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REVIEW: "Internet and World Wide Web How to Program", H. M. Deitel/P. J. Deitel/T. R. Nieto

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Ha
    BKIWWWHP.RVW 20000420 Internet and World Wide Web How to Program , H. M. Deitel/P. J. Deitel/T. R. Nieto, 2000, 0-13-016143-8, U$67.33 %A H. M. Deitel
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2001
      BKIWWWHP.RVW 20000420

      "Internet and World Wide Web How to Program", H. M. Deitel/P. J.
      Deitel/T. R. Nieto, 2000, 0-13-016143-8, U$67.33
      %A H. M. Deitel deitel@...
      %A P. J. Deitel deitel@...
      %A T. R. Nieto deitel@...
      %C One Lake St., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
      %D 2000
      %G 0-13-016143-8
      %I Prentice Hall
      %O U$67.33 +1-201-236-7139 fax: +1-201-236-7131
      %P 1157 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "Internet and World Wide Web How to Program"

      Deitel and Deitel have made a name for themselves, and obtained a
      commanding presence in the programming textbook market. Their books
      are generally well structured, in terms of advancing through the
      material in such a way that the student is able to progressively add
      to his or her arsenal of skills. Unfortunately, the books are not
      always as careful about the specific contents of the text.

      This material is rather heavily dependent upon Microsoft products.
      The book comes with Internet Explorer and FrontPage Express on the
      CD-ROM, and examples use the Microsoft versions. This is acceptable
      in a work which is, after all, intended to take students through a
      course of study and wants to minimize the variations in environment.
      However, while there is mention of the fact that browsers, and even
      versions of the scripting languages, may vary, this does not appear to
      be pointed out in practice through the book.

      Chapters one and two are very simplistic introductions first to
      computers in general, and then to the Internet and World Wide Web.
      The presentation of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) that is given in
      chapters three and four is clear enough for the basic operations, but
      emphasizes stylistic elements over functional ones. Complications are
      brushed aside, as when forms are proposed with a not-yet-covered Perl
      script, rather than the more accessible mailto function that students
      could use right away. Three commercial products are promoted in
      chapters five to seven.

      Chapter eight begins instruction in JavaScript programming.
      Unfortunately, some important points are mentioned tersely, or not at
      all. Having seen a number of examples of HTML in the previous
      material, we are suddenly confronted with a DOCTYPE statement, and no
      idea of why or how it may be needed. There is a brief reference to
      the fact that these initial scripts are being created in document
      headers and a promise that inline scripts will be covered later, but
      no explanation or specifics. Server side programming is not reported.
      Again, formatting of material is presented earlier, and in more
      detail, than more substantive commands like window.prompt and
      parseInt. The material is definitely presented in a field independent
      manner, which makes it easy to get started producing programs, but
      quite difficult to understand what is actually going on. For example,
      although the terms are used correctly, there is no discussion of the
      differences between keywords, object, methods, and functions.
      Therefore, novice readers may misunderstand, for example, the
      assertion that keywords never have capital letters since built in
      functions quite clearly do. Still, the text does not assume any prior
      familiarity with programming, and touches on, albeit lightly, a number
      of basic and important concepts. Chapters nine and ten deal with
      control structures. (Occasionally the book disregards its own advice:
      while earlier material stressed the importance of aligning indentation
      for nested statements, the sample code for labeled breaks is very
      confusing.) Functions are illustrated in chapter eleven. Once again
      a limitation in prior material presents a problem: the ability of a
      form to call a script as action is passed over too briefly. (There is
      also a typo in the one reference to help in chapter fourteen: it's in
      sixteen.) Chapter twelve takes a fairly standard look at arrays. The
      talk of objects in chapter thirteen may be misleading: it is only
      specific JavaScript object methods (commands or operations) that are
      discussed, and not object-oriented programming as such. It should
      also be noted that, despite the number of topics covered, this section
      overall is really only an introduction to JavaScript. Variations
      between JavaScript 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, ECMAscript, and Microsoft's JScript
      get such scant mention that one might as well say that they are not
      covered at all. Internals of the language, and inconsistencies in
      behaviour of variables and operators, are not presented either.
      Readers will be able to start generating simple "active" content on
      Web pages, but only at a level that could be duplicated by other

      Dynamic HTML (aka DHTML) starts with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in
      chapter fourteen. The notion of the Object Model, in fifteen, may be
      confusing. It begins with a reference to changing a P element, and is
      the first mention of a paragraph element having any attributes.
      (Understanding of the point is not assisted by the very terse
      introduction of the P element back in chapter three, and the
      inconsistent use of the closing tag.) There is also no discussion of
      the use of more basic technologies to accomplish, for example, timed
      changing of pages. Chapter sixteen's promised Event Model really only
      lists the events that can be used to trigger an action. Filters
      likewise are a list of graphic effects in chapter seventeen. Chapters
      eighteen to twenty describe some ActiveX controls for data, graphics,
      and animation. A variety of multimedia (and other) programs are
      suggested in chapter twenty one.

      Chapter twenty two introduces VBScript very briefly, starting with the
      differences between JavaScript and VBScript, looking at some string
      functions, and then wandering into a confusing look at
      object-orientation. Electronic commerce and security is covered
      mostly in terms of press releases in chapter twenty three. Details
      are few: the discussion of shopping carts doesn't mention cookies, the
      secion on auctions doesn't mention fraud, and Authenticode is stated
      to be reliable. Chapter twenty four gives detailed instructions on
      two Microsoft Web servers, along with a brief mention of those others
      that have the majority of the market. Database access is discussed in
      chapter twenty five. The material on Active Server Pages (ASP), in
      chapter twenty six, concentrates on example scripts, and does not
      explain either the basic concepts or the security weaknesses of the
      system. There is a rather slapdash introduction to Perl, and a brief
      mention of CGI (Common Gateway Interface) in chapter twenty seven.
      Chapter twenty eight looks at XML (Extensible Markup Language) but
      even if you know SGML it doesn't explain much. Some samples of Java
      servlets and cookies are included in chapter twenty nine.

      The primary target audience for this book is college courses or self-
      study for programmers. The questions, both self-review and other
      exercises) are therefore fairly important to the work. Unfortunately,
      the practice sessions are weak. The questions are, for the most part,
      simplistic and serve primarily to determine whether the student has
      read the material, not whether it has been understood at any depth.
      Still, these may be useful as review, as are the collections of tips
      and common errors at the end of each chapter.

      It is also disappointing to find that the book has no command
      reference for the programming sections, although there are summary
      lists in various sections.

      This book does touch on a number of Web programming topics, although
      touch seems to be the operative word. Instructors would be well
      advised to go through the material for themselves, first, and be
      certain they have identified the traps and errors.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 BKIWWWHP.RVW 20000420

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      `*If* he finds out.' `If! If is good.' - Pain and Panic
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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