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2.7 out of 5 stars
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on May 20, 2000
I am surprised the editors of the Dummies series allowed this one to get through! Not only was the book incredibly thin on content, it was a very poor read. By trying to get cute and impress you with their wit (I wasn't), the authors seemed to forget that, as writers of a Dummies book, they were supposed to give readers enough by way of example and exercise to create web sites in a simple and quick manner. Instead, am doubtful that any novice reader of the book can actually make their own web pages using its (lack of) direction. I also found the book ANNOYING! It often made confusing references to future chapters. It literally skimmed over the standard formatting syntax. Its examples and presentation were terrible.
Not having opened the CD, I surmise that the CD-ROM and its contents may be the only thing worth anything.
I am left wondering why the guys bothered WRITING a book. Why not just sell the CD-ROM as a supplement to better HTML books (my favorite is by Elizabeth Castro--a GREAT book for beginners).
I would give 1/2 a star if I could.
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on July 12, 2001
This book, like some of the other "Dummies" series, contains useful information, but it's hidden among the jokes, wisecracks, and other verbosity. I just wanted a quick, painless and efficient way to learn HTML. This book makes you spend too much time to learn too little. When I read it, I find myself scanning and filtering the text to read only the information, and skip the "Captain Neato" stuff. (the cartoons are good, though!) I'm sure it's a good introduction if you are the type of person who wants to learn very basic HTML a little at a time amongst friendly conversation, but if you want to learn serious HTML productively and skip the goofiness, I would recommend a different and more thorough book.
The book also has a habit of introducing examples of code with features before explaining what those features are (like tables), so you can't fully digest the examples without reading the chapters ahead.
It also spends time talking about "cool" things you can do with HTML, but then explains that either the features are depreciated (scheduled to drop off in future releases of HTML, so you may not want to use them), or cautions you with other reasons why you may not want to use them (such as using graphic lines or buttons instead of the standard html tags for these features. This in itself isn't bad, but just contributed to the amount of info to wade through to get basic proficiency.
There are other ways to learn this level of HTML, such as viewing source of public pages, web sites devoted to HTML, and maybe even your browser's help documents.
I think the book could use an update, since the level of info seems very basic, and more targeted to producing personal or informational pages, not very targeted to today's commerce or other transactional sites.
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on July 4, 2002
All dummies books. I think it's insulting and arrogant to place the reader in the position of claiming to be stupid in order to obtain information about something. It would show more respect (and therefore be deserving of money earned from sales) if titles were something like "HTML Simplified" or something.
There! I'm glad I FINALLY got that off my chest.
All that said, I bought this because it was required in an online course I took. (I resent the title so much it actually hurt to pay for it. I may not know much about computers, but that doesn't mean I'm a dummy.)
As I went through it I decided the dummy isn't the reader at all. I leave it to you to decide just who is! Compare this book to Jakob Nielsen's DESIGNING WEB USABILITY (subtitle: The Practice of Simplicity)and it comes out sadly lacking. In DUMMIES the humor is strained and sometimes inappropriate (tests should be serious)and there's too much repetition (stating something twice -- the second time as a reminder -- is plenty). As far back as Chapter 20 the authors are still saying things like, "Going easy on the graphics, bells, whistles and hungry T.Rexes."
Web design is fun. It's easy to learn. But that doesn't mean that because you don't understand it, you're dumb. It just means you ought to buy a different book on the subject, one that shows respect for the reader.
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on December 31, 2000
(FYI, I'm new to html, and have only about 1 year's experience with computers.)
Instead of just listing tags and showing what they do, "HTML 4 For Dummies" goes into long-winded discussions on how things work -- discussions that amount to nothing more than filler, which the reader must sort through in order to find the information he needs.
Let's say you have a problem with a link in your website. (Like I did.) You look in the table of contents in your copy of "HTML 4 For Dummies" and surprise, surprise, there's nothing on links.
Instead, you have to look in the idex, where you'll find the word "link" referenced several times -- all the way from page 10 to page 337. Which page to look at?
I don't know.
It looks to me that the only way to use this book is to read it cover-to-cover, before trying to use any of the information inside. Of course, that'll take you a couple of weeks, and by the time you've completed it, you'll have forgotten much of what you've read.
(Not to mention the fact that most of what you've read is irrelevant to you.)
Me, I've given up, after making it only to Chapter 4. While people with more experience might find the book easy to get through, I did not. The book goes from overly easy to tremendously difficult in just a few pages.
It comes with a disc. I don't understand how to use it, or what it's supposed to show me other than the Lanwright website.
I found (and continue to find) the book to be a waste of $25.
There's stuff on the internet on how to build websites that I found much more useful. Since that stuff is free, and this book is not, I suggest staying away from it.
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on December 29, 2002
I hate to say that this whole leave-a-review thing on Amazon[.com] is a total waste of time, but I have a high suspicion that many of the people leaving "wisdom" have ulterior motives. I.e., the competition tries to make the product look bad, and, by the same token, the book's publisher submits a fantastic review.
I can't understand how people have given this book a bad rating. I'm a smart guy, went to Princeton, honors math and physics there, but haven't done computers in 15 years. Acutally started with Dreamseaver for Dummies then realized I needed to learn HTML. Unlike other books, I was able to read through the entire book, chapter by chapter. The rambling non-code-related text was very helpful in understanding the background for much of the text...something one would get in one-on-one lessions. The background info also broke up the technical secitons to make them bareable The book was a breeze to go through. I know HTML now, at least the basics, and using Dreamweaver to do sites makes a whole lot more sense now, too.
As an aside, I had tried several other books on Dreamweaver and was totally unable to get started...until I got Dreamweaver for Dummies. The other books are perhaps a little better as references, but Dummies is by far the best at teaching the basics.
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on June 10, 2001
This book is a book that can be described as "good." I will let you decide whether that is good or not. This book provides people with little knowledge of HTML a basic reference. It is usually off topic(talking about the web in general, not just HTML) and usually that would be good but they talk about the web so much that the subject of HTML is not fully covered.
Another bad point is that these people really do think that you are stupid. After reading about HTML off the internet I knew more than book teaches you. I went out and bought HTMLGoodies and learned much more, much easier. Another bad thing is that the authors think that they are funny(and they're not!) They write things and then the put a joke, usually in parentheses with an exclamation point after it.(haha!)<-- Just like that
Overall this book does not cover the topic fully and doesn't ever stay to the point. Dummies books have grown so popular that the authors begin to think that they are legends and anything that they write we will eat up. This is not the case and if they could see it from a normal person's perspective then they could realize that they are not fit to be authors.
I would not recommend this book to anyone because better books are out there. Try HTMLGoodies :)
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on January 17, 2002
When I bought this book, I was under the impression that it would teach the HTML language. Thats ALL of the HTML language. This book seems to go into great detail about certain things that arent really that important and even repeats some of them over and over in different chapters (like the "don't use too much graphics on your web page" lecture that appears about 10 times throughout the book). Then, it spends very little time explaining the actual HTML tags and sometimes only gives a very brief decription about the attributes for that tag.
The worst part is in the very last chapter. Throughout the entire book the authors tell you about these "style sheets" and how great they are. They tell you how these "style sheets" are going to replace this tag and that tag in the next version of HTML, which is XHTML. Finally, you get to that final chapter that is going to unlock the mystery of these "style sheets". Here's what you get: "Before you dive into this chapter expecting to find out how to create and use style sheets, please understand that we don't tell you much about how to make style sheets of your own in this book." Thats straight from the book.
What really makes me mad is the page after page of useless filler information that could have been used to actually tell me how to make a friggin style sheet! Now I have to go get another book on HTML.
So, in comclusion I would like to say this. If you know that HTML is used to make web pages and you know how to turn your computer on, this isnt the book for you. Go find a book that was written for people who are serious about learning HTML. You may miss out on the page after long page of retarded jokes and useless info, but I guess you cant have it all.
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on October 14, 2000
As the title says, this book is for people with very little knowledge of HTML - but knowledge of how to use a computer at an intermediate level. It covers most basic HTML tags, up to and including tables and a limited amount of framesets, as well as providing a large reference section aimed at the beginning HTML coder, becoming a decent reference manual even after the Tutorial section is finished.
It's not the be-all and end-all of coding references, but it's perfect for someone that is comfortable with a computer, and wants to being creating simple web pages. This can take an individual with little knowledge and give them enough information to where they can understand the more complex online references and puzzle out the rest, or to a level where they can successfully invest their time in learning more about CSS, JavaScript, and DHTML to move to more complex sites.
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on July 29, 2000
After struggling with this book through the first several chapters I finally decided to logon and look for other books on the subject. I ordered one of them and I sincerely hope it won't also be a waste of time.
Just to double check my impressions of this book I checked the other reviews on this site and found one (other than mine) one-star rating and 3 (3!) five star ratings. How can this be? Am I and the guy that also thought this book was useless completely out of it? To repeat the sentiment expressed by the author of that review, Naaaah! This book is a waste of your money AND a waste of your time. It actually has negative value. By the time you've read it you will have many misconception to overcome that you didn't have before.
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on October 5, 2000
I am currently taking an introductory class called "Build your Own Website." This book is required reading. When I went to my local bookstore to get "Html4 for Dummies with CD ROM," the sales associate did everything in her power to dissuade me from buying it. Now, 2 weeks into the course (and the book) I understand why.
There is too much text in this book: long, verbose explanations that make learning a chore. It is no fun to read, and is often confusing. Unless you are in the same situation as I (your professor demands that you use this, and only this, text) don't waste your money. Elizabeth Castro has written a much better book on this subject.
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