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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 animals on the cover of Java and XSLT are ermines, also known as stoats or short-tailed weasels. Mustela erminea are found around the world between the Arctic Circle and approximately 40 degrees north latitude. Their body length, not including tail, ranges from 7 to 12 inches, with proportionately sized tails from 3 to 6 inches long. They weigh between 1.5 and 11.5 ounces. Males are, on average, larger than females.

Ermines can both swim and climb trees, and though they live in such diverse habitats as grasslands, tundra, and deep forests, they tend to prefer rocky or brushy areas. They are carnivores and eat mostly rodents, but they also enjoy small rabbits and birds, fish, bugs, and eggs. (Whether they take their eggs sunny-side-up or over-easy is still a matter of great debate.)

Female ermines give birth to only one litter per year. The mating season is in the late spring, but after fertilization, the ermine embryos stop developing and do not implant in the uterus for several months. Once implantation occurs, gestation takes only about a month, and the babies are born in the spring of the year following fertilization.

Ermines can live up to eight years, but their lifespan in the wild tends to be only a year or less. Their main killer is starvation, dependent as they are on fluctuating rodent populations, but they are also preyed upon by hawks, owls, and humans.

Ermine fur, which is harvested from both M. erminea and its cousin, M. frenata, the long-tailed weasel, is specifically the fur of an ermine in winter. At this time of year, their fur is stark white except for a small black tip on the tail, leading to the black-flecked, white-fur robes favored by stylish monarchs all over the world.

Matt Hutchinson was the production editor and copyeditor for Java and XSLT. Susan Carlson Greene proofread the book, and Leanne Soylemez and Emily Quill provided quality control. John Bickelhaupt wrote the index. James Carter provided production assistance.

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

David Futato designed the interior layout, based on a series design by Nancy Priest. Neil Walls converted the files from Microsoft Word to FrameMaker 5.5.6 using tools created by Mike Sierra. The heading font is Bitstream Bodoni, the text font is ITC New Baskerville, and the code font is Constant Willison. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using Macromedia FreeHand 9 and Adobe Photoshop 6. This colophon was written by Leanne Soylemez.

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