24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Freemans have done it again - another superb Head First,
By A Customer
This review is from: Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML (Paperback)
Head First books have the power to induce unrestrained enthusiasm from their devotees. Expect much raving below.
I am an utter HTML newbie and I've never read any other books on HTML or CSS, so I can't comment on how complete the coverage of the book is. However, after having read this book, I had a poke around a few HTML and CSS files, and understood what they were doing, so it must be fairly complete. As a brief indicator of the scope, the book takes you from HTML no-hoper to designing a multi-columned web page considering different float, jello, and fixed CSS styles. The last two chapters cover tables and forms (that's things like radio buttons and text areas), but doesn't cover scripting or server side programming.
I also ran a few web pages through the W3C validator, and then felt extremely smug when I understood when they failed. I look forward to making myself very unpopular with my web-designing colleagues with this newfound knowledge.
What I can comment on with more confidence is the learning experience. I started reading this on Friday evening, and finished it on Sunday afternoon. It is a joy to read.
If you've read a previous Head First book, you know what to expect, although this book has the added bonus of full colour pages and higher quality paper. Curious about HTML, XHTML, CSS? Buy without hesitation. Nice to see the Five Minute Mysteries from Head First Java back, too.
If you've not read a Head First book, then expect a tutorial rather than a reference. Calling it a tutorial does it a disservice, however. There is little in the way of traditional exposition in Head First titles. You will never see a page of plain text.
What you will see are a succession of engaging scenarios with slyly waggish pop-cultural references; recurring characters setting tasks, asking the questions, and playing out the concepts you're introduced to; copiously annotated fragments of code and the resulting web pages; small puzzles and crosswords. Even when there are multiple ways of doing the same thing, instead of a simple table listing the pros and cons, you're more likely to see an anthropomorphised head to head discussion or an interview.
Sounds a bit gimmicky? Sound like it'd be really annoying? It's not - it's almost perfectly judged, and it's the secret of what makes this a compelling learning experience. Everything is conversational and humanised. The pacing is spot on, and there's an energy to this that has you wanting to read just one more chapter.
For a book about CSS, this is no small achievement. If you're interested in building your own website or simply just curious about what HTML can do, buy it without hesitation.