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HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition 6th Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321430847
ISBN-10: 0321430840
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elizabeth Castro has written all five best-selling editions of HTML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide. She is also author of Perl and CGI for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide and XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide—both best-sellers! Liz was the technical editor for Peachpit’s The Macintosh Bible, Fifth Edition, and she founded Pagina Uno, a publishing house in Barcelona, Spain.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 6 edition (August 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321430840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321430847
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bernardo Letayf Abraham on March 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ok... this book is the last thing I would've bought if I had just browsed around the web (that's the I-already-know-everything talking).

My roomate bought it and the second I started turning the pages I actually told my students to get a copy for class. I got one for myself and even though I have 8 flaming years of experience in web design (note the sarcasm please) I really found every single bit of information extremely valuable.

Elizabeth restructured the way I work in the web and the I-already-know-everything guy recieved his lesson as in the old days.

Simply get a copy. I can't say much more.
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As a man of 70 years with no clue as to how to create a web page, I purchased this book along with its primer, "Creating a Web Page with HTML" by the same author, and in no time I was able to structure a web page for an architect friend of mine which received rave reviews. Castro's ability to walk you through the process of the protocols with ease made the project a cakewalk. I had previously purchased Dreamweaver thinking it would be easier to not have to learn the html language. However, I got frustrated with the software which is what precipitated my going out to try to find a simple, easy but complete book on how to build a site. After building my first website, I now feel quite comfortable with the html language and with the ability to create more sites.
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This was my first intro book to HTML and CSS. The writing by Elizabeth Castro is actually very clear and pleasant to read, but the style of writing is not conducive to learning the material in my opinion. Every page is like this: a brief intro paragraph at the top, then a list of steps for writing the HTML laid out in nauseating detail, then another list of "tips" that didn't fit anywhere else. The steps for writing the HTML are so wordy, it destroys your train of thought and makes me want to put the book away for another day. For example, and this is just a small example among countless others, she feels the need to write this, and I quote:

7. To add the final parentheses, type ")".

That's nothing. Unnecessary details and wordiness like this abound in this book. It is definitely clear enough, but it borders on sounding like it's written for the mentally challenged at times. Personally I would prefer well written paragraphs integrating any info from the "tips" sections, and to do away with the verbose steps, which probably take up half of the book's content.

To make matters worse, the format of the book, like all the Peachpit Quickstart books, breaks the page into two columns, one for text and the other for pictures. This is just poor typography in my opinion, with an average of 6-7 words / line, and it makes actually trying to read what is written very irritating, and it will try your patience. Maybe it's just me, but I really don't like the format of this book at all.

Now, for the actual content of the book. It advocates some things I find questionable in this day and age.
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There are several reasons I couldn't bring myself to give this book five stars, although I would have liked to. The author writes well and covers a lot of ground, but the pace is uneven and I feel it comes up short on the treatment of some important topics.

I first learned (X)HTML by studying the fourth edition of Thomas Powell's "HTML & XHTML: The Complete Reference" HTML & CSS: The Complete Reference, Fifth Edition (Complete Reference Series)." That book was more than twice the size of Castro's book and a much more thorough and better illustrated treatment of the markup languages. However, Powell's volume was copyright 2003, and the theory and practice of "proper" web design are fast moving targets, especially considering the evolution and increasing adoption of CSS, DHTML, JavaScript and the DOM over the last decade, as well as the growing emphasis on standards and the separation of structure and presentation. I bought and read Castro's book primarily as a refresher course. I'm glad I already had a good background in the subject.

I suspect the author was handicapped by the publishing style used in the "Visual Quickstart Guide" titles. That style divides each page into two columns. The outside column is used for the main explanatory text, while the gutter column displays examples--typically screen captures and/or code snippets--that illustrate the concepts discussed in the accompanying text. When I first encountered this format in one of their books on XML, I rather liked it, but the enchantment quickly faded. Structuring content such that each topic should fit in the limited space of a single column on a page just doesn't work for me.
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Elizabeth Castro's acclaimed Visual Quickstart Guide series of instructional manuals for HTML and CSS is a mainstay of reference books for any webmaster, and the 2007 sixth edition holds up decently well despite coding and browser updates since its publication. The sixth edition offers well thought-out, step-by-step instructions for most all HTML and basic CSS operations, and is a handy guide when building a site. Castro takes us on baby steps, from the basic construction of the net, into code beginnings, frames, their superior descendents CSS, embedding media, and even into some basic Javascript and databasing. By the end chapters she's covering browser testing, SEO, and probably too iTunes faithfully, podcasts. The appendices at the back of the book should be in every web designer's back pocket, providing special character codes, CSS properties, hexadecimal charts, and more.

This was the first edition with full-color images, which proved immensly helpful when identifying code of note and their contex. Instruction is well spoken and laid out. Castro has a mellow, consistent, and clearly knowledgeable voice. While I did not make use of her paired [...] website referenced in the text, it is up as of the March 2014 date of this review and it is nice to know it is there if a topic is really stumping me.

There were a few small coding and copy errors and HTML 5 is the language of today, but this book covers what is still the essence of the internet and site building, and is an classic text in the developer's library. If you're a self-learner and can handle the tedious nature of writing code for the world wide web, pick this up and read at your own pace.
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