Head First HTML5 Programming

Author:Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 608
Aimed at: Beginning JavaScript programmers
Rating: 4
Pros: Easy introduction if you like the approach
Cons: Repetitive and drawn out
Reviewed by: Mike James

You need to know about modern web programming aka HTML5 programming. This book aims to get you started and more.

Be very careful when you read the title of this book. It is not Head First HTML5 - it is Head First HTML5 Programming. This is a book that aims to get you started creating JavaScript-enhanced web pages or web applications. Don't buy it if you simply want to find out what new tags there are in HTML5 or an overview of what it is all about. This book mentions some of these topics, but they are not it central concern. It is about using HTML5 in conjunction with JavaScript.

After the usual introduction you find in a Head Start book, who should read it, how to read it and so on, we get started with a look at what the HTML5 revolution is all about - but really focusing on JavaScript. This is a general introduction to the idea of using JavaScript.




Chapter 2 moves on to a more in-depth introduction to JavaScript. It does go over the basics - variables, conditionals, loops and so on - but it also covers, in the same chapter, the DOM and other issues. This is more about learning JavaScript in action than covering the entire language and then looking at how it is used. It is a lot of ground to cover and if you haven't programmed before I think it will probably not be enough to get you started. Chapter 3 builds on the introduction with an example of what you can do with JavaScript.

Chapter 4 really pushes the level with a look at functions, objects, the this keyword, constructor and events. Although the pace is deceptively slow, there is a lot of advanced material in here and the reader needs to let it sink in.

After Chapter 4 the book moves into another gear because it more or less assumes that you can now program in JavaScript and it's time to look at the APIs and other facilities. Chapter 5 deals with the HTML5 geolocation API. This isn't a good choice from the point of view of complexity but it is a good choice because it is motivating.

Chapter 6 tackles the really difficult problem of web services. After introducing traditional Ajax using XML it then dives bravely into JSONP - which still leaves many an advanced JavaScript programmer wondering what it is all about. This is a good introduction to a very difficult topic. If you are impatient then this is where the slow and repetitive approach of a Head Start book will annoy you the most. To understand JSONP you need to have the whole thing in your head and in this book it is dribbled out a bit at a time - if you stick with it, however, it works.

From here we go back to tackling the easier and more exciting stuff - graphics using Canvas and video. Next we deal with Web Storage and Web Workers - another two potentially difficult topics.

Finally we have a list of what hasn't been covered - Modenizer, Audio, jQuery, SVG and so on. In fact there is so much that isn't covered that it is an impossible task to make a complete list. This isn't the books fault, it is the nature of the topic.

So what is the verdict?

First the usual comment needs to be made about Head First books. If you don't like the style of presentation - non-linear, lots of attempts at humour, illustrations, quizzes, discussions and so on - then you won't like this book any more than the others.

If you do like the approach, then this is quite a good outline of what modern browser based JavaScript programming is like. However it isn't a full introduction to JavaScript. It leaves a lot of JavaScript topics untouched or just mentioned in passing. I don't think that a complete beginner is going to be able to learn enough JavaScript from this book to follow what is going on and some of the things that are going on are quite advanced.

To follow the difficult parts you need to have encountered JavaScript before and then treat the earlier parts of the book as revision. It also isn't for the expert JavaScript programmer as it is just too slow and repetitive by the very nature of Head First books. So if you are looking for a book to lift you up a little from a JavaScript novice so that at least you can see what is out there, then you will value a copy of this book.



Modern JavaScript for the Impatient

Author: Cay S. Horstmann
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Date: July 2020
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0136502142
Print: 0136502148
Kindle: B08F5HFWBH
Audience: Developers interested in JavaScript
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Mike James
So you're impatient - what next?

The Phoenix Project

Author: Gene Kin, Kevin Behr and George Spafford
Publisher:  IT Revolution Press
Pages: 583
ISBN: 9781942788294
Print: 1942788290
Kindle: B078Y98RG8
Audience: Anyone in IT
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Sanjay Kanade


With the subtitle "A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your  [ ... ]

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 January 2012 )