Sams Teach Yourself HTML, CSS, and JavaScript All in One

Author: Julie C. Meloni
Publisher: Sams
Pages: 656
ISBN: 978-0672333323
Aimed at: Beginners
Rating: 3
Pros: Easy to read and clear
Cons: Doesn't do justice to the whole topic
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

 

A single book covering HTML,CSS and JavaScript sounds like a lot to cover. Is it a good idea?

Author: Julie C. Meloni
Publisher: Sams
Pages: 656
ISBN: 978-0672333323
Aimed at: Beginners
Rating: 3
Pros: Easy to read and clear
Cons: Doesn't do justice to the whole topic
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

 

A single book covering HTML,CSS and JavaScript sounds like a lot to cover. However, if you want to master the creation of modern web pages or web apps it is what you need to know.

You can think of HTML and CSS as the layout language and JavaScript as the programming language. You create an HTML app by using HTML and CSS to specify the user interface and then JavaScript to make things happen.

It is a lot to learn and this book widens the net by including information on general issues such as how to best host a website, etc.

 

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Part I is called Getting Started on the Web and it has four chapters giving you a general orientation. At the end you should have some idea what hosting a web site is all about and what HTML, CSS and JavaScript are for.

Part II is where we get down to some real work. This is about using HTML to design a web page - fonts, text, tables, links and images. Part III adds CSS to the layout mix and deals with more difficult ideas such as the box model, float and liquid layouts.

Part IV introduces JavaScript and its a classical sort of Javascript which doesn't emphasis objects. This is JavaScript as a scripting language. We cover the DOM, variables, flow of control, events, functions and built in objects. Part V moves on to advanced topics but not really advanced JavaScript. Instead of dealing with the subtleties of the language it discusses the unobtrusive JavaScript principle, third party libraries and Ajax. As a result the two sections put together hardly constitute more than a very basic introduction to actually programming in JavaScript. There is so much more to say.

The final part is about advanced website functionality and management. This covers printing pages, forms, organizing and managing a website and helping people find your site, i.e. SEO.

Overall this isn't a bad book in that when it tackles a topic it does it quite well. It is easy to read and clear. However, it doesn't really do justice to the HTML/CSS/JavaScript technology. It approaches the task of building a web page using HTML/CSS and then adding a bit of JavaScript spice. For example, it goes over the well worn issue of unobtrusive JavaScript. There are many modern web pages that simply couldn't function without JavaScript and if you are building web apps the whole idea of unobtrusive JavaScript is just silly. You have to demand that the user has a modern browser with JavaScript switched on to see the page otherwise you simply display a message saying sorry.

If you are looking for a book that is about building web apps, then you will be disappointed despite the fact that it covers the three essential technologies. If  you are looking for a book that is about the more traditional art of creating web pages that occasionally do something, then you might be more content with this choice.


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Pro C# 5.0 and the .NET 4.5 Framework

Author: Andrew Troelsen
Publisher: Apress, 6th Ed
Pages: 1535
ISBN: 978-1430242338
Audience: C# programmers, novice to expert
Rating: 4.5
Reviewed by: Alex Armstrong

To reach a 6th Edition a book obviously has a good pedigree. It also raises the question, What's New?



Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers

Author: Michael Schrenk
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 362
ISBN: 978-1593273972
Aimed at: PHP developers
Rating: 4
Pros: Practical with lots of projects
Cons: Doesn't describe big bots/spiders
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

It's important to note the subtitle, "A Guide to Developing Internet Agents with PHP/CU [ ... ]


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