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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 ASP.NET in a Nutshell, Second Edition, is a stingray. The stingray is a flat, rectangular fish with no dorsal or anal fins that lives in shallow coastal areas around the world. It hides itself in the sandy or silty sea bottom while feeding on fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. The stingray is best known for its long tail, which holds a serrated spine near the tail base. When threatened, this spine injects a powerful, and often fatal, venom into its victim. The venom contains proteins that can slow an animal's respiration rate to dangerous levels. Humans are often surprised to learn, however, that the stingray is normally gentle and nonaggressive.

Contrary to popular belief, stingrays usually sting humans only when stepped on by unsuspecting swimmers. When threatened in this manner, the animal reflexively whips its tail back to defend itself. This defense is effective against most animals, except for its main predator, the shark.

Communities living near stingrays have valued the animal for centuries-particularly in Polynesia, Malaysia, Central America, and Coastal Africa, where the stingray's spine was used to create spears, knives, and other tools. More recently, the stingray has become a popular tourist attraction; the stingray has been a major source of tourist income over the past decade in some island resorts in the Caribbean. Resorts in the Cayman Islands have taken special measures to educate humans about the stingray. Some resorts in this area even advertise beaches where tourists can swim and play with the animal.

Jane Ellin was the production editor and proofreader for ASP.NET in a Nutshell, Second Edition. Derek Di Matteo, Colleen Gorman, and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. Mary Agner and Jamie Peppard provided production support. Julie Hawks wrote the index.

Emma Colby 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. Emma Colby produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font.

David Futato designed the interior layout. This book was converted by Andrew Savikas and Joe Wizda 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 9 and Adobe Photoshop 6. The tip and warning icons were drawn by Christopher Bing. This colophon was written by Ann Schirmer.

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

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