Women in Tech: Shelley Powers

This is the first of several interviews with women in technology. Today you’ll learn about Shelley Powers. Shelley is perhaps best known as a writer. Her most recent books are Learning JavaScript and Painting the Web. She’s also a programmer and web developer, and she applies a powerful and logical mind to everything she does.

Q: I looked you up on Amazon and found a list of books you’ve written that includes Learning JavaScript, Painting the Web, Adding Ajax, Learning JavaScript: Add Sparkle and Life to Your Web Pages, Unix Power Tools, Practical RDF, Powerbuilder 5 How-To, Developing Asp Components, Dynamic HTML, Dynamic Web Publishing Unleashed, Javascript How-To: The Definitive Javascript Problem-Solver, and Using Perl For Web Programming.


How did you get started on a career as a writer? What was your education and background?

A: I’m a late bloomer educationally. I quit high school when I was 15 and joined a religious cult, Children of God. When I came to my senses and left the group, I went from the frying pan to the fire by marrying, at 16, a man who had learning disabilities and resented the fact that I liked to read. We lived in a house in the country and if it weren’t for the fact that the local library would send books out, and allow you to return them in pre-paid envelopes, I would have had very little to read for two years.

. . . Read the full post at BlogHer.

Review: Painting the Web

Reviewer: Virginia DeBolt

Summary: Comprehensive resource for web graphics

get Painting the Web at Amazon.com

Rating: 5/5

When I heard about Painting the Web by Shelley Powers (O’Reilly, 2008) I had the idea that it would be only about SVG. I read the author’s blog at Burningbird and a number of posts about SVG on her blog gave me the impression that her latest book would be about using SVG on the web.

Boy, was I wrong.

This is the most complete, comprehensive, encyclopedic (pick your adjective) compendium of information about all forms of web graphics that I’ve ever seen. That does include SVG, but there is so much more.

Here’s the bottom line: if you use graphics on the web, you need this book.

Some of the topics in the book:

  • a history of graphics on the web
  • raster graphics and RGB color
  • copyright
  • taking photos from camera to web, RAW images, color matching effects
  • Photo editors and online photo editors
  • thumbnails, frames, galleries, slideshows
  • buttons, badges, gradients, blurs, reflections
  • vectors
  • SVG
  • CSS
  • design principles
  • dynamic graphics
  • canvas, and dynamic SVG and canvas
  • programming for images
  • geographical apps such as maps with programming and non-programming
  • graphs and data and visualization

You ought to be convinced about the comprehensive nature of the material in this book now. It’s also extremely well written, a pleasure to read and easy to understand. You’ll find everything from humor to Photoshop tips to the code needed for a PHP slideshow in this book.

Highly recommended.