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HTML & CSS: The Good Parts [Paperback]

Ben Henick
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 26.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Feb 2010 0596157606 978-0596157609 1

HTML and CSS are the workhorses of web design, and using them together to build consistent, reliable web pages requires both skill and knowledge. The task is more difficult if you're relying on outdated, confusing, and unnecessary HTML hacks and workarounds. Author Ben Henick shows you how to avoid those traps by going beyond the standard tips, tricks, and techniques to connect the underlying theory and design of HTML and CSS to your everyday work habits.

With this practical book, you'll learn how to work with these tools far more effectively than is standard practice for most web developers. Whether you handcraft individual pages or build templates, HTML & CSS: The Good Parts will help you get the most out of these tools in all aspects of web page design-from layout to typography and to color.

  • Structure HTML markup to maximize the power of CSS
  • Implement complex multi-column layouts from scratch
  • Improve site production values with advanced CSS techniques
  • Support formal usability and accessibility requirements with tools built into HTML and CSS
  • Avoid the most annoying browser and platform limitations

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HTML & CSS: The Good Parts + JavaScript: The Good Parts
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (28 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596157606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596157609
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.7 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

So... what do I do? I build sites, or at least participate in building them. I do markup, CSS, JavaScript/DOM, PHP/SQL, copywriting, documentation, even occasionally art direction, even more occasionally design - in other words, pretty much everything aside from server administration. After fifteen years, you really do wear that many hats, even if a talented specialist can run circles around you in most of your skillsets.

My profiles at O'Reilly Media, A List Apart, Opera Software, and are all beacons of brevity. They don't tell you that I'm part of a five-generation legacy in the media trades, that I'm literate in two languages other than English, or even begin to hint that I identify strongly as a native Oregonian.

The message that I work hard to put across in all of my writing about Web development is that effective sitebuilding is a question of habits and attention: talent certainly helps, but it helps most if it leads you to a better process and the ability to grasp the "big picture" of a site in a hurry.

Product Description

About the Author

Ben Henick has been building Web sites since September 1995, when he took on his first Web project as an academic volunteer. He has worked in nearly every aspect of site design and development, from foundation HTML through finicky CSS to larger scale architecture and content management. He has written for A List Apart, the Web Standards Project, and most recently for Opera Software's Web Standards Curriculum.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts 27 May 2010
This is a good, but slightly odd book. The other "Good Parts" book JavaScript: The Good Parts is a well laid out argument for using a "good" subset of the JavaScript language, while eschewing the "bad parts". I was expecting something similar from this book, but instead we get a much more general web style guide, with a "bad parts" chapter tacked on at the end.

That said, the information here is still excellent. As a web style guide, it is better than most, with clear, concise and up-to-date advice on subjects like semantic HTML, CSS layout, use of colour and imagery, typography, and design of tables and forms. Much of the information appears scattered through other books, but it's good to see it all brought together in one place and laid out so clearly. Sometimes the author gets a bit carried away - the section on the 5,000 year history of writing and typography was entertaining but unnecessary - but he makes up for it in other places by providing genuinely useful reference information in a clear and concise way - like the glossary of typographical terms and description of character encoding in the same typography chapter.

The "bad parts" chapter feels like an afterthought - an irascible polemic against the vagaries of Internet Explorer and deprecated HTML tags. There are still a few thought-provoking moments and useful nuggets of information here, but it is mainly the author letting-off steam.

In summary this is an excellent web style guide that has been rather uncomfortably shoehorned to fit O'Reilley's "Good Parts" format. It will be staying close to my desk.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unorganized, Wordy, and Lacking Content 4 July 2010
By Randall Degges - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a professional developer, and have only recently begun writing front-end websites (mostly as a hobby) over the past year or so.

I picked up this book because I was looking for a detailed guide to HTML and CSS which covered best-practices, code minimization, and provided some real world examples of what to do, and what not to do when writing large website frontends.

In short, this book did NOT live up to my expectations in the least.

First off, this book is just shy of 300 pages of content, which could easily be summed up in ~10 pages. The author is EXTREMELY verbose, and seems to drag on and on with every little insignificant detail in the text.

Secondly, this book contains almost no code samples at all. There are very few code snippets throughout the book, and the ones that are provided are small, not rendered with any pictures near them (which is unforgivable, as they are supposed to show how certain CSS attributes can display data), and extremely simple. If the author would have added images / diagrams to at least show how the CSS snippets effect the design of the page, I would be slightly more understanding here.

Thirdly, this book doesn't really discuss the 'good parts' of HTML and CSS. Sure, it has chapters labeled Good Parts, Bad Parts, and Awful Parts, but it doesn't actually draw any meaningful distinctions between what is good, what is bad, and WHY.

Over all, this book is not worth the money. It:

1. Seems quickly thrown together.
2. Is far too verbose.
3. Does not have enough code samples / diagrams.
4. Has almost no real content.
5. Doesn't explain anything about the 'good', 'bad', and 'awful' parts of HTML or CSS.

I honestly can't recommend this book to anyone, as it is not geared towards beginners, intermediate developers, or advanced users.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I wanted 3 Jan 2011
By Neal J. Burns - Published on
I bought this book at the same time as Javascript: The Good Parts, hoping that it would teach me the most useful parts of CSS and HTML without being too verbose. That is exactly what the Javascript book did, but this one proved almost useless in that respect. Rather than present the important parts of CSS and HTML in a logical and comprehensible fashion, this book instead gives a lot of wordy advice apparently intended for people who already know HTML and CSS. Reading some of the glowing reviews on Amazon leads me to think that perhaps it's not worthless, but just misnamed. Perhaps a better name would have been "Essays on HTML and CSS Style." I'm not qualified to write a review of that hypothetical book. But if you are hoping to learn CSS and HTML, I don't recommend buying this.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategic advice 22 May 2010
By J. Cook - Published on
This book gives strategic advice for how to use HTML and CSS. It's not a comprehensive introduction to HTML and CSS; that would take a much larger book. It reminds me of the Effective C++ books by Scott Meyers: advice on how to make good use of the language, not a syntax tutorial. It sometimes explains what to do but not how to do it. In those cases, the book gives links to a companion web site with more details. If you have some experience with HTML and CSS, but feel like you're not using the tools as well as you'd like, this would be a good book to pick up.

I appreciate that the author endorses the spirit of web standards without being a language lawyer. Sometimes you have to make compromises.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Parts, Indeed 30 Aug 2010
By Tara Tallman - Published on
I am a graphic designer who gets off on both right and left brain activities. I like working on code. I am not a developer, but I do enjoy knowing how things work.

With that said, I have been struggling for the past few years to say with confidence that I am a web designer. At age 31, I was starting to feel obsolete because I just couldn't wrap my brain around HTML and CSS enough to feel that I really owned it. I could edit bits and pieces of things. I could grasp some general concepts. But all in all, I was lost. I could play checkers with code, but I could not build things.

I was at that point when this book came to me.

This book contained the context (the why, and the how) behind the disparate jibbly-bits floating in my head behind a website.

This is not a book that will walk you through a bunch of step-by-step tutorials. Those tutorials don't help me anyway. Design and development are not linear processes.

What was helpful (for me) was feeling like I had an expert with a willingness to speak above my head *just a little bit* and pull me along into a foreign language. It's not an easy read, but it was something I could curl up with on a couch with some coffee and dive into. Did it hurt my brain? Yes. But in that sense that I was really learning something. And that feels good.

I highly recommend this book for others like me who are transitioning from being a print designer to being a web designer who knows how web sites work.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners. 9 Sep 2011
By Mark Twain - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I haven't read the entire book, but I think I can still offer a helpful review.

I bought this book because I thoroughly enjoyed JavaScript: The Good Parts. I expected a short book that explained the important parts of HTML and CSS in a clear and concise fashion. However, I'm having a hard time getting through the chapter on CSS layout. Not enough explanation in some places, paragraphs that are hard to follow. Is it too concise? I think it was written for somebody who already knew CSS layout. Here's an example:

"An element with a float value of left or right must: ... Be contiguous with the element boxes of affected non-floated elements that it precedes in the source order, but not the contents of those elements. This behavior is quite relevant when composing multicolumn layouts."

I was left with many questions in my head after that.

There were many paragraphs in the book which made my eyes glaze over. I'm through struggling with this book.
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