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113 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Beginners, or to Update Skills, January 19, 2012
This review is from: HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites (Paperback)
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I want to admire this book first as a book. People who want to learn how to make quilts or soups or jewelry have plenty of gorgeous books for inspiration, but books for people who want to make websites are often visually dull, even ugly. Duckett, when he fills a page with code, also gives you a photo of how that code will render on a monitor, and the pictures are just as nice as those glamor shots of butternut squash soup. The whole book is attractively designed and laid out. It's also color coordinated so you can easily track down the turquoise(html) or hot pink (css) summaries or chocolate brown background info.

That background info is very nicely done. Each page spread is like a poster clarifying things like what exactly a left-angle bracket is or just exactly how forms work. Many books in the field assume that all their readers know this stuff already, and a book for web designers that spent much time on defining serif vs. sans-serif fonts would be frustrating for most designers. This book sequesters basic info so old hands can skip it and beginners can readily find it again, as well as making it clear and memorable.

Half the book examines HTML, looking at structure, text, links, images, tables, forms, "Extra Markeup" such as comments and metadata, and multimedia elements. Each element is explained clearly with good examples, and HTML5 is included. The presentation is economical and straightforward, but lots of information is included: things like animated gifs and how to communicate with older browsers aren't often included in books suited to beginners.

The second half of the book introduces CSS, HTML5 layout, and "Practical Information" like how to tell who's coming to your site and how to organize information into a website.

The author intends this book for people learning how to build websites (and it's certainly the best book I've seen to get you started) and for people who use a content management system like WordPress but want more control over their sites. I think it also will be very useful for people who learned HTML and CSS in the past and want to get more up to date. We often see sites built with outdated code because the owners can't bring themselves to go through the learning process again. I get that -- I took a class in HTML and it was probably slightly less creative and exciting than basic statistics class. This book isn't like that. It's clear and enjoyable, and you can download all the code from the author's website if you really hate typing it.

I highly recommend this book.
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