Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects.

The animal on the cover of Real World Web Services is a domestic pigeon (Columba livia). There are more than 150 breeds of domestic pigeon, in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. The typical domestic pigeon is distinguished by its blue and gray plumage. As adults, domestic pigeons are approximately 12 to 14 inches long and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds. Their traditional diet consists primarily of seeds and whole grains, and they can travel far from their nest to locate food. Domestic pigeons reach sexual maturity at five to seven months of age. They mate throughout the year but predominantly in the summer months. The female pigeon lays two eggs each mating cycle, and the male and female birds take turns sitting on the eggs to incubate them until they hatch.

The domestic pigeon is thought to be the first bird tamed by humans. The first domestic pigeons were bred about 6,000 years ago from the rock pigeon, which lived in the wild in Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. The domestic pigeon was first brought to North America in the early 1600s. Today, American domestic pigeons thrive in urban areas, where they have become comfortable amid the bustle and noise of city life and have adapted their diet to survive on leftover scraps of human food.

One of the most famous breeds of domestic pigeon is the carrier pigeon. Bred for the pigeon's exceptional homing abilities, the carrier pigeon has been used since ancient times to transmit written messages fastened to its body. When dispatched, the carrier pigeon can travel at a speed of 45 miles per hour, and despite traversing extremely long distances, it instinctively returns to its home coop. During World Wars I and II, carrier pigeons saved hundreds of human lives, intrepidly flying through combat zones to deliver crucial messages at times when radio transmissions weren't feasible.

Mary Anne Weeks Mayo was the production editor and copyeditor, and Sarah Sherman was the proofreader for Real World Web Services. Sanders Kleinfeld, Emily Quill, and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. Mary Agner provided production assistance. John Bickelhaupt wrote the index.

Ellie Volckhausen designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. Clay Fernald produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.

Melanie Wang designed the interior layout, based on a series design by David Futato. This book was converted by Julie Hawks to FrameMaker 5.5.6 with a format conversion tool created by Erik Ray, Jason McIntosh, Neil Walls, and Mike Sierra that uses Perl and XML technologies. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using Macromedia FreeHand MX and Adobe Photoshop CS. The tip and warning icons were drawn by Christopher Bing. This colophon was written by Sanders Kleinfeld.

The online edition of this book was created by the Safari production group (John Chodacki, Ken Douglass, and Ellie Cutler) using a set of Frame-to-XML conversion and cleanup tools written and maintained by Erik Ray, Benn Salter, John Chodacki, Ellie Cutler, and Jeff Liggett.