Foundation - Mac
OS X Web Development
By Phil Sherry
Published by - friendsofed - an Apress Company
- What the Book is About
- The aim of the Mac OS X Web
development is to provide the reader with a solid a foundation for developing web
pages and web applications on the Macintosh platform. It covers topics from basic
web pages to advanced interactive websites with embedded multi-media.
Given it's 319 pages Mac OS X Web Development is a fairly comprehensive manual for
web development on the Mac. It begins with coverage of basic capabilities and discussion
of web development tools. It then moves on to development of static web sites and
then to dynamic web page development. Later chapters cover UNIX essentials, use of
the Apache web server, database integration ( using MySQL), server-side language
environments (PHP, Perl, ASP, ASP.net, JSP and ColdFusion) and, finally, Multimedia
Here is list of the chapters with a note about what is covered by each one.
Chapter 1 - Introduction to Mac OS X Panther: New Features - As it says, describes
the features of 10.3 when it was released. Short comparison to OS 9, introduces PHP
and UNIX as elements of web development and introduces Adobe and Macromedia's web
Chapter 2 - Mac Graphics and Design Issues - More detail about the Adobe and Macromedia
products. Covers typography, color use, page layouts, copyright issues and Mac-PC
Chapter 3 - Developing Static Websites - Introduces and provides examples of XHTML,
Chapter 4 - Browser Issues - A brief history of web browsers. Some detail on the
Gecko, WebCore/KHTML and proprietary (Internet Explorer, iCab and Opera) browser
engines. Discussion and examples of HTML Tags, Frames and iFrames.
Chapter 5 - Dynamic Web Page Development - How dynamic sites work. Introduction and
examples of Common Gateway Interfaces (CGI). More details and examples using Perl
and PHP. Working with Apache web server. Using mail to relay error messages.
Chapter 6 - Mac UNIX Essentials - A Mac UNIX primer. Discusses Darwin. Listing and
examples of basic UNIX commands. Discussion and examples of Remote operations. Using
Fink and X11.
Chapter 7 - Apache Modules - Much more detail on using Apache. Configuration, the
modules, Xcode, UNIX interactions.
Chapter 8 - Databases - Explanation of databases. Details and examples of setting
up a MySQL database working with a website.
Chapter 9 - Server-Side Language Environments - descriptions and examples of Perl,
PHP, ASP, ASP.net, JSP, ColdFusion. Security considerations and problem avoidance.
Chapter 10 - Multimedia - Mac iapps - iTunes, iPhoto, i Movie, GarageBand, Quicktime
Pro and using them with web sites. Darwin Streaming Server. Using Flash.
The book includes numerous specific examples presented in text book or recipe book
fashion. All of the code included in the book can be downloaded from the web (www.friendsofed.com).
The book will take a dedicated reader through every step necessary to construct their
own operational and interactive web site.
- Target Audience
- This book is intended for
Mac users who are interested in going beyond the basic web page capabilities provided
by .Mac or other on-line hosting services. Readers of this book will typically have
the desire to delve deeper into the web development technology with the objective
of creating fairly complex, interactive web sites and web applications. This in not
a book for novice Mac users but reasonably experienced users will find it quite digestible.
- What to Expect
- Having only built simple web
pages before the work with Diane Love on the Cybernaut's website, the book was very
useful to me. The book provides a broad understanding of development tools and techniques
needed to design and develop advanced web sites. I like the very specific examples
provided because they allow the reader to perform real development tasks and produce
working web pages. This is much more interesting than just describing what can be
done, it really shows you how to do it.
The sections on Perl, PHP, UNIX, MySQL will, I believe, be useful references in the
future. Though the book is not a substitute for thorough training in these specific
programming tools, it does provide basic guidance for anyone familiar with programming
Mac OS X Web Development gave me the real desire to create a useful web application.
Now if I can only find the time and a subject to do it...
- What is Not Covered
- Something that I found a little
disappointing was in the area of the web and graphic development tools. The book
described and compared only the "major" tools in these categories: GoLive
and DreamWeaver, Photoshop and Fireworks, LiveMotion and Flash. Perhaps the aim was
to direct this section to more professional developers but it would have useful to
at least mention some of the lower cost alternatives such as Freeway Express, RapidWeaver,
Graphic Converter, GIMP and others.
- In my opinion Mac OS X Web
Development presents a wide variety of information in concise and easily digestible
fashion. I found the scope and depth of coverage appropriate for learning necessary
concepts in a short period of time. As stated earlier, the examples are very detailed,
useful and well explained. With the exception of the Adobe and Macromedia tools,
the book does an excellent job of covering the capabilities that are native to or
provided with OS X. These capabilities include PHP, MYSQL, Apache, Xcode, Perl, UNIX
and the multimedia "i-apps". If you have basic programming skill you really
can produce something useful from the information provided in Mac OS X Web Development.
Of particular interest to me was the chapter on Dynamic Web Page Development (Chapter
5). Though I have a basic understanding of how dynamic pages work I have never constructed
one other than by using "pre-built" components. This chapter has greatly
improved my understanding of dynamic operation and encouraged me to do some experimentation
in this area.
- Mac Guild Grade
- A (Outstanding)
- Final Words
- I believe that Mac OS X Web
Development is worthwhile addition to the library of anyone that is even slightly
serious about developing web solutions on the Mac. Though other books would be useful
to get into the full depth of technologies involved, I would consider this book a
versatile and convenient handbook to get one through a fair number of complex and
interesting web capabilities.