Sams Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML and CSS
Author: Laura Lemay & Rafe Colburn
Publisher: Sams, 6th Edition, 2010
Pages: 768
ISBN: 978-0672330964
Aimed at: Complete beginner
Rating: 4
Pros: Well-written and gently paced
Cons: Covers too much
Reviewed by: David Conrad

The title of this book goes on to say "In one hour a day". The real question is who is this book aimed at?

Author: Laura Lemay & Rafe Colburn
Publisher: Sams, 6th Edition, 2010
Pages: 768
ISBN: 978-0672330964
Aimed at: Complete beginner
Rating: 4
Pros: Well-written and gently paced
Cons: Tendency to cover too much
Reviewed by: David Conrad

 

The title of this book goes on to say "In one hour a day". It should also mention that covers a whole host of related topics including Javascript and PHP - but not in much depth. The real question is who is this book aimed at? It is comprehensive and starts from the very beginning of the web and how to use it. If you need to read the introduction you aren't going to get very far with the rest of the book.


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Part II gets on with explaining the basic ideas of HTML/CSS and does manage to get across the idea that HTML is about markup and not layout and CSS is about layout and not markup. At the end of this section you should have mastered the basics of how HTML and CSS work together up to being able to create a basic page with links and lists.

To move on to something more sophisticated you need the contents of the next part - Doing more with HTML and CSS. This covers topics like tables, working with images, designing forms and so on. The last part deals with some of the trickiest tasks in HTML layout - columns created using float. It all goes to raise the question of why HTML and not even HTML5 has an easy way of creating a multi-column layout.

Part IV is mostly off topic and at 80 pages is far too short to deal effectively with the topic anyway. It attempts to introduce JavaScript and Ajax and make it all seem reasonable. It doesn't really succeed but that's more because it is a difficult task.

Part V is about best practices - writing good pages, dos and don'ts - all very handy and interesting. Part VI goes into the server side with a quick look at PHP  and details of how to get on line.

It also looks at content management systems and publishing platforms in general. Here right at the end of the book you are confronted by the idea that if you need a book deals with HTML in these most basic terms then you might be better of using a higher level approach and ignoring HTML etc. In fact, unless you need to create a website that has absolutely unique features and facilities then you probably should be using some sort of CMS or publishing system - a wiki, a blog, a store application etc. And if you do need something special you need a programmer or you need to become a programmer. Finally there is also the whole issue of using WYSIWYG editors - another fine way to avoid having to work with HTML and CSS directly. Admittedly it is always a good idea to know enough HTML etc to be able to step in and manually edit what an editor has produced but raw HTML is rarely the best way to approach building a website.

So what is the verdict?

There isn't much wrong with this book if you want to learn HTML and CSS. It is well written, slowly paced enough for the complete beginner and comprehensive.

The only real complaint about the content is that it attempts to be too comprehensive and includes topics such as Ajax, JavaScript and PHP that would have been better left for another book.

So if you really must learn HTML and CSS from the absolute beginning then by all means by a copy of this book. On the other hand you would almost certainly be better off learning about Drupal, Joomla or Wordpress.

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MongoDB The Definitive Guide, 3rd Ed

Author: Shannon Bradshaw, Eoin Brazil and Kristina Chodorow
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 514
ISBN: 978-1491954461
Print: 1491954469
Kindle: B082J7DMBX
Audience: MongoDB developers and administrators
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This popular book, regarded by many as the MongoDB bible, has been update [ ... ]



Data Structures And Program Design Using C

Author:  D. Malhotra, N. Malhotra
Publisher: Mercury Learning & Information
Pages: 450
ISBN: 978-1683922070
Print: 1683922077
Kindle: B07FKR6LSQ
Audience: CS Students
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Harry Fairhead

Data structures and program design in C isn't a silly choice, but surely Java or a hig [ ... ]


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 February 2011 )