on 24 September 2010
I must say: I enjoyed going through this book. It is written in an opinionated and slightly irreverent style, so I found it a mildly amusing read.
That being said: why do people buy a book on HTML5? Some would like to have a good in-depth reference on the ins and outs of the new language. Well now - that's not this book. Others might be new to web development and think learning HTML5 would be a good starting point. While they are right that HTML (5 or 4) is the place to start, this book surely isn't.
There's some depth when it comes to background, but much less when it comes to HTML5 itself or how to use it. True, the <canvas> tag and geolocation are covered pretty much in detail, but the author made some hard to defend choices in spending his paper estate.
HTML5 gives us no more than a handful of new tags, still some of those (<mark> and <section>, for example) are simply mentioned once and that's that. No examples, no advise on where to use them, nothing on browser support. Yet the book takes five pages at the start to tell the story of how the img-tag came into being some 15 years ago. Again, mildly amusing, but probably not the reason you are thinking of buying this book.
Another example: there are 10 pages with a primer on audio and video codecs, plus another 19 (!) detailed pages (with lots of screen shots) on how to use a number of specific and probably soon outdated software tools to encode video for the web. All fine for those who are completely new to video encoding and believe a book on HTML5 should be the starting point for that. But when it comes to the actual <video> tag (under the aptly named heading "At Last, the Markup"), this consists of a meager 3 pages that include a statement like this:
"The <video> element has methods like play() and pause()".
Huh? "Methods like"? So which other methods are there? And how and where would I use them? Are these standardized across browsers? Where can I find more about them? Any example, maybe?
If you think these are the kind of questions a book on HTML5 should answer, you are out of luck. The above sentence is all the information on this particular topic you are going to get. Not a word about implementing these methods, or on how to style the browsers' native video controllers that come with HTML5 support. There are a good number of external references for information on things like Unicode, codecs and video containers, and some useful scripts, but not a word on how we can get the information on how to control and style the <video> tag. Maybe the logical conclusion would be: in another book on HTML5, perhaps?
on 6 September 2010
If I was to describe this book in five words, the review title says it all.
As an early (but not as early as Bruce or Remy) adopter of HTML5, I know a fair bit about the subject matter but after reading this book I realised how much I didn't know. As well as talking about the well known new features of HTML5 such as video, audio, canvas and forms, Bruce and Remy also delve into such diverse topics as ARIA (for accessibility), data storage, offline applications, the (nasty) drag and drop API and even the geolocation API (even though it's not strictly part of HTML5).
The book is littered with clear explanations and well written, amusing, sometimes weird, coding examples. There is no glossing over the fact that HTML5 is far from perfect, and that the HTML5 specification itself isn't finalised and therefore subject to change but the authors do a great job of keeping the content interesting and fresh.
It's a refreshing and honest approach to a technical book and one I highly recommend to web developers either new to the world of HTML5 or wanting to find out more.
on 27 September 2013
Something reading this book reveals, is that the there's more to learn about the context in which the new HTML 5 tags work than there is about the new tags themselves. An obvious example is the simplicity of the <video> tag and the complexity of audio and video codecs, MIME types, bit rates and cross-browser compatibility. The author has dug around on the web for utilities and work-arounds and that's what swathes of this book are about.
It's worth noting that XHTML has been abandoned for several years, which may come as a big surprise and disappointment to some people. O'Reilly's current Definitive Guide to HTML and XHTML won't be updated until July 2014, at which point XHTML will be dropped from the title.
on 29 July 2010
HTML5 is creating more and more a name for itself in our industry, but while it excites those on the cutting edge of web technology, many are left feeling uncertain about it. Its ongoing development has been victim of politics, fragmentation and more, leaving few to have a good grasp of its current status. However, a lot of the technologies that make up HTML5 (and more) have become mature, even implemented across all the latest browsers--but did you know that? If you've kept an arms length to everything going on with HTML5, now is the time to dive into its waters and explore.
Fortunately, you don't have to do it all by yourself: just get Introducing HTML5, written by Bruce Lawson (Opera) and Remy Sharp (Left Logic).
Exactly as its name implies, Introducing HTML5 is an introduction to all the new semantics and application-oriented technologies that make up the HTML5 spec. You don't have to be a web development expert to read this, but you'll come out closer to one when you've finished. All you need is a good grasp of web standards-based techniques, e.g. semantic markup; separation of structure, presentation and behavior; and accessibility. Bruce and Remy will teach you everything you need to know to bring your skill set to the next level.
Starting out light, Introducing HTML5 first teaches you the most important new HTML5 elements and their semantic purposes, which is especially helpful if, like me, you kept an eye on these since the early stages of HTML5, but got confused as their meanings were changed or redefined.
Throughout the book, Bruce and Remy do a great job at not just introducing the new technologies, but informing you exactly of what does and doesn't work in which browsers. Even the latest releases of browsers have some glaring bugs here and there, but where fixes are available, they are presented, and where not, workarounds explained. As a result, Introducing HTML5 is a tremendously practical book, going well beyond a surface-level introduction and straight-up teaching you how to wield these new technologies today.
One thing I am personally very happy about is how the book teaches you how to implement things in an accessible way (via ARIA or otherwise), making sure that visitors to your sites aren't left out. HTML5 is exciting, but our excitement shouldn't come at the cost of accessibility--and following Bruce and Remy's advice, it won't.
The compact but dense information in Introducing HTML5 means that in just an afternoon or two, you'll find yourself brimming with new knowledge, excitement and ideas for making your websites or web applications richer, more exciting and more powerful. All in all, a highly recommended read.
on 23 August 2010
Having seen both Bruce and Remy talk about their expert subjects - I had high expectations about this book, hoping to learn a lot from practical examples as well as hoping to be entertained. I was certainly not disappointed!
The book is excellent - I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting to grips with HTML5. A solid intro which gives great examples and explains in clear tone the pros and cons. Though it is called an introduction to HTML5 - I think it does go beyond that due to its practical approach throughout and the excellent examples and references. I enjoyed reading and experimenting along - while the text in the examples made me smile throughout.
I particularly liked the 'human' tone of this book, disagreeing in places with aspects of the spec being discussed, clearly pointing out cross-browser compatibility, practical working methods and overall delivering the content in a very pragmatic approach rather than focusing on theories and abstraction. The attention given to making sure that the new HTML5 gets implemented with accessibility in mind deserves an extra gold star!
The humour and fun really contributed to making this a brilliant read. You will enjoy it :)
If I had to find a flaw - I would have to agree with Chris Mills about the print quality. I'd have opted for a digital version - if there was one - had I known. I've read this book mainly at home, taking it with me for reading on the train only once - yet the cover now looks as if I've had it for months and treated it roughly... I treasure my books and so I'm not happy it looks so worn now.
But well done, Bruce and Remy, thanks for a great book!
on 23 January 2012
My intentions behind reading this book were, as it "says on the tin", to give me an introduction to HTML5. I've intentionally held off learning the new specification until I felt there was enough popular support for it. As such this book seemed like an ideal starting point. However, having read it from cover to cover I don't really feel much further forward.
Rather than teaching you how to code HTML5 this book covers some of the major features of the specification. It's a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Some topics are covered at a very high-level while others deep-dive into very specific examples. I am a fairly experienced front-end developer but felt out of my depth with some of the explanations and examples.
on 15 August 2010
Joking aside, this really is a very good book. Bruce and Remy have
done a great job of wading through the absurdly-but-justifiably
detailed <a href="[...]">HTML5 spec</a> (including many months of reading the mailing
lists), and distilling it down into a thoroughly readable, enjoyable
little manual that weighs in at just over 200 pages. The writing style
is humorous (but not painfully so), practical and pragmatic, and
provides a really good snapshot of HTML5 in 2010, including exactly
what you can do cross-browser right now, and how to plug
the gaps in the browsers that won't play ball (poor old IE - makes you
feel like kicking a puppy).
I really like the way they don't try to claim HTML5 is perfect, either
the spec itself or the browser support. Remy really lays into the mess
of drag and drop, for example, and Bruce explains that, while most of
the new semantic elements make perfect sense (some take a while longer
to grok than others), some of the browser implementations leave a lot
to be desired, for example the lack of easy customization of form
validation errors. They do however reassure you that it'll all be ok,
and fill in the gaps where needed, so you can go through it with a
feeling of excitement, not anxiety.
If I had to pull them up on one thing, I'd say that some of the
examples could have been a bit more in depth. When they demonstrate
how things like web workers and sockets work, the examples given are
the absolute bare minimum, and I would've liked a bit more to get my
teeth into. However, you can't blame them for this approach - some
of the API implementations are incomplete, or buggy, and the aim from
their point of view is to get you up to speed with the new features as
quickly as possible, with no cruft to get in your way. If you have
this stuff up and plugging it into your own kick ass web apps.
This book is really well written, and provides existing web developers
and designers with a great intro to all the major parts of the HTML5
spec, and how to get them working now. In 2010. Not 2022.
on 11 March 2012
This is not a book for someone to learn HTML from but its very useful for people who already have experience with the language as you can easily see some of the new major features of HTML5 and how you can implement them for use on your own site. This book shows you how to go ahead and implement these features and the differences from previous versions of HTML but thats it. It is a small introduction to what you can potentially achieve with HTML5.
So in overall a good but small introduction to HTML5.
on 27 August 2013
This is a really good little book to get you started on the new elements of HTML5. It's not massively comprehensive but like I said, it's a really good introduction and the injection of a little humour goes all the way to making it a more readable book.
on 31 December 2010
"Introducing HTML5" is an enjoyable foray into the world of this much heralded nascent technology. The authors, Bruce Lawson and Remy Sharp, are well respected as both jobbing developers and advocates, so expectations were high and they certainly delivered. The book achieves the right balance between theory, rationale and practical real world examples.
As the subject matter is technical and the book is appropriately targeted at an intermediate to advanced readership, it could have easily been a laborious read, but it is the polar opposite. The book is well structured and written in an engaging, witty and lighthearted tone that makes it easy to digest without compromising or undermining the breadth, depth and complexity of the content.
Each chapter covers a specific topic, which in turn correlates to particular tasks, such as creating Forms or developing Audio Visual Content, so it is easy to dip in and out of the book once you start developing.
What is evident throughout the book is how passionate and knowledgeable the book's authors are, which brings the book to life in a way that makes you excited about what the future holds and how pivotal HTML5 is going to be in achieving things that current specifications either can't do or can only be done by making compromises.
The authors reference external resources that provide additional examples of certain elements and features in situ. Although these are great for giving further substance and context, they are an added bonus, as the book remains a standalone resource without them.
The content is structured and written in a way that is accessible and easy to understand by anyone who has a good grounding in HTML and semantic mark up. It provides more than enough for competent designers and developers to get started and use HTML5 with confidence, in the knowledge that the right tools are to hand.
The code examples featured throughout are well written and very easy to follow. The flow between theory and actual code is natural and does not require further exploration or cross referencing in order to comprehend, as is the case with other books of this nature. What makes this book such a compelling read is the way the authors explain "Why", as well as "What" and "How To". The book has humility. It never condescends. It treats readers with respect and never employs the "Because I Said So" technique.