Author: Matthew MacDonald
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2010
Pros: An easy, yet authoritative, read
Cons: Weak on CSS3
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
HTML5 - there's no way to avoid it and no going back. Does this book help you embrace it?
Part One "Meet the New Languages" goes over the history of HTML through XHTML and the problems that eventually resulted in HTML5. It explains the design philosophy and then takes you for a brief walk through creating a very simple HTML5 page. This is small scale stuff that has little overall impact on what you do, but it is still nice to see it at this early stage.
From here we move on to the central innovation of HTML5 - semantic markup. Chapters 2 and 3 explains how to use these "meaningful" tags to mark up a page. This is fairly straightforward and goes over ARIA, RDFs, Microformats and Microdata.
Chapter 8 is a lightening look as CSS3. This is probably the weakest chapter in the book as it simply doesn't do CSS3 justice - but then the book is on HTML5. Another book by this author on CSS3 would be a good idea, but my guess is that it wouldn't sell as well as something with HTML5 in the title.
Over all the style of the book is excellent. You feel as if you are reading a chat with a knowledgeable friend who isn't afraid to occasionally say something that is definitive and perhaps even controversial. A constant topic throughout the book is the matter of how and when to adopt HTML5 features and occasionally the author says, "Don't do it - yet".
This isn't a very deep book, simply because the technology it deals with isn't that complicated, but it doesn't fall into the trap of making it seem more complicated just to justify the existence of a book!
If I had to pick a single HTML5 book to read, this would be it. It is an easy read and it gives you a clear idea of what is and is not in the current HTML5 specification. Recommended.