Author: Brian P. Hogan
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2011
Aimed at: Web developers
Pros: Lots of examples
Cons: Too simple to deal with real issues
Reviewed by: David Conrad
If you a web designer or a developer HTML5 is a technology you need to know about - can this book help?
The subtitle "Develop with Tomorrow's Standards Today" just about says it all. HTML5 is still not commonly supported on the browsers that real users actually use. Hence you know you are in for a tough time whenever you try and use tomorrow's standards today.
This book is another of the many books that are attempting to jump on the HTML5 bandwagon. The big problem is that documenting the current state of a moving target isn't easy and the book is already slightly out of date - fortunately not in a ways that matter too much. The first chapter gives you an overview and history of HTML5 and a list of the new features it introduces.
Part I then begins the book proper with a look at the user interface. Chapter 2 deals with the easy stuff, the new structural tags and it explains the idea of semantic markup. An example of a blog is presented and then the various new tags are introduced. It then moves to pop-up windows, user friendly web forms and styling things with CSS3.
Part II is titled "New Sights and Sounds" and focuses on the new multimedia facilities. Chapter 6 is a brief introduction to Canvas, Chapter 7 is about audio and video and Chapter 8 deals with the untidy bits like shadows, and fonts.
Part III looks beyond the strict HTML5 standard to the many other technologies that are being introduced at the same time. Here you can find out about client-side data storage. web sockets, inter-page messaging, geolocation etc. None of these topics are discussed in much detail The final chapter takes a look at things even further over the horizon - CSS3 transitions, web workers, drag-and-drop, WebGL and so on. Oddly drag-and-drop and even WebGL are fairly mainstream standards that other books treat as part of HTML5 rather than relegate them to a final chapter.
The book finishes with some appendices on the new features and for some reason a look at jQuery.
The big problem with this book is that it just doesn't explain things at all well. There are plenty of examples and they are clear enough but it you don't know what is going on the explanations aren't going to help you figure it out. There are also places where the descriptions are a bit odd - Canvas for example is not about vector graphics but bitmap graphics. It also tries to explain moderately complicated things in overly simple ways.
"We draw lines on the canvas by playing a game of "connect the dots."
Not recommended if what you are looking for is either a designer's or a programmer's guide to HTML5.