Author: Peter Elst, Charles Brown & Nathalie Wormser
Publisher: Friends of Ed, 2011
Pros: Wide coverage of HTML5 topics
Cons: The imposed "solutions" format doesn't always suit the content
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
HTML5 solutions is a formulaic book in the sense that it presents "solutions" in a set format, even if the format doesn't quite suit a topic. The sections included in each solution are: What's involved, How to build it and Expert tips In many cases one or more of the sections isn't really needed. This format makes more like a programming recipe cookbook than anything else - only HTML5 isn't really programming.
The biggest problem with this book is its very "bitty" approach to the subject. For example, solution 1.3 is about dividing a document into sections and you might think that this would deal with the idea that HTML5 is about semantic markup i.e. placing tags to divide up the different portions of a document according to their meaning and purpose. All it actually deals with is the use of the <section> tag which is a very small topic for a solution. In fact you could say if <section> is the solution what then is the problem? Chapter 1 is mostly about the other new semantic tags but this whole idea could have been introduced more efficiently by not being treated as a set of solutions.
Chapter 2 is about HTML5 markup - so what exactly is the difference between markup and non-markup. Here we have some more simple examples of using tags - <hr>, <iframe> and so on. At last some of the topics covered are getting more interesting but again the solution format doesn't really suit the material.
Chapter 3 moves on to structural and semantic markup and starts off with the idea of microdata. This chapter has some overly long examples to explain simple ideas. Chapter 4 tackles HTML5 forms but avoids the trickier problems in how to handle the server side.
Chapter 8 marks the start of even more advanced material in the form of the communication APIs with chapter 9 dealing with web sockets. Chapter 10 is about geolocation; Chapter 11 is on local storage and the last chapter looks at accessibility. Considering that the book starts off with a look at some very simple and very basic HTML5 tags this is a long journey and much of the last few chapters is not really mainstream HTML5 yet.
The book does discuss which browsers support what HTML5 feature but it doesn't discuss what you should do in the the case that it doesn't. It also doesn't give you much idea of what is going on on the edges of HTML5, like WebGL for example.