Page 2 of 2
Pick of the Shelf
To date, the only HTML book that has been awarded the 5-star accolade is HTML5: The Missing Manual (O'Reilly) and this book by Matthew MacDonald came out in 2010 and so benefited from the fact that at the time HTML5 was indeed new and needed documentation.
At that time we faced the big big problem of browser compatibility, and to a great extent we still do. This particular book aims to make it all much clearer and in the main it succeeds.
This is a very straightforward book that starts by going over the history of HTML through XHTML and the problems that eventually resulted in HTML5. It explains the design philosophy and then takes you for a brief walk through creating a very simple HTML5 page. The book then devotes two chapters to the central innovation of HTML5 - semantic markup.
The review, which was posted in September 2011 concludes:
If I had to pick a single HTML5 book to read, this would be it. It is an easy read and it gives you a clear idea of what is and is not in the current HTML5 specification. Recommended.
The only problem I have with repeating this recommendation is that now it is probably time for the 2nd edition!
Why so few recommendations?
After trawling through all the reviews we have done on HTML titles for developers, including books in other categories such as mobile and games, the conclusion is that there is a real dearth of titles to recommend.
But perhaps the problem lies not with the authors and editors of the books but with HTML5 itself and the premise that it is a suitable development environment. HTML is a markup language and there's not a lot you can do with it on its own. Indeed David Conrad's review of HTML5: Designing Rich Internet Applications (Focal Press, 2010) which he rated as a 3 on the grounds that "certainly isn't about creating Rich Internet Applications" made the point "most of the new features in HTML5 are fairly simple and easy to understand - you don't really need a book"