KillerSites Blog

Nerd Book Reviews

My new book is getting unanimous 5 star reviews!

January 22, 2016


Altogether I have 7-8 reviews on, and … but they are all 5 star! It’s a start!

I haven’t asked yet, but if you bought the book, I would really appreciate it if you could head over to Amazon, and give it a review.


Stefan Mischook


read more

An interview with David Siegel about his new book on the semantic Web: Pull

February 27, 2010

David has had a knack for pointing the way, when it comes to the Web. In David’s new book ‘Pull’, he’s now pointing the way when it comes to the Web, business and perhaps even more. In the following interview, I try to get to heart of what Pull is all about.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

An interview with David Siegel about Pull

1. What is ‘pull’ in a nutshell?

It’s the first book of its kind, describing the next 10 years of innovation online, where all industries will transition from a push model to a pull model. In the next few years, your customers will pull information, products, and sevices from you, and you’ll have to set up to be pulled, rather than pushing.

read more

Web Design for Developers – Book Review

February 18, 2010


This book’s title does not do it justice – it’s also a great book for intermediate web designers (just out of web design diapers) who want to take it a few steps further.

The book revolves around the redesign of a pretty bland looking web site. You are walked through the whole design process:

  • sketching out the design/layout ideas.
  • interacting with the clients.
  • how to choose colors and fonts for the web site.
  • designing a logo!

Then you get into the coding (HTML, CSS) aspects of the web design process:

  • Why develop with Firefox vs Internet Explorer?
  • Basics of CSS and handling specific CSS tasks.
  • Dealing with browser compatibility issues.
  • Accessibility and usability.

… And a lot more of course.

If you are a web developer or web designer who wants to learn how to put it all together, this book does a pretty good job walking you through the process.


Stefan Mischook.

read more

Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business

December 30, 2009


In 1995 David Siegel wrote one of the most important books on web design Creating Killer Websites. He taught in the book, the future of how the Web should look.

Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business

… I still have a copy on my bookshelf after all these years.

David is about to release a new book that should also be a ‘killer’ – Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web to Transform Your Business

I’ve just started reading about Pull on David’s new site and I’m anxiously waiting to get my copy of the book. This time around, I’m not going to be late to the game.

From the Amazon editorial:

The first clear guide to the Semantic Web and its upcoming impact on the business world

Imagine that, in 1992, someone handed you a book about the future of something called the World Wide Web. This book claimed that through a piece of software called a “browser”, which accesses “web sites”, the world economy and our daily lives would change forever. Would you have believed even 10 percent of that book? Did you take advantage of the first Internet wave and get ahead of the curve?

Pull is the blueprint to the next disruptive wave. Some call it Web 3.0; others call it the semantic web. It’s a fundamental transition from pushing information to pulling, using a new way of thinking and collaborating online. Using the principles of this book, you will slash 5-20 percent off your bottom line, make your customers happier, accelerate your industry, and prepare your company for the twenty-first century. It isn’t going to be easy, and you don’t have any choice. By 2015, your company will be more agile and your processes more flexible than you ever thought possible.

The semantic web leads to possibilities straight from science fiction, such as buildings that can order their own supplies, eliminating the IRS, and lawyers finally making sense. But it also leads to major changes in every field, from shipping and retail distribution to health care and financial reporting.

Through clear examples, case studies, principles, and scenarios, business strategist David Siegel takes you on a tour of this new world. You’ll learn:

-Which industries are already ahead.
-Which industries are already dead.
-How to make the power shift from pushing to pulling information.
-How software, hardware, media, and marketing will all change.
-How to plan your own strategy for embracing the semantic web.

We are at the beginning of a new technology curve that will affect all areas of business. Right now, you have a choice. You can decide to start preparing for the exciting opportunities that lay ahead or you can leave this book on the shelf and get left in the dust like last time.

Stefan Mischook

read more

Book Review: PHP 5 in Practice

December 11, 2006

Intermediate level book for active php programmers. From the book’s cover:

‘Recipes and solutions for PHP programmers’

This is a very good book, actually one of the best recipe books I’ve read period.

You can tell that the authors are still actively writing code – you can feel it as you read the chapters. The book consist of a series of techniques (they call recipes) that are commonly needed by php programmers.

Some example recipes:

  • How to Sort Arrays
  • Send HTTP headers
  • Encode a string for use in a URL

… this book is packed with all kinds of php goodies. There is much more to be found .. I just never list too much from a book since you can easily look it up online.



After a brief introduction, each chapter provides a bunch of micro-tips related to the recipes discussed in the chapter. They call these tips: ‘quick hits’.

I found the ‘quick hits’ to be very useful because they provide a very concise and easy to read look at aspects of the php language. I can see myself referring to this book often just because of the ‘quick hits’.

I actually keep this book nearby to flip through once and a while, just to give me ideas. It has already helped on a php 5 project I am working on.


This I think is a great book. It has lots of practical information and is without a doubt, one of the most useful books on programming I’ve read – and I’m talking all languages.

Buy the book if you work with PHP or planning to.

Stefan Mischook

read more

Book Review: PHP Cookbook 2nd edition

October 17, 2006

The ‘cookbook’ series from O’reilly press target a reader who understands (at least) the basics of a subject, these are not good books for beginners. This is the 2nd edition and covers PHP 5.

PHP Cookbook presents PHP by task rather than by language construct. For example:

  • Accessing Substrings
  • Controlling Case
  • Parsing Comma-Separated Data
  • Taking String Apart

The above list is taken from chapter 1 on strings. You’ll notice that there are no function names listed, but rather string related tasks.

That style of organising and presenting the material by common task, makes ‘PHP Cookbook’ very handy for any PHP programmer.

In my experience as a web developer, there have been many times when I would have a task to preform but wasn’t exactly sure how best to handle it … a book like this allows you to flip around and find what you need.


Besides showing how to preform common tasks with PHP, PHP Cookbook also does a good job discussing PHP concepts and aspects about the language – for example:

What is the difference between ereg and preg?

We learn that preg works more like Perl regular expressions, where the function also needs delimiters – you will have to get the book to learn more!


Each recipe is broken down into three subsections:

  1. Problem – a simple statement of what we are trying to do.
  2. Solution – a concise code snippet (usually) doing what we need to do.
  3. Discussion – shedding more light on the subject at hand.


I like the ‘cookbook’ series of books. If you are a PHP programmer, I know this is a book you probably should have sitting on your desk.

Stefan Mischook

read more

Book Review: HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables using CSS.

October 3, 2006

Another good book from the boys and girls at Sitepoint – a well written book that walks you through the techniques of modern web design.

Over the last few years a whole bunch of CSS / web standards based books have hit the market. Some were good and some sucked
but there was one thing that was been consistent about them: they all reflected the maturing web design community.

You need to pay attention the word maturing: there were still a few technnical things that had not exactly settled in terms of how web designers should do things.

HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables using CSS is among the first books I’ve seen that demonstrates a maturity in web design.


It’s all about modern web design practices and techniques. The following topics are covered over 450 pages:

01. Basics
02. CSS 101
03. CSS Code
04. Validation & Backward Compatibility
05. Color
06. Fonts
07. Text Effects
08. Simple CSS Layouts
09. Three-Column Layouts
10. Fixed-Width Layouts
A. CSS Miscellaneous
B. CSS Color Reference
C. CSS Property Reference


If you are a total noob to web design, this is not the book for you. You can start with my free web design tutorial to get your feet wet, then you’ll be ready to buy this book!

You need to have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. Once you have that, this book would quickly guide you through the sometimes thorny path to web design nerd glory.

Again, a book worth getting.

Stefan Mischook

read more

Book Review: Build Your Own Ajax Web Applications

October 2, 2006

A very interesting book for experienced programmers.

I’ve reviewed several AJAX books and each has their own slant on the subject. Build Your Own AJAX Web Applications is the first that actually got me to think of AJAX based applications as a replacement for the traditional desktop applications.

… You’d figure I would have clued into this reality before, but for some reason, it only clicked while reading chapter 2!


Clearly you need to have a web programming background to understand this book. If you’re shaky with programming and object oriented programming is a great mystery to you, then you might find aspects of this book challenging.

On the flip side, if you want a refined and advanced approach to injecting AJAX into your web work, and you are comfortable with Javascript and a server-side language like PHP, then this is a very good book.


  • An overview of the basic technologies you’ll need to use to build Ajax applications.
  • Understand the XMLHttpRequest object, the core of Ajax applications.
  • Build a cross-browser XMLHttpRequest wrapper that you can use in all of your Ajax projects – using OO Javascript.
  • Build an Ajax application site monitor that works in real time.
  • Learn how to use Ajax without breaking older browsers or causing accessibility issues.
  • Fix the “Back button” problem.
  • Use JSON, YAML, and XML to communicate with the server.
  • Create an Ajax search application that pulls data from Amazon,, and Google.

.. yes, I got this list from amazon, but why reinvent the wheel!


I like the fact that the book does a good job of teaching AJAX while not getting bogged down in useless code and text – the book is concise, to the point and thin.

Get the book.

Stefan Mischook

read more

Book Review: Learning PHP & MySQL

September 10, 2006

Another great book from O’Reilly.

This book targets beginners to PHP but NOT total beginners to code and programming – I think that certain explanations of the basic programming concepts, may confuse a some people.

Doesn’t matter though, once you’ve done my free video tutorials (found on this site,) you will be able to breeze through this book.

Besides the basics of PHP programming, the book does a good job teaching basic database theory and concepts – but not so much to bore you to death.

Instead (like the rest of the book,) the coverage of database theory is just enough to get you going with MySQL.

read more

Book Review: Web Designer’s Reference

August 2, 2006

This book is a mirror image of the book Web Design with Dreamweaver 8 by the same author – except this book is for hand coders.

A good title for people new to modern web design practices that include:

  • CSS for layouts
  • Semantic code
  • Accessibility in web design

The topics are covered within the context of small usable projects, that can easily be adapted to your own web design work.

Though published in 2005, the material is still relevant and still is a pretty good buy.

read more