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Book Review: Programming Web Graphics with Perl & GNU Software

By Jack Coats

While I am not a big time web developer or graphics enthusiast, I found Programming Web Graphics to be very interesting reading. The book begins with a down-to-earth explanation of graphics and file formats. From there, it goes into how web servers serve the files and reviews the free libraries available to develop graphics. The details of the libraries may not be everyone's cup of tea, but understanding what they can do helps with understanding how browsers and other utilities can benefit you.

The graphic programming tools are not for the rookie Perl hacker, but are explained in reasonable detail that anyone with some experience in Perl can learn to use the available free tools.

The exciting part of writing programs to do graphics on the Web is dynamic techniques. PWG covers image maps and animated GIFs, and includes techniques on how to roll your own tools, such as web counters, web cams and thumbnailing groups of images.

It is refreshing to see a book that does not ignore the non-graphical web user, and reviews the good and bad of writing browser-specific web pages.

Overall this is a great book for understanding some of the more advanced techniques and as a tool book for generating ideas and methods of your own. If you are looking for a ``how-to'', hands-on tutorial, for the un-initiated non-Perl coder, keep looking.

Copyright © 1999, Jack Coats
Published in Issue 42 of Linux Gazette, June 1999