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Software and Book Reviews

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Software and Book Reviews

What's hot, and what's not? Our reviews help you decide what's right for you before you spend your hard-earned money or time on software, Web sites or books that just aren't right for you. Be sure to check back. We review books and software on a regular basis so you will know what you're getting.

Let us know if there is a special piece of software or a certain book you would like reviewed.


Review: phpFox, a Social Networking CMS with all the Bells and Whistles
Is it time to stop blogging and start networking? This CMS has everything a developer needs to create a top of the line social networking site with all the features that users have come to expect from sites like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Book Review: Content Rich
Copywriting is often a daunting task. It's not uncommon for a copywriter to spend days or weeks on a project. In this book, you'll learn how to analyze the copy on an existing site, how to improve the layout of Web sites in relation to SEO, and more. By Lee Underwood. 1110
Book Review: Website Optimization
This book focuses on increasing conversion rates and optimizing the site for search engines. There are many case studies and examples, along with valuable tips and techniques for increasing the speed of your Web site. By Lee Underwood. 1015
Book Review: Head First JavaScript
This book is written for someone who has a good grasp of HTML and CSS, and is looking to extend their capabilities. There are plenty of stimulating tutorials, but most importantly, you'll learn how to create dynamic, eye-popping Web sites. By Lee Underwood. 0703
New Life for Old Drives
If you're looking to upgrade to a larger hard drive, add an external hard drive, CD drive or give additional life to a switched-out drive, this system is as simple as it gets. By Lee Underwood. 0916.
Software Review: A1 Sitemap Generator
Sitemaps (used for mapping your site), are now being used by search engines to index Web sites, which can improve your site's listings. To quickly generate a sitemap, you need a script or a program. One of these is the A1 Sitemap Generator, the subject of this review. By Lee Underwood. 0213
Review: Ajax Starter Kit
The term Ajax is often referred to as a new type of technology, but is actually several technologies that work together. How it does so is the subject of this article. By Lee Underwood. 1114
Inside Camtasia Studio 5: Part 1
In this article we're going to look at the major new features of Camtasia Studio 5, including: the streamlined recorder, SmartFocus, ExpressShow, new editing features, features for bloggers, FTP and Screencast, transitions and the project settings. By Nathan Segal. 1024
Software Review: SiteAssist 3.0
Designing Web pages can be a time consumng endeavor, especially if you have to start from scratch. Fortunately, if you use Dreamweaver, you can make use of SiteAssist, a Dreamweaver extension that allows you to build customized templates using table-based or CSS layouts. By Nathan Segal. 1017
Software Review: Synergy
This application allows users to share one keyboard and mouse with multiple computers running at the same time, even if the computers use different operating systems. And the best part? It's free. By Lee Underwood. 1003
Book Review: The Designer's Apprentice
One of the challenges facing computer artists is productivity, especially with repetitive tasks. Fortunately, this book shows you how to automate your workflow by using several types of scripting, including: AppleScript, JavaScript, VBScript, data-driven publishing and more. By Nathan Segal. 0926
Review: Feed Editor Lite
If you post news and commentaries on a regular basis, your readers can subscribe to them through an RSS feed. While many blogs and CMS programs offer RSS, it's not always the right choice, especially if you want to customize the feeds. If the latter is the case, check out Feed Editor Lite. By Lee Underwood. 0801
The Book of JavaScript, 2nd Edition
For many people, learning JavaScript can be a bit stressful. Through writing The JavaScript Diaries, I've read and reviewed many books. Some are good and others are a "bit tedious." A few are excellent. The Book of JavaScript falls in the latter category. By Lee Underwood. 0418
Review: Accessible Form Creator
With all the new technologies being developed for the Web, forms are still the best method for collecting information from visitors. HTML is the most widely used method but it can cause accessibilty issues. Fortunately, there's another option, Accessible Forms Creator. By Lee Underwood. 0307
Book Review: The Design of Sites
The publisher describes this book as "the definitive reference for the principles, patterns, methodologies, and best practices underlying exceptional Web design." If you've been looking for an all-in-one guide about Web design, check it out. By Lee Underwood. 0207
Review: Expressions Web
A new editor issued by Microsoft, this application is designed to replace FrontPage, which will be discontinued. Our reviewer takes a look under the hood of this program and finds some unexpected surprises. By Lee Underwood. 0108
Review: Image Compressor
Looking for a fast image compression solution? Have a look at Image Compressor, a simple application that allows you to quickly size, compress and batch process JPEG images for the Web. By Nathan Segal. 1116
Script GUI for PHP
If you've been writing PHP scripts for the Windows operating system, you know about the tedium involved when testing it on a Web site. That can get old - fast. Fortunately, there's an alternative, Script GUI for PHP. Check it out. By Lee Underwood. 1108
Review: CSS Tab Designer
If you've ever tried to create CSS tabs for your navigational systems you know how frustrating that can be. Fortunately there's another option, a piece of software which promises to be the solution to the problem. By Lee Underwood. 1004
Review: Site Kreator
Want to create an interactive Web site, but have little or no experience? Check out Site Kreator, an application with many options, such as CSS, blog creation, image galleries, mailing lists and more. By Lee Underwood. 0816
Review: Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business
Blogging is the topic of many a conversation these days. If you've been wanting to learn more about this medium and what it could mean for your bottom line, take a look at this book. By Nathan Segal. 0728
Review: Ajax in 10 Minutes
If you're a Web developer who wants to create a better user experience for your site visitors, this book will be a useful addition to your library. It's well written, but if you're a novice additional programming background is recommended. To learn more, read on... By Lee Underwood. 0623
Delicious Recipes for Your Web Site
This cookbook offers a wide range of solutions to real-life problems that come up regularly when creating and growing a Web site. If you've been wanting to learn how to build Web sites that people will visit, bookmark and revisit, read this review. By Lee Underwood. 0515
Book Review: Head Rush Ajax
Following on the heels of Monday's excerpt is a review of "Head Rush Ajax." The reviewer said, "I would rate this book as excellent, although it may take you a little while to get used to it." To learn more, read on.... By Lee Underwood. 0512
Inside WebTools Pro
As Web pages continually grow in complexity, Web developers need to check the many aspects of the Web pages they create. One method of doing so is with addons or plugins for the browser, such WebTools Pro, designed for use with Internet Explorer. By Lee Underwood. 0407
Review: 'Wimpy' Streaming Media Tools
Adding multimedia to a Web site can make it more attractive and appealing to your visitors but the process can be difficult, even if you know what you're doing. Fortunately, there are other options, such as Wimpy, which is easy to install and use. By Lee Underwood. February 6, 2006
Software Review: NoteTab Pro
If you're comfortable with HTML and CSS and don't want or need a WYSIWYG program, then NoteTab Pro may be the editor for you. Its many features and clip libraries make it an excellent choice for getting down and dirty in the midst of your code. By Lee Underwood. February 1, 2006
Book Review: Cascading Style Sheets - Designing for the Web
Written by the creators of CSS (Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos), this book covers all aspects of CSS, beginning with the basics, such as the anatomy of a rule, linking styles sheets to documents and progressing to more advanced topics. By Lee Underwood. January 27, 2006
Review: Blosxom
If you spend any amount of time on the Web, it's a pretty safe guess that you've heard of blogs. Basically, a blog is an online journal, but it's used for a wide variety of applications, such as businesses keeping their customers updated on current products, political topics, news blogs and more. This week, we look at Blosxom "pronounced blossom," a popular blogging script. By Lee Underwood. November 8, 2005
Book Review: Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers
For some Web designers, accessibility and usability are dirty words, creating the idea that many hours of intensive work are involved. In reality, it's not hard to make a Web site accessible. To prove it, Sarah Horton has written a book about the subject, and when it comes to accessibility and usability, she seems to know her stuff. By Lee Underwood, November 4, 2005
Book Review: Adobe Creative Suite 2 (Classroom in a Book)
Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2) has been released to many enthusiastic users and with that release is the companion "Classroom in a Book" title, published by Peachpit. This review looks at the parts of the book containing the most relevance for Web developers. By Nathan Segal. October 25, 2005
Book Review: Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists
As Web design professionals, we often need to do some form of writing. Since we design and code for a living, many of us aren't sure where to begin. This book gives you the necessary tools using short, concise, fast-paced tutorials. By Lee Underwood. July 18, 2005
Review: Rapid PHP 2005
Of the many editors available for creating (X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP pages, several combine a few different yet compatible languages. Some include support and a few manage to make it work seamlessly. RapidPHP 2005 belongs in the latter category. By Lee Underwood. June 24, 2005.
Review: Web Link Validator
Broken links can become a major headache for Web developers, especially if a site is rich with links. Since it's not feasible to physically check each link by hand, it makes sense to use a software program that will automate the process. One such program is Web Link Validator. By Lee Underwood. May 20, 2005
Book Review: Integrated HTML and CSS
Traditionally, when learning to code Web pages, HTML is taught first, followed by CSS. However, since both are related, it would make more sense to teach them both at the same time. In this book, HTML and CSS are taught together, making them easier to learn. Designed with the beginner in mind, this book assumes no prior knowledge of HTML or CSS. By Lee Underwood. March 9, 2005
Review: FeedForAll 1.0
RSS technology is really taking off. According to a recent study, 5% of Internet users say they use RSS. That's almost 46,700,000 users! As a Web developer, part of your job may be to create RSS feeds or develop a method that a client can use directly. In the past, this was usually done manually or through the use of Perl scripts, but now there are several software applications that make the creation process much easier. FeedForAll is one of those programs. By Lee Underwood. March 3, 2005
Review: FTPEditor Pro 3.1
Small edits of Web pages can be a cumbersome task, especially if you have to correct a grammar or spelling mistake. Usually, you have to open the file in an editing program, correct the mistake, save the file and upload it. Now, there's a way to bypass much of this work using FTPEditor. By Lee Underwood, February 23, 2005
Book Review: Web ReDesign 2.0 | Workflow that Works
Redesigning a Web site can be a daunting task. Whether it's one that you created or one that you've inherited, if the redesign process is not approached in a logical, well thought out manner, it can lead to some major headaches. What is necessary is a guide to lead you through the process, written by someone who has been there. Well, your guide has arrived in the form of the book, "Web ReDesign 2.0 | Workflow that Works", written by Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler. It covers the entire redesign process from beginning to end. By Lee Underwood. February 17, 2005
Review: WebDrive v6.05
Uploading and downloading files is a common task for a webmaster. Normally that's accomplished by using one of several programs, but here's another solution - WebDrive, which integrates WebDAV, FTP, or SFTP servers into the Windows desktop by mapping them to a network drive letter. Lee Underwood. January 26, 2005
Review: TopStyle Pro 3.11
There are many ways to create and edit Web pages and style sheets. Using TopStyle Pro is one method. TopStyle was created by Nick Bradbury, creator of the HomeSite HTML editor. For those of you who like HomeSite, you'll love TopStyle Pro. This program is jam-packed with all kinds of features. Lee Underwood. January 20, 2005
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