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About the Cover Illustration

About the Cover Illustration

The figure on the cover of ASP.NET 4.0 in Practice is captioned “Young woman from Montenegro.” The illustration is taken from a collection of hand-colored drawings of Dalmatian regional dress costumes from the nineteenth century titled Dalmacja. The historical region of Dalmatia was much larger than it is today, stretching from the Istrian Peninsula to Albania along the Adriatic coast. Today, the region is divided between Croatia and Montenergo, the latter administering a small southernmost section. The long, rugged Dalmatian coast, backed by high mountains with hundreds of offshore islands, is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular vacation spots.

The young woman on the cover is wearing a costume typical for the villages and small towns found in this region. Rich embroidery, handmade linens, and colorful woolen scarves and skirts are the traditional elements of a Dalmatian costume, with small, not easily discernible decorative details indicating the locality of origin.

Dress codes and lifestyles have changed over the last 200 years, and the diversity by region, so rich at the time, has faded away. It is now hard to tell apart the inhabitants of different continents, let alone of different hamlets or towns separated by only a few miles. Perhaps we have traded cultural diversity for a more varied personal life—certainly for a more varied and fast-paced technological life.

Manning celebrates the inventiveness and initiative of the computer business with book covers based on the rich diversity of regional life of two centuries ago, brought back to life by illustrations from old books and collections like this one.

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