HTML5 Solutions

Author: Peter Elst, Charles Brown & Nathalie Wormser
Publisher: Friends of Ed, 2011
Pages: 364
ISBN: 978-1430233862
Aimed at: JavaScript programmers
Rating: 3.5
Pros: Wide coverage of HTML5 topics
Cons: The imposed "solutions" format doesn't always suit the content
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

This book adopts a strict format for its solutions. Does this succeed?

Author: Peter Elst, Charles Brown & Nathalie Wormser
Publisher: Friends of Ed, 2011
Pages: 364
ISBN: 978-1430233862
Aimed at: JavaScript programmers
Rating: 3.5
Pros: Wide coverage of HTML5 topics
Cons: The imposed "solutions" format doesn't always suit the content
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

HTML5 solutions is a formulaic book in the sense that it presents "solutions" in a set format, even if the format doesn't quite suit a topic. The sections included in each solution are: What's involved, How to build it and Expert tips  In many cases one or more of the sections isn't really needed. This format makes more like a programming recipe cookbook than anything else - only HTML5 isn't really programming.

Things tend to get better are the book moves on and the topics become more technical. For example the very fist example boils down to "the HTML5 DOCTYPE tag is <!DOCTYPE html>. You don't really need a great deal of discussion to get this trivial idea across. Later the topics become much more technical and there is some justification for the "How to build it" section and some real "Expert tips" to supply. The ramping up of the technical level of the book almost makes a book of two halves - a very simple set of introductory chapters using nothing much more than markup and a second half where we get some JavaScript.

 

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The biggest problem with this book is its very "bitty" approach to the subject. For example, solution 1.3 is about dividing a document into sections and you might think that this would deal with the idea that HTML5 is about semantic markup i.e. placing tags to divide up the different portions of a document according to their meaning and purpose. All it actually deals with is the use of the <section> tag which is a very small topic for a solution. In fact you could say if <section> is the solution what then is the problem? Chapter 1 is mostly about the other new semantic tags but this whole idea could have been introduced more efficiently by not being treated as a set of solutions.

Chapter 2 is about HTML5 markup - so what exactly is the difference between markup and non-markup. Here we have some more simple examples of using tags - <hr>, <iframe> and so on. At last some of the topics covered are getting more interesting but again the solution format doesn't really suit the material.

Chapter 3 moves on to structural and semantic markup and starts off with the idea of microdata. This chapter has some overly long examples to explain simple ideas. Chapter 4 tackles HTML5 forms but avoids the trickier problems in how to handle the server side.

Chapter 5 is on audio and video and here we start to see JavaScript make a bigger appearance. Some of the solutions are now starting to be real recipes for things that you might actually want to do. Chapter 6 and 7 get even more programmer-oriented with a look at the Canvas object and 2D graphics. This goes through the basic steps of using Canvas and the solutions fit together to make a sort of introductory course - it makes you wonder why bother organizing the material into solutions. In chapter 7 things get even more advanced with a look at pixel manipulation.

Chapter 8 marks the start of even more advanced material in the form of the communication APIs with chapter 9 dealing with web sockets. Chapter 10 is about geolocation; Chapter 11 is on local storage and the last chapter looks at accessibility. Considering that the book starts off with a look at some very simple and very basic HTML5 tags this is a long journey and much of the last few chapters is not really mainstream HTML5 yet.

The book does discuss which browsers support what HTML5 feature but it doesn't discuss what you should do in the the case that it doesn't. It also doesn't give you much idea of what is going on on the edges of HTML5, like WebGL for example.

This isn't a bad book overall and in places it is even very good but its range of levels is probably too great for any one reader. Overall I'd say that the balance was towards the more advanced JavaScript programmer - but having said this the JavaScript presented isn't particularly sophisticated with no object-oriented features used, a plus point for some. I didn't find the "solutions" approach suited the subject matter but you might disagree. Don't buy it if you are a complete beginner and if you are an expert there is too much simple stuff and not enough exploration. The ideal reader is someone who programs JavaScript and want to know about the new HMTL5 features. 


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Clojure in Action

Author: Amit Rathore

Publisher: Manning
Pages: 432
ISBN: 978-1935182597
Aimed at: Java and Ruby programmers, in particular those already working with Clojure
Rating: 3.5
Pros: Comprehensive and practical
Cons: Doesn't do a good job of explaining Clojure
Reviewed by: Mike James

Clojure seems to be get [ ... ]



Pro Arduino

Author: Rick Anderson & Dan Cervo
Publisher: Apress
Pages: 316
ISBN: 978-1430239390
Audience: Intermediate Arduino Users
Rating: 2
Reviewer: Harry Fairhead

If you have flashed an LED too many times then it might be time for something a little more complicated. Pro Arduino sounds just what you need. [ ... ]


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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 August 2011 )
 
 

   
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