Customer Reviews: Sams Teach Yourself HTML and CSS in 24 Hours (Includes New HTML 5 Coverage) (8th Edition)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon March 22, 2007
As an IT professional that has built and maintained personal web sites for several years, I decided I needed to better understand what I was doing. I have used Front page for years to build the basic structure of my web pages, then venturing into the HTML to modify and add functionality. I never have taken a class or read any other books on HTML, if I got stuck, I would do a search and find a solution. Before purchasing this book I would not say I was a beginner, but I also knew my skill level was not that of an expert.

Authors of how to books must decided who they are writing for. In this case the authors chose to write to beginners, a category I don't personally fit neatly into. Each chapter is about twenty pages long and includes Q&A, quiz, and exercise sections. Each hour is intended to take an hour to read and complete the quizzes and exercises. However since I am not a beginner I find many sections require much less time. I don't feed the need to practice inserting an image onto a page when I already can accomplish the task.

But if I can already do the task, why read the hour? Well for starters, I'm not skillful enough to assume I know anything beyond the basics. Not only that, this book is teaching XHTML when and where it can. I may know how to insert an image, but making the code XHTML compliant is not something I was previously aware of. Not only can I add an image, but now I can easily explain the whys and hows to others if they should ask.

As I progressed through the hours, the subjects got more complex. Even so the chapters where presented and the subjects explained in an easy to understand manner. Each progressive hour builds on the previous ones, however if I wanted to, I could skip ahead to a different chapter and still be able to understand the lesson.

If you are a total beginner to HTML and CSS, this is the book to get. If you are not quite a beginner like I was, this book will take you to the next level. If you are an expert looking to brush up on your skills, look elsewhere. An expert may learn a thing or two from this book, but it is clearly not written for experts. As for me, I have no doubt this book has helped be become a better web master.


Very well written and structured in a way that promotes learning

In-depth discussions of CSS

Thorough list of subject matter

Worth every cent I paid and then some

Improved my skill level


I didn't get this book sooner
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VINE VOICEon January 29, 2006
Unlike many other topics in the computer world, there are a lot of options out there on the real-life and virtual bookshelfs for learning HTML. So instead of talking about what this book HAS, I think the better approach to explain why THIS book is a great option for learning both of these topics.

#1 Price - At this low retail price, you won't find many books that contain this much information (over 550 pages) for so little money. Many books out there will provide lots of the same information, but not for the bargain basement deal you will get with this text.

#2 Writing - SAMS has always been known for a great writing style. Splitting up sections into logical parts that make reading and learning easier for the reader, this book is structured in a great way for any person to learn from.

#3 Content - Most books will cover HTML and touch upon CSS, but few focus on it like this one does. Relating to bang for the buck, this book goes above and beyond what others do, going into great detail.

#4 Proven - With this being the 7th Edition, there is a reason why this book is around after so many years. They don't print a 2nd or even a 3rd edition unless sales are brisk enough to warrant it, so this alone should tell you that you aren't the first person to decide to try and learn HTML and CSS from SAMS Publishing.

The only downside? to this book is it's not aimed at experienced developers. If you already know HTML and CSS, you should pick up a more advanced book that covers things outside of the basics that this book does. Aimed at newcomers and amateurs, this book does what it says it does, and you WILL learn these topics in no time at all!!

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on March 27, 2006
This book packs a TON of helpful information in 500+ pages, and does it in a way that anyone can learn from. The tutorial-like 1 hour lessons are perfect: 1. The book gives you a practical example to learn from, 2. They do not simply give you step-by-step instructions on how to the example and call it a lesson. The author explains everything he is doing so you can readily apply it to what you are working on for your site. 3. This author does a good job of "mind-reading" in that as you're looking at an example, he anticipates the parts that will look confusing to someone who does not know this material and lets you know what's going on.

Simply put, as the title implies, this book does a great job of teaching you HTML and giving you a solid foundation in CSS allowing you to take it further on your own. And it does all this in a GREAT value of a book.

Although I would have liked to see another full chapter dedicated to layout using CSS, I'm really only saying that because I'm learning much more about it now, and how much more you can do with it. What the author does give is more than enough to get anyone started, and that's what's important.
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on January 24, 2010
I gave the book two stars not to slam it but because, as others have stated, it does not build an example page and then develop it in the manner that a reader intends to do. I have been working with html, in a non professional way, for 10 years and CSS for nearly as many. As an explanation, the book's example of using float was, in my opinion, insufficient. I had read the chapter and was attempting to apply what I had read to a web page for my business. I recreated what was in the book in one set of pages, a linked style sheet and an html page. I used my editor to generate the page for my own site. This was to help with the more involved page I was writing for my business. The basic structure of both was the same, though my business page had much more content. The results were dramatically different, my page was a mess. After moving back from the keyboard and mentally confirming that the structure concept was the same, I compared the DOCTYPE statements of the two pages. The DOCTYPE statements were different. When I used the same DOCTYPE for each set of pages they render the same way
The relationship between the DOCTYPE and how each browser, even within the same browser, renders the page is very different. The "discussion" of DOCTYPE is a note on the side of page 234. This topic deserves a clear explanation. This type of information is the type of insight I was looking for and clears up a lot of coding problems. I believe that almost everyone, after seeing how just a few tags are used quickly gets the idea of how to use many of them.

The chapter on forms starts by stating that without the knowledge of server side scripting, forms won't work. I'd be willing to bet everyone that can handle server side coding can easily write the html forms. So the point of that chapter was certainly lost on me.

I have set the book aside and have relied on [...] for answers. No, I have no relation with them what so ever.
I would still like to find a better book.
I purchased Sam's after being disappointed with CSS, the Missing manual.
Good luck
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on June 9, 2010
This book is written for those who are new at making websites, and includes chapters on related topics such as preparation of web graphics along with basic discussions and exercises on html and css. The topic of css itself is so vast that the authors can only present an introduction. Chapters on positioning in css are excellent and very important, while the absence of discussion about font units is puzzling. To be specific, the exercises use points to specify fonts and don't discuss px or em or % which are far more commonly used on the web. I also would have liked a discussion of best practices in css; that would really help with writing and understanding stylesheets. Certain chapters seem to be leftover from previous editions - such as framesets, that now have only specialized uses.

The title has to be taken with a large dose of irony, as does the "html5 coverage" on the cover (html5 is discussed on one page). html5 features are just now being introduced in web browsers so the use of xhtml is justified, but that cover made me expect more. "Introduction to Making Websites"is a more boring but more accurate title.

A book like this could be even more useful if it had a dedicated website with more discussion and examples tied to the published version.
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on February 11, 2010
I know that my site isn't going to win the WEB-E awards, but it has graphics, audio files, tables, photoshopped pictures and is something I was completely incapable of doing before I picked up this book. I had been thinking of taking college courses because I wanted to get into the web world and it seemed inaccessible. I majored in Cultural Anthropology, so I'm a bit behind the technology wave.

The sites I created were creationsbycrouch and huknowsphotography so far.

It isn't accessible any more. My sites are up and I've offered to make more sites for friends. I grow and learn daily and I'm having fun! I bought this book originally in kindle, which I like because I can listen to it with the text-to-speech function while I'm working out in the gym. The ideas kind of swim in my brain, but I found that when I was actually sitting by the computer, it helped to have a real paper version, so I bought a second copy of the book.

Simply put -- I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

I also bought Flexible Web Design and Teach Yourself PHP and MySQL. The Flexible Web Design Book is awesome! My sites now scale from wide screen to tiny! I haven't started down the PHP path yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
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on October 20, 2008
I know my title may affend some people, but i thought id actually give a review, not to just tell you that its great. I have many years of experience in design and a beginner at web design. I bought two books, this one and "Learning Web Design by Jennifer Niederst Robbins". My experience is NONE in web design and learning HTML. Well i have read both books and do like them both at some particular levels and view them differently which are highlighted below with pros and cons.

Pros on this book:
1. Very indepth of coding and the chapters are easy to read.
2. Really liked the fact that in the back of the book, it has an appendix that covers 10+ pages of code with a reminder discription of the code.
3. The author is a local, lol.
4. Chapters are well laid out and for a beginner, i think he covers it well.
5. I think you will learn something good from this book.
6. He goes over a summary of the chapter and answers a good amount of common questions people have asked him in the end of each chapter that pretains to what was just covered, and also is highlighted in the back of the book.
7. The book is a good price for what it covers.
8. In some chapters when he covers a particular area, he will give you web pages that can help you a little bit more.
9. He also tells you where to get free products to aid or host your web pages in the book.

Cons on this book:
1. I didn't enjoy the fact of one of the chapters that covers color and he asks you a couple of times to look at a certain picture of the web page he has provided and imagine it. No problem right??? Well the book is solid black and white, so i wasnt to impressed in seeing a black page that may look great if its in color, not in a black and white book.
2. The excercises are kinda bland and boring and dont cover alot.
3. Its not as hands on as i would like it to be, mostly just alot of info.
3. I didnt enjoy or think it was a good idea to cover a program that is hardly used, well from who i know that dont use it. He covers Paint Pro Shop for the how-to sections on applying color or designs to a web page. I just think he used a bad program and should have used photoshop, to me that would have been better sense i feel that photoshop is a main standard in the design field, well to me.

Sense these are the only two books ive read, and like many of you am new to HTML and CSS. I feel this book is a good guide and is the first book ive read from their series. Though i want to read more books to learn more, when its put up against the "Learning Web Design, i feel that book has better excersises for hands on than this book.. If you want to know more about it, read my review on that one.

Hope this all helps the next person and i look forward to reading the dreamweaver cs3 book i have by them.
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on June 7, 2007
Sams Teach Yourself HTML and CSS in 24 Hours has not only refreshed me on the ins and outs of XHTML but also given me a great introduction to CSS and how it works and is put to good use.

If you are looking to start making web pages with HTML and CSS this is definitly the first place you should look. The book dips first into the basics of XTHML (and HTML -- basically the same thing.)Later, it moves to Cascading Style Sheets and really educates you on how they can be used effectively and efficiently, without overdoing it super quick.

If you are new to web design, this book is for you.

Buy this book!!!!!
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on April 24, 2010
If you have never seen HTML before this book would be an excellent place to start. It starts from the very basics and assumes you know nothing. The subjects are broken up in chunks meant to be consumed in one hour lessons. I found that I could get through a lesson in more like 15 to 20 minutes.

If you are looking for an HTML and CSS reference, this isn't the place. However, the book points out a Web site that is a wonderful reference because it is easy to find a tag or command you are looking for through the links. And this site has examples you can play with live, which is a great learning experience.

The book would have worked better stand-alone if it had come with a CD of some ready-made examples to play with instead of having to type them in from the lising in the book. However, with the Web site mentioned above you have the whole package for learning.
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on January 20, 2012
While this book is no doubt really great, I am appending a quick comment to my prior review (below):

This book only covers HTML 4 and CSS 2. With the updating of the standards, you may want to try looking for a book covering HTML 5 and CSS 3, like this one:

HTML5 and CSS3, Illustrated Complete (Illustrated (Course Technology))

I don't want to say anything bad about the book, other than that in 2012 or beyond you might want to be looking for something to learn from that's a lot more updated.

I didn't realize this when I read the book this past week, and I still am glad I did, but I also realize I'm going to need some updating. Personally, I'll be reading the following to catch up:

HTML5 & CSS3 For The Real World

How on to my review...
This book is great as a learning tool and is meant to be a reference after the fact as well. Oddly enough, the latter fact is what those who don't like the book are unhappy about.

In short, while the lessons somewhat build on each other, they still remain in many ways independent of each other as well, and I consider that a good thing.

While there are plenty of examples, there's not a continual building up of a single site, and while many consider that a bad thing, I actually prefer that. I've read books with a site that is built with each new lesson, and the problem is that you tend to be lost if you come back a couple months later and basically have to start over.

However, this book allows the chapters to be independent of each other and simply refer to "future" and "past" chapters (for further study and refreshing after you've finished the book). As a result, it's not a one-time read but something you can refer back to and simply read the chapter you're unclear about, and refresh on any related chapters as well, without having to reread the whole thing to understand all the moving parts.

I would say, however, that it is advisable to read the whole book before you start creating your website. The reason is that later chapters give more professional options to the more basic and older options presented in the earlier chapters. For example, early in the book he mentions tables, frames and lists, but he shows how these are really not the best of options when you compare it with the choices you have in CSS in the more advanced chapters, or at least how to use them in a much more professional manner.

One of the things I liked best was that the author spent a lot of time focusing on writing modern, compliant code. He explains the history of HTML and why using compliant code is important if you want your websites to be functioning properly for many years to come given the new XML standards. Throughout the book he explains what is and is not compliant code, so you're not in the dark about what you're seeing when you're reading the source code of other websites.

He also spends a lot of time discussing the pros and cons of different approaches, which is helpful because he's not pointing you in one direction but instead providing you the foundation for determine what might work best in different situations.

Also, I should note that there is some basic Javascript at the end of the book, though clearly it's not sufficient if you're going to be doing any serious programming.

In summary, I'd say that if this is your first book to read as a starter in web design, and you want something you can refer to for many months or years to come after you've spent the time it takes to read it, you've made a great selection.
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