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Smashing HTML5 Paperback – Dec 6 2010


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
mis-marketed? March 7 2011
By Aaron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I don't know if this book was mis-marketed, mis-titled, or just a misguided effort, but in any case I found myself bored and irritated by the first 200 or so pages, and little-impressed by the remainder. I feel that a book which claims to 'smash' into HTML5 should not spend more than a chapter or two explaining the DOM, HTML (4 and prior) and CSS. If you don't know the fundamentals of how a web page is constructed, there are literally thousands of books and other resources to get you started, many of which free, and most of which costing much less than the $39.99 list price on this one. There are maybe 50 pages of useful HTML5-specific info here. The rest is web dev 101 and not at all welcome in a book titled Smashing HTML5.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Falls firmly between stools Feb. 28 2011
By Steve Benner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What an absolute dog's dinner this book is! In "Smashing HTML5", Bill Sanders claims to be aiming at a hybrid market, targeting established users of browser-mediating mark-up languages who want to be brought up to speed with the new developments on offer within HTML5, whilst still presenting material with the beginner in mind. In his introduction, he states "HTML5 is so big I had to select a focus that would encompass the essence of the mark-up language without devolving into a mere reference or encyclopedia that attempted to touch on everything but explain nothing." Had he succeeding in this aim, this would have been a very valuable book indeed. Sadly, he singularly fails to achieve it.

I came to this book as a veteran developer of sites that use HTML4, XHTML, XML, XSLT, PHP, CSS, etc. I'm generally too busy using the web development tools in which I have developed skills over the years to want to spend too much time ogling the capabilities of products in development but I figured a 350-page glossy summary of the highlights of HTML5 should be pretty good at bringing me up to speed with its current state of play, and telling me, quickly and succinctly, what this new mark-up would offer me over and above the tools already at my disposal and why I would wish to adopt it.

Sadly, it does no such thing.

Nowhere, for instance, does it highlight any of the thinking that led to the development of HTML5, or how it attempts to draw the world towards a more orderly structuring of the information supplied to it through the web. Summaries of the main differences are thin on the ground and rarely prominent. Nor does it go into any real detail as to the intended role of some of the more potentially confusing new tags (such as <article>, say). So while the book carries a plethora of warnings about how Bad Things will happen to people who infringe the new HTML5 mark-up "rules", nowhere are the changed rules themselves actually explained, or the nature of the Bad Things made explicit. (Generally, there seems to be an implication that it will be toss-up between a knock on the door from the W3G Police, or a visit in the depths of the night from the Spaghetti Monster. It would be good know which, wouldn't it?) There is no mention of important technical considerations for those coming from HTML or XHTML backgrounds about to what extent HTML5 attempts to bridge these two different worlds, and what (if any) concessions HTML5 might make to the strictures of an XHTML context (for instance. Nothing fancy needed; a paragraph would have been enough.) Anyone looking for a quick summary of how HTML5 differs from other mark-up languages will be very frustrated by this book, which presents HTML5 solely as what it is in toto, with little or no reference to what it has inherited unaltered, what it changes, that established developers need to be aware of and what it has abandoned altogether from earlier versions. Established mark-up experts will learn more (and more quickly) for free from say, the W3Schools web pages.

Unfortunately, as a primer for the beginner, the book fails miserably, too. Rather than follow any real structure, it rambles moderately incoherently through a number of basic introductions to the sorts of things that HTML can be expected to deliver, although with endless asides, mostly made necessary by a lack of care in structuring the book. It is ironic in a book that stresses how important planning is in the construction of a successful web site, that the author constantly needs to dive off down side avenues in each chapter, in order to explain what, for many, will be irrelevant technical information, such as just what video codecs might be, or how to create movie files on a computer. Such explanations would probably be useful if they actually explained anything in detail, but sadly they all pull up short of being useful and more often than not leave the reader in the lurch with an inevitable "well, it's actually more complicated than that, but don't worry you don't really need to know about it" cop-out.

And heaven help any poor soul who is completely new to HTML (of any flavour) trying to learn to produce web pages with this book. If you've dabbled on the web already, it is possible more or less to keep up and follow along, and this book will give you a good overview of the new media tags that HTLM5 provides. But if you're new to all of this, be aware that some of the information in this book is over-simplified almost to the point of being wrong. It doesn't help, for instance, that the author cannot decide whether HTML pages should be termed scripts or programs. The fact that they are documents, and need to be considered as such (and only as such), seems to have passed him by completely. With that sort of thinking, there is no real wonder that the semantic web is further away from becoming a reality with each passing day. And as for his explanation of what the DOM is, well... bring on the Spaghetti Monster!

Very disappointing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HTML5 in its infancy Feb. 16 2012
By Andrew Kear - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Smashing HTML5 is a comprehensive book on HTML5, that tries to appeal to beginners and professionals alike. Author Bill Sanders is very thorough in his approach. The first few chapters will appeal to novices, while at the same time appealing to intermediate users by listing new tags. There are even colorful thumbnails and pictures of how the HTML code will look in various browsers and mobiles devices. This approach is far more captivating than having a book that is virtually all text.

However, the book is far from perfect. After 350 pages it can be a rather grueling read. This book is best used as a reference resource. The code listed is rather long and the text could be a little larger. Fortunately, you can download the code off the book's website. The book also sometimes goes off in tangents. It concentrates briefly on various methods of video production and what software to use. The book also goes into Webcams, Camcorders, and Video capture devices. All this is fine, but they are not really part of HTML5. The problem may not be the books entirely. In HTML 5 video works differently in several browsers and mobile devices. It seems HTML 5 is not the de facto standard for the internet that it has been claimed. There are also various comments in the book that remind the reader that certain HTML5 code won't work in certain browsers. If it does work it is formatted differently among the different browsers. This contradicts the open standard capability of HTML5.

Smashing HTML5 also covers Canvas, which is used to make graphics. The problems with Canvas are it takes a herculean effort just to create the most rudimentary graphics, and despite this it has none of the graphic elegance of Flash. If you want to spend reading several pages of text and code just to create a square, then maybe Canvas is a good choice. Even the book admits that Flash excels in creating animations and interfaces that look the same in any browser. Sorry to say that claim cannot be made about HTML5.

In closing, Smashing HTML5 is very much like HTML5 itself, in that it is still a work in progress.
Covers the basic's of HTML5 Feb. 15 2013
By Igor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is good for beginners in HTML and CSS because there are covered a lot of things that are not new to HTML5.
Of course there are explanations for the new things that can be used in HTML5 like canvas, video tag, ....

Maybe the reason that this book is not covering that much of the new HTML5 API's and specification is the fact that
is written in 2010 when I think a lot of the stuff that we have in HTML5 was not specified then.

The three stars are because there is more explanation for old HTML stuff than for HTML5 but that which is covered
is well explained, and the color pages add value.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Don't waste your money Feb. 22 2011
By Andre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With all the great possibilities offered within html5 the author completely misses the mark. You will get a better reference going to the w3c tutorials and read the tutorials on html5. Don't waste your money this book does not bring anything new or exiting to the table.


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