

More information about this book can be found at www.apress.com/book/view/1430230908
The product page also contain links to a sample and a link to buy the book – either as printed version or eBook.

The Essential Guide to HTML5: Using Games to learn HTML5 and JavaScript

Who doesn`t play games on his? Ever thought about programming your own? It`s not as difficult as you might think. If you choose to decide to program browser-based games (which also are cross-platform compatible) you should keep on reading this review. Also if you are a webdesigner who would like to know more about HTML5`s functions and/or JavaScript.

As the title suggests, this book teaches you HTML5, JavaScript and CSS by creating games.  HTML5 and JavaScript are todays and tomorrows technologies for creating interactive websites.

I have been offered the chance to review this book by FriendsOfEd.

I`m Ramon van Belzen, a 22 year old webdesigner from Vlissingen, the Netherlands. I’m surfing the web since 1997 and I` been programming HTML since 1998. Today I use web technologies like HTML 4, HTML 5, XHTML 1.1, CSS2 / 3, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery, PHP/MySQL, XML. I currently run over 10 websites, most of them as webmaster and webdesigner.

This books teaches you how to program HTML5 &  JavaScript with a bit of CSS to create browser based games like a dice game, bouncing ball, slingshot, quiz, memory, mazes, rock/paper/scissors, hangman and blackjack.
This book is written for beginners into the world of HTML, CSS and JavaScript but also for people with experience with these programming languages.
No experience with programming languages is needed to get started with this book.

The book promises to teach you the canvas element, audio and video implementation, event handling, form input validation and the usage of information storing. These are all new functions in HTML5.

The book starts with the basics of HTML and CSS. It explains how a simple page is made  using HTML. The second step is adding CSS, follow by JavaScript.

Chapter two starts with the basics of the game you’re going to program – a simple dice rolling game. It explains the rules and how to write these in a programmers way. Next step is programming these functions followed by drawing the dice using the canvas element. Next is adding a second dice and programming this into the already existing code.

Creating a game with a bouncing ball and collision is the main target in chapter three. This chapter explains how to draw a ball and walls using the canvas element, create the game logics (including the collision engine) and using form input validation.

The fourth chapter contains two rather similar games; cannon ball and slingshot. The first game is a simple game where a cannonball is fired from a cannon. It gives the player the possibility to change the angle of the cannon and the velocity of the cannonball. It also includes some basic artificial gravity. This game also uses JavaScript, CSS and the canvas element.
The second game is slingshot. The difference compared to cannonball is that this uses mouse moments to aim, and the target is an image.

Chapter five is the classic game memory- where you have to match 2 pictures. Like previous games, this game uses HTML5, CSS and JavaScript including the canvas tag.

Game number five, chapter six, is a quiz. In this chapter you will learn the basics of JavaScript arrays  (to store questions and answers), CSS and the video element.

The seventh chapter teaches how to create a game where you can draw walls and create mazes. This game uses HTML5`s local storage API. In the first part of the game the walls are drawn, in the second part you have to move a ball through this maze.

Rock, paper, scissors is a game you possibly know. This game uses the canvas and audio elements as well as JavaScript.

Chapter nine explains how to create your own browser-based hangman game. The game uses the same codes as in previous chapters to create a game, and includes some new CSS  styles and functions.

The last game of this book is blackjack – another card game. The chapter starts with explaining the footer  and header tags and includes new game logics and  more canvas features.

As mentioned several times in previous paragraphs, the book promises to teach you HTML5, JavaScript , CSS, the canvas element, audio and video implementation, event handling, form input validation, header/footer elements and the usage of information storing. The book has overlap with the following book Pro HTML5 Programming: Powerful APIs for Richer Internet Application Development I reviewed some months ago and the book The Definitive Guide to HTML5 Video I will be reviewing shortly.
The book indeed teaches you the basics of HTML5 page formatting, CSS and a lot of JavaScript. With a lot I mean the basics and more, including event handling and the storage engine. Of course it also explains how to use the canvas element to draw lines, circles and images.

After reading the book, everything explained in the book was clear to me, and I had no questions.

What I really liked about the book is that every single line of code is explained. Every? Yes every line, but only once or twice. This makes sure that you fully understand the thing your programming.
What I disliked about the book is that doesn’t cover the full possibilities of HTML5 like the book Pro HTML5 Programming: Powerful APIs for Richer Internet Application Development. But I have to admit, that’s not what the book promises! The book aims to teach you HTML5 and JavaScript.
If you want  to learn HTML5 and CSS3 from the scratch I recommend that you take a look at Beginning HTML5 and CSS3: Next Generation Web Standards.

After reading the book I am able to program my own JavaScript/HTML5 based game.

Why would you buy this book? If you are familiar with HTML 4 and/or JavaScript and want to get to know what’s possible with HTML5 and JavaScript. This book is ideal for people who want to learn how to program their own simple games. For your information: its currently not possible to make a FPS shooter with HTML.

More information about this book can be found at the publishers site.

Paperback: 376 pages

Publisher: Apress; 1 edition (November 2, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1430233834

ISBN-13: 978-1430233831

Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1.1 inches