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HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides) [Paperback]

Chuck Musciano , Bill Kennedy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Aug 2000 059600026X 978-0596000264 4

HTML is changing so fast it's almost impossible to keep up with developments. XHTML is HTML 4.0 rewritten in XML; it provides the precision of XML while retaining the flexibility of HTML. HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition, brings it all together. It's the most comprehensive book available on HTML and XHTML today. It covers Netscape Navigator 6.0, Internet Explorer 5.0, HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, JavaScript, Style sheets, Layers, and all of the features supported by the popular web browsers.

Learning HTML and XHTML is like learning any new language, computer or human. Most students first immerse themselves in examples. Studying others is a natural way to learn, making learning easy and fun. Imitation can take learning only so far, though. It's as easy to learn bad habits through imitation as it is to acquire good ones. The better way to become HTML-fluent is through a comprehensive reference that covers the language syntax, semantics, and variations in detail and demonstrates the difference between good and bad usage.

HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition, helps in both ways: the authors cover every element of HTML/XHTML in detail, explaining how each element works and how it interacts with other elements. Many hints about HTML/XHTML style smooth the way for writing documents that range from simple online documentation to complex presentations. With hundreds of examples, the book gives web authors models for writing their own effective web pages and for mastering advanced features, like style sheets and frames.

HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition, shows how to:

  • Implement the XHTML 1.0 standard and prepare web pages for the transition to XML browsers
  • Use style sheets and layers to control a document's appearance
  • Create tables, from simple to complex
  • Use frames to coordinate sets of documents
  • Design and build interactive forms and dynamic documents
  • Insert images, sound files, video, Java applets, and JavaScript programs
  • Create documents that look good on a variety of browsers

The book comes with a handy quick reference card listing HTML tags.

Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 4 edition (11 Aug 2000)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 059600026X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596000264
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 17.7 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,094,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

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


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,, Jan 2001

Those of us with the need for a good reference book certainly appreciate this one. -- Miguel Sepulveda,, 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,

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best HTML reference I have found 7 Nov 2000
OK, it's not a teaching book. It's not meant to be, it's an O'Reilly book. They have sensible titles like "Learning (subject)" on their teaching books. This is a guide, a reference, as it says on the cover.
And it is the best on the market. By far.
Sure, the Kumquat joke gets old fast. But I've bought all three versions of this, and carry the rip-out reference card from the back of the book around with me.
I am often asked to tackle non-trivial aspects of HTML, where IE can do something, but NS cannot (or vice versa), and I would not feel confident doing so without this book.
The reference card is a wonderful idea! Do more of these, O'Reilly!
The in-depth indexes are also invaluable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Book in a web page designer's tool box 12 July 2001
This book couldn't have been more perfect for me. I was on the brink of understanding HTML in depth before buying this book. After reading I am now more fluent and more confident in what I use in my pages. I have a more wide spread knowledge of what I can use in my pages with a better understanding of the standards that uniform the web. I am now creating pages to standards - not to browsers.
This book has given me a very opening and logical insight into XHTML and XML.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good reference let down by the index 1 April 2008
By D. Knox
This is an excellent introduction to HTML 4.01. However, the XHTML 1.0 elements are less well covered and XHTML 1.1 is mentioned only in a few paragraphs. Although, to be fair, the differences from XHTML 1.0 are slight and only of interest to a few.

However, my main complaint is that the index is almost of no use for locating actual tags and their usage in the text. Additionally, the ordering of the topics means that this book should be seen more as a series of tutorials than as a reference from which information can be easily extracted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the title says 10 April 2000
Form: large paperback; chapters divided into many headings and subheadings, with references to other (sub)headings in a deliberate attempt to imitate the HTML format; screen captures in B/W. Target audience: anyone wanting to know anything about HTML. Invaluable for beginners, a useful reference guide for the advanced HTML programmer. Content: all known HTML tags, including obsolete ones. Frames, imbedding multimedia files, CSS, the difference between the two major browsers Netscape and Internet Explorer, the basics of Javascript and cgi scripts, a brief chapter on dynamic HTML. The author, following the HTML 4.0 standard, is obliged to constantly inform the reader that the older "hard" tags used by the earliest browsers are to be replaced by CSS, meaning anything under a fast 486 will become useless for netsurfing; but that's just the messager bringing the bad news, and the book lists all tags whether allowed under the new standard or not, as the main purpose is to inform. Personal reaction: I was sent this book by mistake, but was so pleased with it that I bought it. It reads pleasantly, as the author breaks up the information in digestible pieces (and also frequently repeat blocks of information, again to imitate the HTML format) and has a sense of humour. It doesn't go very deeply into cgi scripts and other specialized stuff, but is more than enough for anyone wanting to set up a simple webpage, and a very good and thorough starting point for anyone who wants more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want to know HTML? Get this book.... 8 Sep 1999
By A Customer
Musciano and Kennedy's book, is an excellent reference for any Web Author wanting to understand HTML. The Author's explain the HTML 4.0 standard and browser specific extensions that can be used in today's 2 most popular browsers (Netscape and Internet Explorer). If you're going to purchase any one book on HTML this is a definite winner. It includes an overview of Javascript and applet usage and contains detail of using frames and tables to enhance web design - also has a useful reference card in the back of the book which can me removed for ease of use.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class 25 May 1999
By A Customer
I've bought my fair share of books about HTML, and it has to be said that this is the best by far. A clear, well written book with plenty of well thought-out examples that are easy to apply. The inclusion of appendices concludes an essential purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is very useful. Should you need a book that has all aspects of HTML covered then this is your book. None of the descriptions used are beyond anyone except the completely uninitiated. My only criticism is that other (shorter) books will help you learn the basics more quickly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book to start to learn HTML 28 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This book is well written. It should be used by other computer authors as a template. The English is clear and concise. The examples well documented. The cross referencing enables the reader to get an immediate overview. My sons and I have used many computer books to self-learn and we all agree this is "The Best Ever". Well done.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This really is the definitive guide.
The younger one is, probably the easier it is to comprehend.
For an old timer like me, it does take a little longer !! Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2010 by Mr. M. D. Beckett
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Refernce Manual
I am an occasional HTMLer so I find this book very useful as a reference manual and use it in conjunction with the JavaScript Definitive Guide by David Flanagan
Published on 13 Sep 2009 by Kip Cymru
4.0 out of 5 stars A non-patronizing guide to modern html
"HTML and XHTML: the definitive guide" will give you a thorough grounding in creating web pages. Read more
Published on 4 Sep 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE! All theory, No practical.
I was looking for a very practical HTML book so I could start writing web-pages immediately, and after reading all of the raving reviews about O'Reily books I thought that this... Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive doesn't even begin to describe this book
After searching through various books and online resources I've not found a better target for my HTML queeries. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2001 by Neil Adams
3.0 out of 5 stars Purely a reference book
Not one for beginners - see Dick Olivers HTML in 24 hours. While this book is pretty comprehensive and tells you all you need as a reference, dont try using it as a teaching guide... Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars very impressive!
This book has been constantly sat wide open on my desk; it's great! I'm a complete beginner at HTML but I found this book easy to read and very understandable. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars >>> The only HTML book you need <<<
After the first read, it seems most reference books spend a lot of their time on the shelf. Not this one! It spends a lot of time on my desk, open. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars When its says definitive, it means it
This book is good for the experienced and beginner alike. I'm quite familiar with HTML, but still found sections of interest and always keep it on hand for reference, if only for... Read more
Published on 31 May 2000 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont waste your time
Dont waste your time with those cheaper in price, and incidentaly much cheaper in content html books this book took me from a complete novice to designer for my own company in... Read more
Published on 17 April 2000
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