Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3

Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 by Zak Ruvalcaba and Anne Boehm
$54.50 from Mike Murach & Associates

By this point, I had no intention of reading, let alone reviewing, another HTML book; I’ve seen too many of them in the last year. However, I’ve been a fan of the Murach books since I picked up Murach’s C# 2010 and Murach’s SQL Server last summer, so when they offered me a copy of their new title, I couldn’t resist. Like the other books, it follows the facing page format where the left page describes what’s going on and the right page has the actual code, and is designed to be accessible to someone with no experience whatsoever, without annoying more experienced users with too much handholding and repetition.

The book is divided into four sections. Section one is the stuff that anyone building a website needs to know. It opens with an introductory chapter for people who know nothing about web development and a chapter explaining how to code and test a webpage; anyone with a little web experience can safely skip these. Chapters 3-6 then show how to build a basic website with HTML and CSS; while much of this is stuff that anyone who’s built a site or two will know, these chapters do cover some of the new things from HTML5 and CSS3.

While that first section should be read in sequence, the rest of the book is designed for skipping around. Section two is called “More HTML and CSS skills as you need them”. It covers links and lists, images, tables, forms, audio and video, and printing. While this is an HTML/CSS book, modern websites often use JavaScript for the page behavior (while HTML provides content and CSS covers presentation), so section 3 introduces JavaScript and jQuery, then talks about the new elements in HTML5, such as Canvas and Geolocation, that depend on JavaScript. Finally, the short section four covers designing the site (before you start coding it) and publishing it to the internet.

I like this book for the same reason I liked the Murach books I bought last year: the proofreading is good, it’s easy to read, and it’s easy to look things up. I haven’t tried the examples (which have you build a site throughout the book, adding the things you learn in each chapter) but they look pretty straightforward. I’ve already found myself referring to the book several times when I needed to do something using JavaScript, which I’m not particularly familiar with; the jQuery chapter turned out to be exactly what I needed. I recommend this book.

How does it compare to HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites, which I also reviewed recently? It really depends on where you’re coming from; as a programmer, I preferred this book, but my wife (a graphic designer) likes the other one. I do think this one is more comprehensive (and of course, it covers a bit of JavaScript as well as the main topics), while the Duckett book is a quicker read.

Disclosure: I recieved a free review copy of this book.

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This entry was posted by William on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 at 2:33 pm and is filed under Technical . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Comment

  1. [...] Murach’s HTML5 and CSS3 by Zak Ruvalcaba and Anne Boehm The Murach books have a style that I like (and tend to mention in each review): you see description on the left page, and the associated code on the right page. This makes it easy both to learn the material (since you get to see it twice, from two directions, while you’re learning) and to look things up later (since you can ignore the descriptions and just scan the code). This book starts out with an introductory chapter for people who know nothing whatsoever about websites, then the rest of the first section teaches basic HTML skills. The rest of the book is designed for jumping around to whatever you’re interested in; you don’t need to read through it in order. Section two is straight HTML and CSS, while section three introduces JavaScript (which you’ll need for some HTML5 elements like Canvas). Section four isn’t actually about coding; rather, it covers designing and publishing a website. For me personally, I tend to work with a lot of different technologies (as an example, in the last week or so I’ve used ASP.NET, CSS, C#, HTML, JavaScript, Intersystems Cache, Visual Basic…and that’s just for work) and I often forget minor details when I’m switching languages; for HTML/CSS, this is the book I usually reach for. [...]

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