Author: Anselm Bradford & Paul Haine
Publisher: Friends of Ed
Aimed at: Intermediate web developers
Pros: Good overviews
Cons: Lacks depth
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
What you make of this book depends on how you interpret "Mastery".
It is a well written explanation of the basic HTML5 technology. It doesn't spoon-feed the reader and it has lots of side comments that help illuminated the actual situation. However HTML5 is not rocket science. It is just HTML plus some new tweaks. The book isn't big enough to cover everything you need to know about HTML and it really is only an "upgrade" path to HTML5, which limits what it has to say quite a lot.
Chapter 1 is about the history of HTML5 and getting started. It is full of interesting information and comments but nothing that you couldn't do without in a practical situation. The next chapter is sort of practical in that it outlines the types of tags that are in HTML5. To its credit the book doesn't make it a major effort to understand the new tags and its categorization is helpful. However, the downside of it being so short is that it is just a summary - a good one but still too condensed if you are a beginner.
Chapter 3 pushes on with the core idea of HTML5 - i.e. that it is a semantic markup language. It describes the semantic model implicit in HTML5 i.e. the outline of a document. This is again a nice introduction with a number of topics tackled head on. For example, who could resist reading "Are divs (and spans) obsolete?" The chapter ends with a short case study.
Chapter 4 looks at forms and the new facilities in HTML5 for validation and specific types of data entry. Again the chapter ends with a case study.
After this the book starts to move off core HTML5 and look a the associated APIS an facilities. Chapter 5 deals with the multimedia tags and again it tends to tackle difficult questions head on - you just have to read "Is IMG obsolete? What about CSS?"
Next we have a whole chapter on CSS3. After a quick refresher on CSS and how it works, we do eventually get into the new aspects of CSS3, although it is harder to pick out the new than in previous chapters. Chapter 7 is about the new APIs and starts with an overview of scripting. If you need the overview then you probably won't cope with the rest of the chapter. This covers, very rapidly, the history API, Ajax and Canvas - all much too fast for the beginner or the expert. This is just a taster.
The final chapter wraps it up with a look at the future - mostly mobile HTML5. There is also an appendix on SVG and MathML but again not enough to be of practical help.
Overall this book isn't an in depth look at HTML5 and it will only help you master it if you already are fairly good at HTML. If you already know about HTML and how to construct a web page but need a intelligent direct and mostly straight-talking explanation of what is new in HTML5, then you might find this book a good choice.