HTML5 Tutorial for the Likes of Me

November 16th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Head First HTML5 Programming is not a reference book and does not pretend to be. Go through the easy-to-follow book page by page, exercise by exercise. Come out at the end understanding how to program in JavaScript and knowing enough about HTML 5 to build superior websites. You can always pick up a reference book to pick up the odds and ends.

Book Review Note: This is another in my ongoing series of technical book reviews.

Don’t be intimidated by the alleged 600 pages in a tutorial format. First, lots of white space, graphics and big type mean you won’t be looking at sheets of man pages. Moreover, all those design elements serve real purposes. Each topic gets a breezy, easy-to-assimilate intro. Then it presents the key concept with clear illustration. Next, you have to think about what you just learned and construct real-world examples.

After the overview, each of the nine main chapters follows the same pattern. You learn as you go. The authors present the key basic information and techniques for each category. Sure, you have to follow the book in order to build on each topic, but you really only have to work on one at a time. You won’t find yourself hitting the TOC and index to try to tie in the related content. Freeman and Robson have handled that brilliantly.

For just one peek, the web storage (chapter 9) starts off with a cutesy closet analogy in words and a 50 photo. It jumps directly into a history of the development of browser storage, particuarly cookies. It illustrates the functions of cookies and presents a quiz on what problems using cookies might present.This leads immediately into verbal and graphic descriptions of how the HTML5 JavaScript API differs and how it has some of the same functions as cookies. This flows into an exercise where you think of the API as a Post-it note system, with tasks on creating a web page with browser storage. This is functional and you test your work in a browser. Afterward, words and images explain what happened in eah stage of the browser implementing the code.

The chapter continues along that line, dealing with each aspect of storage, through flushing data no longer needed. When you complete the tutorial, including the programming, you know plenty about how web storage works.

In short, using this book is a commitment. The authors make it as painless as possible and if you have a little tolerance for cute, you are likely to think it is fun going through each section. I worked through it all and don’t regret it.

Serious programmers would quibble about what it leaves out. The authors are plain up front that they expect you to know HTML4 an CSS first, but nothing else in the field. I definitely benefitted from the JavaScript first half of the book. The HTML5 up front and in the second half are perfectly adequate for most of us. This volume goes beyond clever and into the near brilliant class in delivering what it promises.

Head First HTML5 Programming:
Building Web Apps with JavaScript

By Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson

Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Released: October 2011
608 pages
$49.99 paper
$47.99 ebook
$54.99 paper and ebook


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