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Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0596101978 ISBN-10: 059610197X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (December 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059610197X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101978
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Today, serious Web pages use HTML and XHTML to structure their content and CSS for style and presentation. You need a book that understands how to incorporate everything correctly. Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML explains the fundamentals of HTML, XHTML, topics like web color, and CSS properties. In this book, pictures and step-by-step instructions explain how to build great-looking, standards-compliant web sites.

The Road to Programming is Sometimes Paved with Web Pages
By Elisabeth Robson

I am often asked how I first got started in programming. Recently, I was interviewed by Girls Gone Geek, a weekly podcast on technology from a women's perspective, and they asked if I got started by creating web sites. The Girls clearly have no idea how old I am! (Shhh...) I actually started programming long before the Web was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye, but their question got me thinking, and I realized that creating a web site is a good way to get started on your way to programming.

Now, you might be thinking, "Writing HTML and CSS is not the same thing as programming", and that's technically true. But once you've put together a basic web page, you'll have learned a lot about how the web works under the covers, and you'll be able to tackle some simple programming concepts. The next logical step is to learn a bit of JavaScript, so you can create some cool effects on your web page. Before you know it, you'll be learning Ajax, and then a server side programming language like PHP or Java, and then you'll need a database, so you'll learn some SQL... and ta da! You're a web programmer. I work with several people who have taken an interesting path to programming. One friend has an advanced degree in music and is now a business data analysis expert; another started out wanting to be a farmer, became a web application programmer, and is now a serious Java programmer.

For those of you who have no interest in the mechanics of web pages, there are lots of programs out there, like Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression, that will help you create a web page without having to know how HTML and CSS really work. But if you want to know what's happening under the covers so you can learn about how web pages really work, and eventually write some JavaScript and do more advanced programming, I definitely recommend writing your own HTML and CSS from scratch. You can use a simple editor like TextEdit (on the Mac) or TextPad (on Windows). No need for anything fancy.

Another advantage to writing HTML and CSS yourself is that you can always write your web pages using the most current standards. When we wrote Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML, HTML 4.01, CSS 2, and XHTML 1.0 were the most current and best supported versions of these technologies, and in fact they still are. But standards development is inching along and before too long, HTML 5, CSS 3 and XHTML 2.0 will be launched and supported by browsers. If you stay up to date with these standards, you're likely to be writing far better code than programs like Dreamweaver or Expression do.

Once the new standards for HTML, CSS and XHTML are nailed down a bit more, we'll update Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML to include some of the cool new features. HTML 5 will be more strict than HTML 4 was, but it's designed to be backwards compatible with older browsers, so you will be able to convert your HTML 4 pages to HTML 5 web pages without worrying too much about breaking them in older browsers. (However, always keep in mind that there is no substitute for lots of testing!)

In the meantime, you can write HTML 4.01, CSS 2 and XHTML 1 knowing that these standards will be the most current and the best supported for quite a while. When the new standards are released and supported by browsers, we'll help you sort through it all so you can focus on creating great web pages and building up your web skills. And once you get the hang of some of these web page skills, you might very well find yourself wanting to move from creating web pages to programming.

Book Description

A Learner's Companion to HTML, CSS, and XHTML

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Customer Reviews

It is very easy to read and very clear written.
FrenkyB
You can go as fast or as slow as you want with this book and there's a lot of pics to make sure you don't get completely lost in the text, much like you do with HTML.
Lana
So, if you want to learn HTML, XHTML and CSS, this is the book you need.
E. Edwards

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

183 of 198 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The "Head First" series by O'Reilly does it again. This book manages to take the conceptually easy yet complicated task of learning HTML, XHTML, and CSS and breaks it down so that anyone can figure out what is going on and what needs to be done in web page design using these technologies. Plus, if you learned HTML several years ago and you would like to update your skills to current technology, this is a great choice for a textbook.
The book starts out with the basics of HTML -text, webpage form via HTML, putting your webpage on the Internet and linking to other web resources, and adding images and thumbnails. Next the author tackles XHTML, starting by answering the questions What is XHTML? and Why would I want to use XHTML? The author composes three simple steps to take you from strict HTML to XHTML:
1. Change your DOCTYPE to XHTML 1.0 Strict.
2. Add the xmins, lang, and xml:lang attributes to your <html> element.
3. All empty tags should end in "/>" not ">".
Next, CSS is introduced, along with the properties that can be controlled via CSS. When you read the CSS chapters you'll find yourself asking "Why don't other books just SAY this plainly like THIS book does?". Eventually, the author has you doing advanced layout and control using all the tools available to you without you ever noticing that you've been "studying". The book concludes with lessons on interactivity and tables. I think it is most interesting that the author saves the subject of tables for the end of the book versus other texts that usually introduce them early on. This is because the author is using the more advanced lessons on CSS to help make the subject of tabular data less confusing.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Johannes de Jong on December 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been involved with the Head First series as a reviewer from the beginning and, as such, my review might be biased, but I will regret not telling you how good this book is.

The Internet is fast becoming a means of sharing one's life with friends, colleagues and anybody out there who is prepared to listen. Some start by telling their story using a blog; the more adventurous create their own web sites, and it is that category of person that this book is aimed at. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this book, and the whole series, seems too upbeat and too young for you. This book is for all ages, The Head First series is designed to make learning fun, and though it was originally aimed at the younger generation, I personally think that old age pensioners will be able to learn HMTL the correct way just as easily as their grand children if they use this book - and you will be sooo cool if you have this book on your shelf when they, the grand kids, visit again next time.

The emphasis in this book is on creating web pages the correct way, to make pages that will work correctly in any browser. If you work through Elisabeth and Eric's book, you will end up with a web site that can withstand anything the W3C's Markup Validation Service can throw at it. And when your web pages pass the validation, you can put the W3C's cool "passed validation" logo on your site. A sign of recognition that you know what you are doing.

This book does not require you to have prior HTML knowledge; it takes you by the hand and teaches you everything you need from scratch. But don't be fooled, I was the review manager for this book and even some of the reviewers with years of HTML knowledge under their belt learnt new things from it.
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74 of 82 people found the following review helpful By zen_reader on November 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
We're using this book in a college course I'm taking. This book contains a massive amount of REALLY good information, which has been buried in a landslide of unnecessary blather. Add to this the complete lack of a sensible, extensive index, and this book leaves me so frustrated, I am nearly ready to drop the class. (see below..)

The vast amount of useful information in the book makes it difficult to remember it all at one time. But it's impossible to refer back and find something a week after I've read it without leafing through an entire chapter or more, page by page, because the index is so brief and incomplete.

With a good, complete index, I'd give this book 4.5 stars for it's excellent content (withholding 1/2 star for all the blather). Without a usable index, the book is nearly worthless to me.

GOOD NEWS UPDATE!! The O'Reilly people have replied to my complaint about the index. They're compiling, and will be uploading a complete, extensive index online in January 2008! Too late for my class, but hey! Someone really does listen. Thanks, O'Reilly!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Warren Kelly VINE VOICE on January 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Head First HTML with CSS and XHTML is totally unlike any other HTML book I've ever read -- or owned. Most are basic references -- "if you want this, do this" type books. Very dry and dull, not something you're going to sit and read in one setting. Not helpful to someone who is not technologically inclined who wants to learn how to "do a website."

This book is written to teach. It's written so that you remember what you read, using techniques that teachers are being taught to use in the classroom. And it's one that I would actually use in the classroom if I were still teaching Computer Applications.

The first thing you notice about the book is that it's colorful. Normally, the only color in an HTML book is the chart of colors and their hex codes (which, ironically, this book doesn't have). Even the acknowledgements include color pictures of the people they are thanking. And everything in the book is worth reading through -- including the acknowledgements and the table of contents. There's a healthy use of humor throughout that makes it worth actually reading through, rather than just using as a reference.

And that's the point. The authors are quick to say that if you're looking for another HTML reference book, to keep looking. This is a book for people who want to learn.

I wasn't sure how much I'd really learn from this book -- after all, I'd just read and reviewed Creating Web Sites: The Missing Manual. But while that book gave me a good basis for understanding CSS, this book has expanded my understanding considerably. I've got a CSS reference book that has been seldom used; I think I'll be dusting it off soon, because I know enough to be able to use it now.
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