The Bottom Line The tagline for this book is "Catching Users' Eyes -- and Keeping Them on Your Site" which, if the book taught that, would make a very useful book. Unfortunately, there is a lot of scattered information in this book, and not a lot of assitance in either painting the Web or keeping customers on your site. Pros
  • Covers a lot of different topics
  • Very high overview of most topics in the book
  • Too much humor that gets in the way of what you want to learn
  • Not well organized
  • Only one chapter on Web photos
  • Chapters 1 and 2: Playing with images and basics of image formats.
  • Chapter 3: Web photography
  • Chapters 4 and 5: Graphics on Web pages including popular image styles like reflections.
  • Chapters 6, 7, and 12: Vector graphics including SVG.
  • Chapters 8 and 9: CSS and Web design.
  • Chapters 10 and 11: Dynamic graphics and canvas with Silverlight
  • Chapter 13: Programming graphics with tools like ImageMagick.
  • Chapter 14: Geotagging.
  • Chapter 15: Graphs and images that convey data.
Guide Review - Painting the Web by Shelley Powers

When I first saw this book, I was very excited. Shelley Powers has written a number of great books, and this one from O'Reilly had the eye-catching color cover and the O'Reilly brand behind it. Unfortunately, while this book covers a lot of things, it falls far short of the promise on the cover. There you are told this book will help you catch your readers' eyes and "[Keep] Them on Your Site", but all this book really does is re-iterate common suggestions from lots of other books and put them together in a pretty (full-color images and text) package.

This is not a small book, over 600 pages, which is somewhat misleading. Because it was a book called Painting the Web, I thought it would be about Web graphics. And while it's got a lot of Web graphics information, that's not all it covers, and what information it does include is very high level without a lot of research or explanation. For as thick as this book is, each topic is only given 1 chapter of discussion. And there are chapters that don't add a lot of value but just seem to be there to fill out the page count. For instance: a chapter on CSS, which covers a few basic CSS design tricks and a description of a Mac-only CSS editor. Windows users are out of luck. There is also a chapter on Web design basics wherein she starts out by saying she's not a designer. Which makes me wonder why she's writing the chapter in the first place.

Finally, the tone of this book is overly informal, almost like a blog. Some people may like that type of thing, but since I paid over $45 (after tax) for this book, I'd rather read something a little less cutesy. Blog informality is great - in a blog.