When I first saw the title of this book, I was pretty sceptical. After all, I’ve seen numerous similarly titled books in the past, which promise to teach a complex technology in a short space of time and which generally fail to deliver. You know the ones I mean, you see them in the computer section of bookshops…each one is about one thousand pages long, packed full of dense text and entitled something like ‘Learn Oracle During Lunchtime’…or ‘Design and Build a Supercomputer in 3 and a half Minutes’. Fortunately though, unlike those others, this book actually succeeds in delivering on its promises.
Divided into 24 short chapters, each one of which takes an hour or so to complete, the book kicks off with a 101, before showing you how to build your first web page…something you will have accomplished before the end of chapter two…and what’s more, it will be a fully standards compliant one, because everything taught in this book is, in fact, XHTML, the up to the minute, XML compliant version of HTML, ensuring that you ‘future proof’ your learning experience as you read.
The next nine chapters cover pretty much every aspect of (X)HTML including internal/external linking, anchors, lists, special characters, text alignment and formatting, background colours and images, creating preparing and using web graphics banner ads and photographs, image maps, tables and how to publish your web site.
Having done an excellent job so far, by moving at the perfect rate for everyone except total imbeciles, the book then comes slightly unstuck by trying to cover Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in just three chapters. If you’re not familiar with CSS, it’s a language in its own right, that allows you to separate content from design and do all the things that are impossible with plain old (X)HTML, which is why, over the last couple of years, it has become a massive deal on the web. The thing is, that there’s at least as much to learn about CSS as there is to learn about (X)HTML and if it takes 11 chapters to cover HTML in depth…well you do the math…Having said that, the book does manage to pack lots into those three chapters, but unlike the preceding and subsequent ones, they are somewhat frenetic.
Subsequent chapters cover frames, embedding multimedia in web pages, search engine submission, web site management and using HTML/CSS to ‘jazz up’ your Ebay auctions and Blogger blogs, all of which is useful information, though more expansive coverage of CSS would be even more useful. Nevertheless this book is the best resource I’ve found for learning HTML/XHTML and I seriously recommend it.
More Info: www.samspublishing.com
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