Pro HTML5 Programming (2e)
Author: Peter Lubbers, Brian Albers & Frank Salim
Publisher: Apress, 2011
Pages: 332
ISBN: 978-1430238645
Aimed at: Stage beyond beginner
Rating: 4
Pros: Good overview of facilities, including SVG
Cons: Doesn't live up to "pro" expectation
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

When we looked at the first edition of this book the conclusion was that it was too early for an in-depth look at HTML5. Has the second edition made use of the extra time?

This is supposed to be a Pro book so you would expect something that goes a bit deeper than a beginner's guide. Even so, Chapter 1 is allowed to be a basic introduction, but it really doesn't do a good job. Why have a very long listing of what an HTML5 page might look like? It's just a waste of space. At the end of the chapter you really aren't any the wiser and you might even be worried by the claim that HTML5 won't be finalized till 2022 - true but irrelevant.


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Chapter 2 is an introduction to the Canvas element. It isn't a particularly advanced explanation and only gets even slightly technical when it discuses working with pixel data.  The chapter finishes with a simple example. Overall this isn't hardly a "pro" look at Canvas in that it doesn't explain how you can make use of it in any clever or creative way - no modifying videos, no use of Canvas for custom controls etc.

The next chapter is new in this edition and covers SVG graphics at about the same level. After explaining how to use tags to create SVG images, the book suddenly switches to manipulating the DOM without much discussion. The final example is over-long and uses up too much space.

Chapter 4 is on audio and video and doesn't go anywhere that an introductory book wouldn't. The same is true of the Geolocation API covered in Chapter 5.

From here the book moves onto more technical topics - the communication APIs, the forms API, web workers, storage APIs, offline web applications and the future of HTML5. The other completely new chapter in this edition is Chapter 9 on drag-and-drop.

If you have the first edition of this book then it certainly isn't worth buying a new copy for the two additional chapters - look it up on the web. However, it is an improvement on the first edition as long as you are clear that this isn't really a "pro" or a programmer's guide to the new HTML5 technologies. It is, however, more than a beginners guide. The explanations are mostly clear and simple and the initial examples are short and helpful. The longer examples are less successful because they tend to cover nothing new and simply repeat the same material. The book gets better as it goes on but it never explores the material beyond an introductory level.

If you are looking for something that is slightly more than beginners level then this might suit your requirements, but I don't think it deserves the "Pro" in its title.


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The Well-Grounded Java Developer

Author:  Benjamin J Evans & Martijn Verburg
Publisher: Manning
Pages: 496
ISBN: 978-1617290060
Audience: Intermediate to advanced Java programmers
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Mike James

What makes a well-grounded Java developer? This book has a clear opinion.



Maintainable JavaScript

Author: Nicholas C. Zakas
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 242
ISBN: 978-1449327682
Audience: JavaScript programmers
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

It is commonly stated that you can write a big JavaScript program but you can't maintain it. So a book that claims that maintainable JavaScript is possible sounds  [ ... ]


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