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Showing 1-10 of 87 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 136 reviews
on August 12, 2010
I'm planning on using this book as a text for an intro to web design course. Overall, it is a great introduction.

What I like about the book are:

It's generally got a great flow [one exception below - ch.8] and has very good explanations for how HTML & CSS are used together to make well designed web pages. The text easily moves from the basic (html tags) to novice (basic CSS) and then more advanced topics like adding graphics, positioning, using tables, and implementing forms. The content is provided in a very accessible way that builds upon previous learnings. And the information is presented in a fashion that most newcomers to web design/publishing can easily understand.

The main caveats I have with the book are:

The book propounds using XHTML, which is still a hotly debated topic whether it should even be used for making public web pages. XHTML is arguably a dead standard as of Dec. 2009. It's also problematic since XHTML STILL is not properly parsed by the most widely used browser in the marketplace (MSIE) - esp. when served as "text/html" as recommended in this book. XHTML pages often "just break" or refuse to properly work with IE, and using XHMTL can break typical usage of some scripting languages, esp. JavaScript. There's even a Sitepoint XHTML vs. HTML FAQ (the publishers of this book) suggesting NEVER to use XHTML unless you have a very specific application that NEEDS to use it. Just because XHTML is popular, doesn't mean it's proper, and it can cause more headaches than it's worth. Kind of like using OOPHP - sure it has its place, but I wouldn't call it obligatory.

I would have moved the content of Chapter 8 into Chapter 1. It would be helpful for readers to know about web hosting and connecting to said host before attempting to publish their pages. To my mind this is definitely a "Setting Up Shop" activity - in fact I'd have these tasks prerequisite to those in Chapter 1. What's the point of creating web pages if you have no where to post them for others to see?

A possibly bigger issue is that Chapter 9 "Adding a Blog..." is nearly useless now that Blogger no longer supports FTP publishing (announced in Feb 2010 and unsupported as of May 2010). Including an entire chapter that has a "single point of failure," such as relying on a singular service that's avail. today to be around tomorrow doesn't seem like very good planning to me. It would've been nice if another, more generic alternative were presented (such as just linking to one's Blogger or Wordpress blog and how to configure them so they at least look similar, if not integrated).

It's still a pretty good book, and I'm going to use it for the class, with strong warnings about the fallability of XHTML. In class, we're going to use HTML 4.01 Strict.
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on December 8, 2007
I loved this book, and I'm a pretty experienced web designer. There are a lot of other reviews saying how great it is, so I thought I'd add a few comments not mentioned. First, this book is really intended for people who are starting from the ground up. As such, it only describes strict XHTML, so if you're going to be working on an existing site, you're not going to learn about a lot of what is out there, like frames and using tables for positioning elements on the page. It describes an elegant design philosophy that will get beginners on the right track. It also covers, in just enough detail, finding a web-hosting site, getting a domain, using FTP, etc. Second, as others have mentioned, it is not a reference manual. Third, it assumes the web tool you are going to use is Notepad, or a similar editor. Personally, I think that's the best way to go, but it's good to know before you buy the book. In other words, you are going to be writing XHTML and CSS to build your pages, not using some fancy tool. Lastly, where I think the book really shines is in the sections describing how to add extras to your web site, like search, blogs, and getting web statistics. It does all this only describing free utilities.

As I read this review, I've actually come to appreciate the book better. I can think of no other book that takes a complete novice from almost nothing to a complete, rather sophisticated web site that meets CSS and XHTML strict standards and even has a few bells and whistles, all in about 400 pages. There's even a bit of humor, and the author has a relaxed easy-going, re-assuring without pandering tone.
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on June 18, 2010
Before purchasing this book I had a thorough understanding of HTML. I also knew how to create websites with tables in Dreamweaver, which is how my college course taught me (ugh). I did use CSS, but only in Dreamweaver to manipulate text, background, and header styles. So I bought this book with the intention of creating websites in a more efficient way. I wasn't exactly excited to learn and write scripting languages due to my tendency to be more of a designer than a developer, but this book made the process enjoyable.

The book provides the underlying principles of HTML and CSS, and then guides the reader through the development of a simple scuba diving site. After completing the book and the site I felt I had a good grasp on the basics of CSS and HTML. It was simple to understand and the author does a good job of teaching how to think about how things interact, instead of just copying code. He also teaches how to stay organized in the process. Perhaps one of the most useful parts of the book is how many references he provides. The scuba site was simple, and in my opinion, a horrible design, but he gives enough to go on for more advanced stuff.

A month after completing the book I began designing and developing my first website for a local massage business, and after that a site for a political organization. I was staying up late into the wee hours trying to figure out how to get things to work the way I wanted on both of these sites, and this book didn't provide all the answers, but it gave me the foundation to build upon and understand what other web designers/developers were talking about on other forums, sites, blogs, etc.

Overall, a good book to get started.

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on March 5, 2010
This book has been with me at least two months now, I have gone through all the exercises. I research W3C tutorials and other places on the web. As far as CSS is concerned I was a dummy before I opened these pages. I realized that this book only takes your through the basics of CSS but it opened my eyes to the ability of CSS. Sometimes, now with this book, and others that I have purchased and researching on the web and I spent hours and hours working with new CSS concepts.

I have not been to school since I graduated an Engineering college in 1973. I have picked up many a books on computers and web design, but no book that I have ever found has seen the wear and tear of this book. I constantly go back and challenge myself. With the help of Coffee Cup Html editor and this book I have opened up a whole new business model for myself.

I have done three websites for customers and I am now working on a little ecommerce site. I realize that I have to learn php and MySQL next. But this book has opened a whole new world for me.

Between Ian Lloyd's book and the tutorials on W3C I have learned so much. The book is well written with tremendous explanations. All the chapters are available for download.

I went to GoDaddy and purchased a hosting site, with a banner for $1.07 and use it to upload my work.

I really would not call this a beginnings, guide cold turkey to coding. I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did, if I had not known html 4.0.

What a tremendous piece of training literature.... (I have the 2nd edition copyright 2008)
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on January 7, 2010
I knew nothing about building a website so after reading the reviews was convinced this was the book for me and it was! It leads you step by step how to get things done and the pictures of how your text and web pages should look are extremely helpful. I did however only give it four stars because by page 32, I was stuck! Luckily the book provides links to user forums. Once on the user forum, it was hard to figure out where to even post my question to get un-stuck. Luckily, some posters helped me figure out the problem and with their help and about four days later, I was able to figure it out and continue moving right along. I would highly recommend this book if you have no idea where to even start building a website. If you do get stuck though, be prepared to spend some time on the user forum which could be a chore if you don't have the patience. Good Luck!
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on May 21, 2012
First a little background about me. I have been using computers since 1983, when the IBM PC first came out. Next, I was a database programmer for 7 years, a network administrator for one and a UNIX (AIX to be specific) administrator for one. In 1999 I earned a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certificate. So I'm neither a newbie or a lightweight. Still, I've been out of serious computing since 1996! With that caveat in mind, I had high hopes for this book having read many positive and virtually no negative reviews on Amazon.com.

To summarize the volume, it is a recipe book; light on theory, heavy on steps to follow. You build one website in a pretty evenly balanced mix of HTML and CSS ending your work in jQuery, a JavaScript library/framework. So, after going through the introductory chapter one, I began chapter two in the morning. (I read it on my Kindle for PC). It took all day when I realized it was 60(!) hard pages. That was when I knew I was in for a challenge and that the book was not properly formatted or structured. I re-examined the TOC and figured it should've probably been double the number of chapters, from 15 to 30, since it is around 500 pages long.

I also found some problems with chapter two that required rework. But when I found the errata page on the publisher's website, I couldn't access it.

Trudging on, chapters 3, 4, 5, & 6 were a touch shorter. I was usually able to complete them in a day. But chapter 7, web forms, turned out to be a disaster, as they apparently usually are when one wants to actually write form data to a database and then retrieve it. The author, Ian Lloyd, uses a FreedBack.com as some sort of intermediate form hosting service but you'll have to provide your own web hosting service for your page, so its kind of weird.
He has you do what Freedback says not to do, which is modify their template - extensively. The final bugaboo for me is a little circuitous to follow but try:

* He defines the changes you'll make to a pre-existing page in a confusing manner;

* He doesn't have you back-up the only copy of this critical page, contact.html, that you'll overwrite;

* Then he provides eight pages of HTML, twice, from which you must manually cull the changes out and merge them onto contact.html. Though the changes are in bold, you've still got to find them in the original.

* There are FreedBack.com defined fields that you've got to implement in the HTML form you build. Getting them associated with the name of your fields is VERY challenging. His explanation is VERY poor.

The book is basically 2 parts: In part one you develop a site, in part 2, you add on to it. The last problem with the book is that it is all built around one project. Now I wouldn't say that failing a later chapter renders the entire book a waste, but that could be true if you fail an earlier chapter. You'd better get part 1 done or else its a total waste.

Next, though the SitePoint web site is impressive, there aren't any forums related to any of their books. This seems odd because it appears to me that all SitePoint does is sell the books their authors write. Yes they have forums there, but apparently none dedicated to the books the sell. Go figure. I directly emailed the author but after a month the author never responded. I resolved the problems on my own.

Moving on, other problems I found with the book are as follows:
There are no exercises whereby you are sent out on your own to test your wits and solve a problem;
The book advertises! Yes, he refers to books by other SitePoint authors, encouraging you in an only slightly subtle fashion to buy more SitePoint books;
You're not really given the "big picture" of HTML and CSS, just bits and pieces. Granted, this would be hard to achieve, but I think it could be done.
By the time I came to and couldn't make chapter 11, on jQuery, work, I got sick of the book. I was sick of it beforehand but determined to see it through. Now, apparently not able to get my jQuery library alive or responsive, I gave up.

Was all lost? Well, no. I did take advantage of Freedback.com's offer to process a single page form for free so eagerly that I purchased hosting for 2 months and used a domain name I had just to see this process work.

So what are my conclusion? My conclusion is that Ian Lloyd was able to produce 1/2 a good book. Most importantly, I did get a pretty decent web site up and running based on HTML 4 and CSS 2 technologies. As the technology he was trying to teach got more complex, either his writing skills ran out or his patience to do a good job wore thin. At either rate, it took me weeks to figure out how to get the form to work the way he wanted, I bypassed getting a Facebook link in because Facebook isn't worth it to me and I failed on the jQuery chapter. At that point, I was done. 3 stars.
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on February 15, 2009
I am so pleased with this book! I was unhappy with web site templates I had purchased, and I discovered that I needed to know HTML and CSS in order to change the templates. I knew very little HTML and nothing about CSS.
I'm about half way through the book and, from what I have already learned; I believe that I will be able to alter the templates to meet my needs. Better yet, I'm realizing that I'll be able to create web sites from scratch!!
The entire web site creation process always seemed elusive and scary, but this book has given me clarity and courage.
As someone who works with individuals having various disabilities, I am so pleased that this author takes the time to note design strategies that make web sites more accessible.
This book is well written - easy to use.
The information in this book has been empowering.
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on December 14, 2014
I purchased this book sometime ago and finally got around to reading it. Unfortunately the only code you can download as of December 2014 is for the 3rd edition. Kind of sunk this project before it go started.
I know I have to accept some of the blame for not jumping all over this when it was till warm but to pull the code. WTF.
I though you could put a book on the shelf and look at it later not be hamstrung by remote control. Not I have a door stop. Dang.
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on March 2, 2013
This book satisfied my need to learn what CSS is all about and how to use it. It took me step by step through building a nicely complex website. It also gave many explanations as to why good coding was important. My main criticism was it often showed what code to write for CSS but seldom showed a full page. Position on the page is of great importance in CSS I found, but the book showed what to add but not always where on the page to add it. There was reference to web based examples which I found to be a slow and sometimes irritating process. As a result I found various operations sometimes didn't work. The only solution was to go back and go through it again.

Generally I found that the book gives excellent grounding but needs more full page examples of the CSS file for a tyro like me.

For value the book is great. I enquired locally about face to face tuition in basic coding and was quoted $1,500.00
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on April 15, 2010
This book is perfect for a beginner like me. Having never done any site creating work, this book assumes that you have no previous experience. I am about half way through the book and have had no propblems following the instructions to create the book's practice site. Simultaneously, I am creating my own site for real and am having a lot of fun doing it. I highly recommend the book to any one who would like to learn how to create a web site but has not done any such work in the past.
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