HTML5 and CSS3
Author: Brian P. Hogan
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2011
Pages: 280
ISBN: 978-1934356685
Aimed at: Web developers
Rating: 2
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 The big problem is that documenting the current state of a moving target isn't easy and the book is already slightly out of date - fortunately not in a ways that matter too much.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. 

 

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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."

If you need this sort of language in preference to a mention of 2D co-ordinates you probably aren't going to get very far with coding in JavaScript. A good point about the book is that it does try to cover what happens when a feature isn't supported in a browser - but to be honest the solutions aren't great. How and when to use HTML5 for real is something that is going to be a problem for a while more. 

This is not a book about web page design using HTML5 and yet it doesn't really come out and say "this is about JavaScript" either.To get anything much from the later chapters of the book you need to be able to program in JavaScript. Even if you can program in JavaScript there will be times when you have to look something up to make sense of the presentation. 

Not recommended if what you are looking for is either a designer's or a programmer's guide to HTML5. 

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Pro T-SQL 2012 Programmer’s Guide

Author: Jay Natarajan et al
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 696
ISBN: 978-1430245964
Audience: SQL Developers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Stirk

This book aims to provide SQL developers with knowledge to get the most out of SQL Server 2012. How does it fare?



PhoneGap Beginner's Guide

Author: Andrew Lunny
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Pages: 328
ISBN: 978-1849515368
Aimed at: HTML web developers
Rating: 3.5
Pros: PhoneGap is topical and popular
Cons: Lacks a logical structure, doesn't go far enough
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

This book is written by a member of the PhoneGap team at Nitobi.  [ ... ]


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