Web Design And Development - Top Pick CSS And HTML Books
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 17 June 2019
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Web Design And Development - Top Pick CSS And HTML Books
CSS Titles
Going Further with Website Design

The majority of development now takes place for the Web, so it's no surprise that we've reviewed hundreds of books on HTML and CSS.

In many ways HTML 5's role is just as an improved markup language, but it has been adopted as making it possible to do things that we couldn't do without the help of complete programming environments supplied as unreliable plugins - things like Flash. Of course, being just a markup language HTML 5 needs help in the form of CSS and JavaScript.

You could argue that CSS is more important than HTML5. After all, it actually controls how the UI looks and even how it behaves. If you plan to build a custom control then it is CSS you need to learn. In this bookshelf we look at books covering HTML 5, CSS, and a couple of more general Web design titles. In a forthcoming bookshelf we'll look at books covering other aspects of Web design and development.

To make it into this Programmer's Bookshelf selection, each book has to have been awarded at rating of more than 4 out of 5 stars. For this round-up the main points of each review have been extracted. To read the full version click on the title. Clicking on the book jacket thumbnail in the side panel will take you to Amazon and if there's is a Kindle version (the lower of the two thumbnails in the side panel) you can generally read the introductory chapter.

 

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HTML Titles

The books in this section take HTML as their main subject matter, though inevitably some also include coverage of CSS or other topics. 

 

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HTML5: The Missing Manual 

Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2013
Pages: 518
ISBN: 978-1449363260
Rating: 5

Awarding the maximum five stars, Ian Elliot said this particular book, which he reviewed in its original edition, aims to make HTML 5 much clearer and in the main it succeeds. According to Ian that overall the style of the book is excellent. You feel as if you are reading a chat with a knowledgeable friend who isn't afraid to occasionally say something that is definitive and perhaps even controversial. 

His conclusion:

"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."

Teach Yourself HTML and CSS in 24 Hours 

Author: Julie C. Meloni & Michael Morrison
Publisher: Sams, 8th Edition, 2009
Pages: 456
ISBN: 978-0672330971
Rating: 4.5 

This is a book about HTML, including HTML 5, and CSS and a whole lot more, and giving it 4.5 stars, Ian Elliot explained that it takes an approach you could describe as "hand coding HTML and CSS" which is of course not what everyone does. 

However, Ian's conclusion is that if this is what you are looking for then it is a good steady-paced introduction that wont confuse you. What it isn't  is a cookbook of methods that shows you how to do larger things like construct a multicolumn layout or anything even slightly creative. It's worth pointing out that the 8th Edition with extra coverage of HTML 5 is only available in the Kindle version - the print edition hasn't been updated to that edition. 

HTML5 Pocket Primer 

Author: Oswald Campesato
Publisher: Mercury
Pages: 200
ISBN: 978-1938549106
Rating: 4.5 

Ian Elliot started his review of this pocket primer for HTML5 saying: "oh no not more boring summaries of semantic tags - but this one is very good". He gave it 4.5 stars, and said that overall this is a neat introduction to many HTML5 technologies. However, Ian warns that none of the introductions are "in depth" and you aren't going to find the book particularly useful once you graduate from beginner in any of the categories. 

Ian's final conclusion was that:

"While this book isn't going to be of much use to the complete beginner or the non-programmer, it could certainly help web developers find out about the vague package of technologies that we tend to call HTML5."

HTML5 Multimedia: Develop and Design 

Author: Ian Devlin
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780321793935
Rating: 5

Like other books in the Develop and Design series, this book is targeted at beginners who want to build more adventurous web pages. David Conrad gave the book the top five star rating, saying that overall this is a good book if you are a beginner willing to put in some work or an intermediate JavaScript programmer wanting to see some techniques in use. He warned that it will disappoint the expert as the pace will be too slow and the examples all fairly obvious applications of general facilities. It achieves its easy to read and understand quality by picking a topic that is nicely self-contained and small enough to be treated well in 250 pages. 

If you want a simple and fairly complete book on HTML5 multimedia then this one comes with a recommendation - but remember to get the goodness out of it you do need to be happy with programming in JavaScript, otherwise you are restricted to the first four chapters. 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 17 June 2019 )