HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide Paperback – Oct 17 2006
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HTML is a familiar FLA (four letter acronym) but what about XHTML? Is it merely a typographical error or simply XML by another name? The readable preface to this book puts us right and there is more detail in Chapter 1 which is also an interesting potted history of the web and web technologies.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is for controlling layout and specifying hypertext links for documents viewed with a browser. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) controls its standardisation. XML (Extensible Markup Language), also defined by the W3C, is a standard that allows structured data to be presented in a standard way that it can be understood by many different technologies, for example, relational database engines and web browsers. Use of XML for the exchange of data between businesses on the Internet is increasing rapidly. Now, finally, comes XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language), which is HTML reformulated to bring it into line with the XML standard.
The authors try to instil good habits and style considerations, as well as an appreciation of kumquats (a recurrent theme in the examples). They revile use of the blink tag extension that causes text to oscillate between two colour states and blink, constantly, irritatingly and advocate visiting a wide range of Web sites to learn what works and what doesn't.
The comprehensive coverage of the topic is divided into chapters like Text Basics, Formatted Lists, Forms, Frames and Executable Content. HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide is a feature-driven guide to what the languages can do rather than a guide to producing a finished item, but it should help a beginner to make good progress nevertheless, and is written in an approachable style. --Mark Whitehorn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A library that circulates this book may soon find itself
charging a lost item fee, because it can become an
indispensable reference in a short period of time. -- Molly Ives Brower, Internet References Services Quarterly, Vol 6, No 1, 2001
In-depth descriptions of the behavior of every HTML tag on every major browser and platform, plus enough dry humour to make the book a pleasure to read. -- Edward Mendelson, PC Magazine, April 23, 2002
It is a readable, fast moving and a compact book. Those of us with the need for a good reference book certainly appreciate this one. -- Miguel A Sepulveda, linuxfocus.org, Jan 2001
Those of us with the need for a good reference book certainly appreciate this one. -- Miguel Sepulveda, LinuxFocus.org, April 2002
When they say "definitive" they're not kidding. Definitive is defined as "clearly defined or formulated" and that's just what this is. -- Linda Roeder, Personal Web Pages, About.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Eventhough it tells you if attributes are supported by certain browsers, it does not tell you which of them.
On top of that the "tips" that it gives are merely basic rules of HTML.
If you want a good reference book try: Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference or Web Design in a Nutshell. Both of them succed in describing attributes and tags: they tell you which are supported and explain them clearly.
I am not a programmer, and I think novices could still appreciate this book. However, I *strongly* recommend that potential readers have some exposure to HTML and understand how it works before purchasing. (Check out Jennifer Niederst's excellent "Learning Web Design" if you need a tutorial on the Internet and HTML.) In any case, the book is mainly geared towards experienced programmers, but I honestly believe that anyone can get the most out of this book if they are willing to experiment with HTML continually through trial and error.
Coverage of CSS and XHTML (the ultimate replacement of HTML) is sparse, so a 5th edition should hopefully cover more.
If you want to learn web design as is used by the industry (tables for layout, one pixel transparent gifs, Flash, etc.), you need to go to another book.
The latest browsers (NS 6.x, Opera 6.x, Konqueror, IE 6.x, etc.) are very standards-compliant. By W3C standards, presentation characteristics should be handled mostly by CSS. To learn HTML the markup language, however, this book does its job.
The cover may be unattractive and the reader may think that the book is dry and technical, but that's not true. The authors do take a conversational approach, occasionally adding humor and sarcasm (but not in a condescending tone like other authors!) making the book fun and easy to read.
HOWEVER-- I would NOT recommend this book to the absolute beginner. The organization is not exactly suited to the needs of a beginner; the book gives more information than is necessary before moving onto the basics (in fact, even while discussing the basics of HTML, the beginner might be confused) Instead, this book should be read by someone who may have dabbled in HTML but now wants to be a serious web designer. For someone just starting out in web design, you might take a look at something from SAMs or the popular HTML Goodies by Joe Burns. (Just make sure that you get something that is up-to-date, as HTML standards are continuously under review and subject to frequent modification.)
I'm serious, folks. There is a two-page discussion of whether or not background images or background colors should be used. There are discussions of Mosaic and Netscape 2.0 compatibility. The authors admonish HTML authors to _avoid_ making their pages look good. "Don't mistake style for substance", they say, in an effort to discourage any style formatting whatsoever. Have the authors never heard of graphic design, or visual art? Communication is not the same as information. Information must be presented well in order to communicate.
To top it off, after discouraging the use of backgrounds, the authors speak about the wonderful potential background audio has for the web.
Most recent customer reviews
I thought this book was very complete. I will disagree with quite a few reviews. I don't think this is for the beginner. Read morePublished on June 18 2003
Too bad there is no zero start rating.
I own about 10 O'Reilly books and this one is by far the worst. The book is so unorganized, full of replicates and useless comments. Read more
I didn't know anything about HTML when I started reading this book. When I finished it I understood tables, style sheets, formatting, and so much more. Read morePublished on April 28 2002 by bill homan
I found this book very interesting because I've seen and written a limited amount of html code and I was getting very confused about the latest versions, standards, browser... Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2002 by Jeff Marzano
I wouldn't recommend this book for a beginner. It has great layout, and structure, targeted at intermediate users. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2001 by W. McCown
The authors cover every aspect of HTML in deliberate detail, including a bit of history, current standards, browser support, recommendations on style, and, of course, every tag and... Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2001 by Todd McFarland
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