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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Definitive Guide to HTML5
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best book on HTML5 (and HTML in general) that I have read. What separates this book from others is the authors bluntness when it comes to code design "zealots" that will run you in circles and a nearly complete mention of whats available to you in a certain parts of the languages (HTML5, CSS3, and JS) that are being discussed at the time.

The author provides complete tables of attributes, functions, elements, methods, etc. when they are discussed rather than shoving them into the appendix of a book that you may or may not read. This helps the reader to know what the language is capable of, so that we can get our own ideas of how we would tackle a certain problem when reading the book, or how we would apply the values being covered in the book to our own projects.

This differs from most books because authors will usually only bring up capabilities of a language as they use them in specific examples, so you only end up with a zoned interpretation of what the language or tech can do.

I don't usually write reviews unless a book is really good or really bad, and you can probably tell. But this is a really valuable book hands down. It's 1000 pages and covers current HTML CSS and JavaScript as it relates to HTML Very Well.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 5, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Although I started with Cold Fusion for application development, I did plenty brochureware sites with HTML. I believe the version was HTML 2.0 for IE 2.0. I lived in the browser world for years doing Cold Fusion, ASP, and HTML sites. When winforms and Smart Client with Web Services emerged I changed my religion. I have been avoiding the browser whenever possible since.

For the past couple of years my extent of using simple HTML has been limited to writing blogs and book reviews. Simple HTML means no ASP.NET or ASP.NET MVC. With all the HTML5 hype I figured I would take some time and read a few books on it. This one is my third and I have one more on the way.

So far I have found HTML5 is no different than any other version with respect to the way its capabilities are implemented and where it belongs when architecting a solution. It is far reaching, but if you want a rich HTML5 UI you will be writing a lot of JavaScript and CSS. It really can't be helped, that has always been the real skin and muscle on the HTML skeleton.

HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS are broad subjects. This book can help the beginner learn HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS and it can serve as a nice reference for the experienced developer. This tome definitely delivers a lot of information.

There are getting started chapters for beginner on HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. They are followed by a chapter that puts all the elements the book covers into context. Meaning there are tables showing which elements are used for metadata, text, grouping, sectioning, tables, forms, and embedding.

The book continues with chapters covering Creating HTML Documents, Marking Up Text, Grouping Content, Creating Sections, Working with Tables, Working with Forms, Customizing the Input Element, Other Forms Elements & Input Validation, and Embedding Content.

The chapters list above are followed by an in-depth treatment of CSS and JavaScript. There are 16 chapters covering the topics in great detail.

The author then moves into more advanced features. It covers using ajax, multimedia, the canvas, drag and drop, geolocation, web storage, and creating offline applications.

The one thing the book does not do is stray from core browser capabilities. However, the author points out when using advanced libraries like jQuery would be advantageous. I am glad the author handled it this way. Instead of glossing over topics that need a complete book to cover completely, he kept the scope limit allow for more in-depth coverage of core browser capabilities.

The authors writing style is great, but the book also makes a great reference. Tons of tables and a nice index helps you to find things quickly.

The code is organized in folders by chapter. It is all usable and works like it is supposed to. I know this sounds like something that is just expected, but there have been some book's code I have downloaded that was disorganized to the point of being unusable. In a book like this, accompanying code is an important aspect.

If you are doing, or considering doing HTML5 development, you own it to yourself to have this book by your side. I highly recommend it to anyone involved with web development.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Definitive Guide to HTML5 is a great resource for getting your bearings on the new implementation of HTML. It starts with a quick overview of HTML, CSS and JavaScript for anyone who has no/little experience in them, then jumps into some more complicated CSS with CSS3 features thrown in to logical places in the text. The next section covers JavaScript, and while a little boring at times, the way the author handles them is very to the point. Following the JavaScript and events sections, the author moves right into what he calls Advanced Topics such as AJAX, audio/video objects in HTML, Canvas and other new HTML5 properties. While these sections were great for getting a general idea of how things work, I did find myself jumping to reference pages on W3Schools to fill in the blanks as there's a lot more events and properties to some of these new features that weren't covered, but I figure this is due more to the fact that there are just so many additional properties that would have drastically increased the size of the book. Overall I loved this book for learning to be a better web programmer, and as a student it definitely helped for putting together some of my own side projects, however for someone who is already a seasoned web developer I would suggest using this book more so as a reference rather than a cover-to-cover read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is a very good book overall, although there are many many typos. It's almost like the book wasn't edited at all. This shouldn't be a deal breaker as long as you're already somewhat familiar with HTML, as it's pretty obvious what the mistakes are, but it is definitely something to be aware of.

That said the content of the book is great. As with most technical books there are sections that could be better, but I think the choices of what to include and what to leave out were completely on the mark, and most of the chapters are superbly written.

The one thing that I don't like the book is that it doesn't go into how HTML is actually used in practice much at all. For example it goes over the 20 different ways that you could do a layout, but it neglects to mention that pretty much everyone actually does it in one of maybe three or four different ways, and for very good reason. So even after you read this book you're still going to need to look at the Mozilla Development Network, A List Apart, Stack Overflow, etc. However, despite these flaws I still think this is a great book overall and is definitely worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
execute all the source code in the book.
Some package needed to be installed and it wasn't explained in the book in detail.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I know that HTML5 is a moving target, but still, this book felt more like a draft than a "definitive guide." This is exacerbated by the fact that it is now fairly outdated.

A little background--I have been making software since the late 90s. I used to be pretty strong in Web dev, but for the last several years, I've been focused on other things. What I was looking for was a one-stop, comprehensive overview to refresh my knowledge. This book probably gets you like 85% of the way there for that, mainly due to its being as I said a bit outdated. For instance, there is no coverage of Web workers.

The other minor beef I have is the examples. I've actually done a lot of technical writing myself, so I know it's always a challenge to balance between simplicity and focus on the current thing being taught and at the same time being somewhat realistic and relevant to real work in the field. For me, this book was a tad too much on the simple side. In fact, in some areas, it felt like not much more was being offered over just reading the specs themselves. Actually, a few times I had to look up the specs to really get a better idea of what a thing was meant for. It's almost as if the author really didn't understand or, at least, value the purpose of the element, so he just barely covered it.

A good thing to do for a book on an emerging technology is to offer online updates. Even if it were nothing more than minor corrections/additions, it would help keep the book relevant for longer.

For all that, it did serve its purpose for me as a good starting point for updating my knowledge. I can't strongly recommend the book. I'd suggest looking for something more recently published (as I should have done). If the publisher and author were to offer an update/supplement, as I said, it would make this book more viable and recommendable.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
This primary goal of this book is to inflate the number of pages.
The pages are filled up with useless information copy and pasted from some html/css specs or something.
Completely useless information takes up half the book.
Doesn't even tell you which browser supports which features.

Has one sentence that tells that what it's telling you is currently completely useless and to check out blueprintcss. Then continues on telling you completely useless things.

Book is poorly formatted. Unclear/bad examples.
Hard to use. Poorly written. Bad presentation. Very unclear, long-winded attempts at explanations.

I think the author spent most his "writing" time just copy and pasting stuff from W3C, while removing all the useful information and adding his own gibberish.

Doesn't provide anything insightful to the reader.
It's completely inadequate, half-baked, as a reference. And it's cluttered garbage as a tutorial.
At every page turn, you'll have to Google whatever the book is talking about and end up on W3Schools or MozDevNetwork. And CanIUse.com to see actually find out if you can use whatever the author attempted to explain.

I'd say it's better to get something like Learning Web Design by Robbins and then use Mozilla Developer Network as a reference.

I've gone through 3 APress books so far, and they've all been awful.

Skips over basic Javascript stuff like prototypes.
Skips over basic HTML like meta viewport, @media queries
Skips over basic CSS, like gradients.

The comprehending the pathetic attempts at instruction is a monumental task.

Total disregard for responsive web pages. Does not address any HTML or CSS that pertains to making web pages work across different screen resolutions.
That's horrible. Mobile traffic is only going to grow, but Freeman pretends it doesn't exist.
This book was published December 2011, basically 2012.
This book's content was horribly outdated the day it was published.
It's not 1995 anymore. Totally inadequate. This is an expensive doorstop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have never learned HTML, Javascript, or CSS before, but the book does a great job of introducing these topics and showing their application in sample code. The author has an easy to follow style of introducing a topic, showing its application, and then explaining how it is used in the application. I am only half way through the book, but I love how easy it is to learn new concepts in this book! I would strongly recommend this book to a friend who wants to learn how to create standards-compliant, semantic, and modern websites!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I rarely review books that I have read, but I found myself wantint to review this book. My initial need was just the ability to study for the 70-480 Microsoft exam, but during the course of the book I realized I was enjoying the book. This, again, rarely happens while I am reading a technical book. The author, Adam, has taken a very difficult topic and put it in very simple terms. He points out that like the early browser wars the "standards" implementation between browsers vary and each of the chapters does its best to point out any variances of HTML 5/CSS 3/JavaScript functionality. The view point wasn't a specific browser-centric point of view, nor was it biased to one topic more than the other (HTML 5, CSS 3, or JavaScript).

The end result... I was able to quickly read the book with a deep level of understanding due to the elementry nature of the way Adam explained topics. I passed the exam I was looking to pass without issue, and am looking forward to his next book coming out in November.

So what would I add to this book?
I would add some practical exercises. Although there wasn't any practical exercises, I just typed in the code that was in the book.
Source Code from Publisher wouldn't download. Not an issue, but if you don't want to type in the code than this would be a problem.

Overall, I gave the book 5 stars. In the realm of technical books this is pretty uncommon, but I believe that with the topic, the clarity, and the ability to actually make me enjoy reading the book I think it is well deserved.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is a very ambitious attempt to cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript and AJAX from scratch and from the perspective of HTML5. It's very well written, clear, easy to follow and the examples are plentiful and to the point. If you knew nothing about HTML, CSS, JavaScript and AJAX, this book would be a good place to start. That is, if browser support for HTML5 was generally available which not the case just yet. My complaint is that, while this is a titanic enumeration of the various languages, there isn't a whole lot of insight into the "why"s of many of the new HTML5 specific features. For example, at the end of the "Working with Forms" chapter there are two paragraphs to let you know that, thanks to a new "form" attribute that can be applied to "input" and "button" elements, HTML5 permits form-related elements to be defined outside of the "form" tags. That's nice to know but why would I want to do that? It sounds like a bad idea to me. What problem does this address? Yeah, I can probably track that down somewhere online but the reason I buy books is so that I don't have to do so much of that. So, I'd say that if you're new to web development and you want to be ready for HTML5 when it arrives, this is a great place to start. If you already familiar with HTML and you're looking for more for a concise description of the differences between HTML4 and HTML5 and the motivations for those changes, I'm not sure this is the best book. That said, I haven't tried any other books yet so I don't know if there's anything better out there.
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