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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 bird on the cover of XML in a Nutshell, Second Edition, is a peafowl, the largest bird in the Phasianinae family, which also includes pheasants and turkeys. People often incorrectly call peafowl peacocks. Peacocks are actually male peafowl; the females are called peahens. Two wild peafowl species exist today: the Indian peafowl (Pavo cristatus) and the Green peafowl of Southeast Asia (Pavo muticus), which may be endangered. These wild peafowl live in musters of 8 to 12 birds in dense forest near water. Though they do not fly very well, and do so only for short distances, they do manage to escape most predators and roost peacefully at night, high up in treetops.

The peafowl's most famous characteristic, of course, is its beautiful fan of feathers, known as a "train." Each blue-green train feather has a dark spot on its tip that looks much like an eye. Peacocks develop especially brilliant plumage, an indicator of sexual maturity, by age three. A healthy peacock has a full and vibrant train each year during the spring mating season. During this period, peacocks strut their stuff-display their "breeding plumage," as it is called-to attract peahens. Scientists theorize that the peacock's performance plays upon the peahen's instinctive drives to find healthy mates in the hope of producing hardy offspring. Each summer after the mating season, peafowl shed their train feathers, which are often collected by humans as eye-catching souvenirs.

Jeffrey Holcomb was the production editor and copyeditor for XML in a Nutshell, Second Edition. Jane Ellin and Sarah Sherman were the proofreaders. Matt Hutchinson, Tatiana Apandi Diaz, and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. Linley Dolby and Mary Brady provided production assistance. Judy Hoer wrote the index.

Ellie Volckhausen designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is an original illustration created by Susan Hart. Emma Colby 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 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. Additional fonts used in this book include TibetanMachine, Code2000, Adobe MathematicalPi2, and Adobe MathematicalPi6. 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 Sarah Jane Shangraw and Molly Shangraw.

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