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Book: HTML Studio Skills (1997)

In June 1997, Hayden Books published “HTML Studio Skills” co-authored by myself and Marcus Eby.  It was  the culmination of 4 months’ work co-authoring a comprehensive tutorial on web development undertaken earlier that year.  I had been technical editor for several web books to that point, and advisor to other friends authoring books on web development.

The title is actually a bit of a misnomer: within the book readers learned how to work with HTML, admin a web server, create CGIs, work with Javascript and Photoshop images, and the broad range of skills needed to be a “webmaster” in that era.  The project had struggled to get off the ground when Hayden’s editor, who had worked with me on another project, asked me to help out Mr. Eby, who was also based in the Vancouver area.  We re-tooled the outline to match my deeper coding and protocol background and set forth.

HTML Studio Skills was a tough project to tackle:  it required us to provide demonstrations, example code, and other tools on CDROM as complements to the material in the chapters.  I averaged a chapter a week throughout the project, delivering (if I recall correctly) approximately 15 chapters including diagrams, art, design, and the CD materials.  I ate a lot of tomato soup and drank a lot of Pepsi during the creation of this project.

The book received good reviews, and we were asked to write a second edition in 1998, however I was in the middle of transitioning to Cisco and moving to California, so was unable to participate.  The book sold a bit more than 10,000 copies.  Nowadays, the idea of encapsulating a comprehensive guide to web development within a single book would be absurd.

I hope we helped a few people get their careers launched.  By 2000, I was seeing copies of the book in the discount bin at Fry’s Electronics for $9.


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June 1, 1997