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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensible reference
I was just asked what was the most interesting tech-related book I've read in the last year and I had to say it was the 5th edition of Elizabeth Castro's Visual QuickStart Guide to HTML. It might not seem inspiring in and of itself, but it's so good I have a copy at home and at work always within arm's reach of my keyboard. It's brilliantly designed (the format of the...
Published on June 15 2004 by Dinah Sanders

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably still the best out there, but...
...someone without any experience of HTML or web design might find this successor to Castro's HTML 4 overwhelming. I'm teaching an introduction to web design course & using it as a textbook, but have decided to skip over Chapter 1 because of the barrage of jargon...not a good way to ease students into the subject! Does a complete novice need to know in Chapter 1 the...
Published on Aug. 23 2003 by felicitaz


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably still the best out there, but..., Aug. 23 2003
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
...someone without any experience of HTML or web design might find this successor to Castro's HTML 4 overwhelming. I'm teaching an introduction to web design course & using it as a textbook, but have decided to skip over Chapter 1 because of the barrage of jargon...not a good way to ease students into the subject! Does a complete novice need to know in Chapter 1 the distinctions between inherited CSS styles, selectors, specificity, class, id, etc., when CSS aren't even dealt with until Chapter 8?
"HTML 4" was easier to get into & better-paced, I think. However, that said, this is probably the best book available for getting a grip on XHTML & CSS, generally clear and thorough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An indispensible reference, June 15 2004
By 
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
I was just asked what was the most interesting tech-related book I've read in the last year and I had to say it was the 5th edition of Elizabeth Castro's Visual QuickStart Guide to HTML. It might not seem inspiring in and of itself, but it's so good I have a copy at home and at work always within arm's reach of my keyboard. It's brilliantly designed (the format of the Visual Quickstart Guides is excellent), extensively indexed, succinct, readable, reliable about warning of browser quirks and incompatibilities, and best of all, so far as I have seen in the 5th edition, error-free.
Sometimes simple usability and reliability is better than all the flashy stuff in the world, especially when it makes it easy for you to understand and apply the really huge potential of XHTML and CSS. I recommend it to anyone who writes HTML, particularly those making the transition from HTML 4.0 to XHTML and those learning CSS. What's best about it? You can pick it up, get the answer you need and get on with your web design fast. If you're getting a reference book everything rests on your ability to find the answer and quickly undestand the answer so you can apply it. This book is a stellar example of just that principle.
For those just learning HTML and CSS you may wish to also use another more wordy guide to get you started, but I suspect this is the one you'll still be using (and continually buying the new edition of) years down the road.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not a beginner's book, I know I am a programmer., May 2 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
I wasted my money on this book. It says it is a beginner book;
but it is definitly not!!! Sorry, but I would like to give it
a good rating, but I just can't. In the first few pages it
jumps in to complexity. I read more to see if it was getting
better, but it got worse. I did find a good book for begginer's.
They are out there. I am surprised that the preface for this says
it is for beginner's. Number 1 best seller? Maybe I should write
a book then!! This book is a reference book, not a beginner's!
Trust me. I could go on and on, but if you are a beginner, all I can say is do not get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required textbook for my Web Page Scripting class, May 8 2004
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
I was forced to buy this book for a class and I learned so much. The format is very easy to understand and follows a logical path. Things get more complex but it is always explained in plain english (which is more than I can say about my instructor).
I had some previous knowledge of HTML but not nearly enough to be described as competent. The best part of this book is that the HTML code for whatever you are trying to learn is included in it's entirety in its own column on every page.
Thanks for making an easy to follow HTML book, Elizabeth Castro!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Done!, Sept. 15 2005
By 
Yasir (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
I had almost no HTML experience prior to reading this text. Its an excellent book and I'm now very confident in my abilities with HTML and CSS.
I can't say I'm an expert of course, the book explains important HTML and CSS concepts, but practice makes perfect. Explore and try out your own sites.
To get the most out of this text, I think you'll need to also dig a bit deeper to check out reference information (some information included appendix of text, and possibly check out w3.org) as well as the website for the book itself. The book has some links to other sites which I think have good examples to study from.
Also, there are tons of useful tips on which features aren't correctly supported by certain browsers, most of the time by microsft (big surprise there).
Some of the chapters on Javascript, and CGI information isn't great, but its not really the purpose of the book. Its really a bonus that theres at least some introduction for other technologies you can explore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know. and then some...., April 26 2004
By 
Eric (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
Elizabeth has done an amazing job of bringing the World Wide Web into the reach of Every Tom Dick and Harry that's looking to build a website. Just about the only thing she can't help you with, is exactly how you choose to design it.
My first website was created by a friend of mine with Dreamweaver. While it was quick and easy to use, it was almost impossible to understand what did what, in the HTML language! I had resorted to copying and pasting things from other peoples HTML files to add on to my web pages. It didn't work so well, because I had no idea what anything meant.
After picking up Elizabeth Castro's book (on the advice of a friend) I can now help other designers with technical problems in their source code!
I've honestly never understood anything about HTML before, and couldn't figure out how to make sure that text stayed inside the black border's I wanted. Now, I'm mapping out an 8 page site, with no worry about how I can make it happen. Just 2 days ago, someone called me asking how he could be sure that his site was showing up on Macs and PC's the same way. I was able to view his source information, explain how to fix the problem, and make some suggestions to make his site easier to update! I couldn't do that 2 months ago!
If you want to learn HTML:
(1) EASILY
(2) Quick
(3) Competently
(4) with less technical mumbo-jumbo
I'd definately suggest this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, but....you have to design the web site, Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
The book by Elizabeth Castro, HTML 5 with XHTML $ CSS is as easy as it gets. It explains the basics of web design with pictures, examples while giving her prospective on a number of issues concerning the [...]
The book helped me to make my web pages more effective and easy to navigate, it solved a number of problems that my pages had.
The book is also very entertaining unlike most books of this sort that bore you with lengthy explanations. If you are serious about web design, you need this book, but the book does not make you a professional web designer, you have to come up with the way a web is designed, pictures to be used, colors, font size, and things like this.
I gave the book five stars because I went to Mrs. Castro website and I got the feeling that she built a website to give useful information not to amuse the reader with her abilities to build a cutting edge web page. That's the message most pro designers forget, "We're after people, not after technology".
Mrs. Castro explains HTML rules in a very humble way, with humor and effectiveness.
Two thumbs up!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of its type, Feb. 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
Usually skeptical about books promising to teach technical subjects "the quick and easy way," this one seemed different so I decided to take a chance. Very glad I did. Though I have been using Dreamweaver to design and manage several websites for about five years, there were always some things that never looked or worked quite right, especially in browsers other than Internet Explorer. I got home from the bookstore, sat down in front of the computer, and checked the index in Ms. Castro's book. Five minutes later, first problem solved!
Even with powerful software like Dreamweaver, it's important to understand basic HTML code and behavior. Being able to tweak the code oneself is the most reliable way to ensure your site runs and looks the way you want it to. This is where Castro's book really shines, even for quasi-technophobes like me. The instructions are remarkably clear and are really step-by-step, sometimes keystroke by keystroke. The sidebar examples are well done and very useful; (X)HTML conventions are explained in layperson-friendly language. And somehow Ms. Castro manages to inject some personality and liveliness into what can sometimes be so deadly dull.
For anyone who hasn't taken a course in (X)HTML or otherwise worked with it extensively, this will be a highly useful guide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Working with Transitional XHTML and CSS, Jan. 16 2004
By 
C. T. Mikesell (near Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
Prior to reading this book I was HTML-proficient, but minimally familiar with CSS and not familiar with XHTML at all. Now, while I'm no kung-fu master, I have been able to design a simple set of webpages for my church using the techniques described in this book, and will soon retrofit some older HTML-only sites.
I like this book's approach of starting with simple projects and then developing more complex ones as the things progress. Chapters usually begin with simple (frequently deprecated) HTML coding techniques and then show a better way to gain control of a document with XHTML and style sheets. Thankfully, Castro points out that the deprecated tags are not only admissible with Transitional XHTML, they frequently provide a quick (albeit dirty) solution to your coding needs - if your page needs only one instance of a <font> tag, go for it, don't overcomplicate your style sheet unneccesarily. I very much like the style sheet projects; they really bring into focus their power and potential (my previous CSS experience had been more textbook-oriented, so these were eye-openers.)
This is not to say there aren't problems with the book. Frequently Castro begins describing a handy element or attribute only to conclude the section with: "no browser currently supports this." If all of these had been grouped into an appendix called "An Eye to the Future" I'd have no complaint, but to build up these vapor features in the main text was frustrating, if not cruel. Also, I feel the "Formatting: The Old Way" and "Layout: The Old Way" would have worked better at the beginning of the book rather than the end, simply because if you're relatively new to HTML it would give you a better understanding of what is discussed later when Castro presents the New/Better/Right way. The book has a basic one-page-per-idea format, which works about 80% of the time: 10% of the time the topic should have been expanded to two or three pages (and *occasionally* things are); 10% of the time things have been obviously padded. Finally, at the end of the introduction, a Q&A forum is mentioned, but the URL provided is dead; at first I was disappointed since I looked forward to the possibility of peer assistance, but I later found that it had been moved to the "Help" section of the site (hopefully the defunct URL will be redirected, but if not, that's where the forum is).
This book is not for everyone: novices may be overwhelmed; more experienced developers may be bored. It's a fairly good introduction for the intermediate user, which made it great for me. Take advantage of the sample pages here at Amazon to get a feel for whether it's for you or not. If the excerpts make sense to you, but don't induce coma, you're a good candidate for getting a lot out of this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Disappointing: Good information, bad format., Jan. 9 2004
By 
Grant Reed (San Antonio, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide (Paperback)
I was very interested in getting the Visual Quickstart Guide for XHTML. I have been a fan of the VQS series since I first encounterd the DHTML Visual Quickstart Guide.
I must admit, though, that I was somewhat disappointed in this book. It was not as well constructed as many other books in the series.
As with all VQS guides it has a companion web site. This is a very good site, especially with the examples and the Q&A section. Ms. Castro provides plenty of good information and the examples can explain many things that are not described well in the book.
I suggest that more benefit would be had from these examples were the readers to have access to multiple browsers. The way the pages appear in each browser are very informative.
The problem I had was, well, approach. The first part of the book dealt primarily with the HTML aspects of web design. While this is useful to a point, it seems overbearing, especially if your primary focus of reading is to gain a greater knowledge of XHTML.
In addition to this, the format seems more geared toward a web base than a paper base. Many times, she wrote that a topic would be discussed more completely on page such and such. While I understand that this is a good way to avoid repetiveness, as well as to cut down on the size of the manuscript. But the constant reference to other pages became wearing. For the most part, I felt that these references would have been better as a hotlink on a web page, than as a page to turn to in a book.
This approach turned me off, as I would have much preferred a slow design-up style of writing, from the beginning steps to the actual coding. For others it may not seem as irritating.
A great deal of information was presented in the book. Many tags were discussed, though not all. Much of ths was not presented in an entertaining way, and after some time, I had to rest from the book because it seemed dry. This is not something I had encountered in other Visual Quick Start guides I had read.
I also feel too much time was spent discussing deprecated tags. These tags are an important part of HTML, though I was more interested in the XHTML and CSS portions of the book. I would also have poreferred a discussion of transitional strategies.
If you are experienced at coding HTML, you are likely to find less value in this book than one new to HTML. If you are interested in XHTML and have HTML experience this is not the best resource, though some of the information provided is valuable.
Based on the format, I would have given this book one star. Based on the overall HTML content, I would probably have given the book three and a half stars. Based on XHTML content I could only give this book two stars. However, bearing in mind the utility of the VQS guides to novice HTML coders, I have to give this 3 stars.
I cannot recommend this for experienced Web Developers as there is little information that is particularly advanced.
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HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide
HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide by Elizabeth Castro (Paperback - Sept. 27 2002)
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