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on 27 March 2016
Old school programmers and those with heavy bookshelves of staid technical guides (perhaps including the series with the black and white pictures of men with beards staring blankly out from the covers) will certainly find this series of books different. Whether you enjoy them or become annoyed with the photos, thought bubbles, cartoons and crosswords rather depends on your approach, and where you're reading it.

My advice is to take some time out with this book, put your feet up and work through cover to cover. As a learning guide it is excellent. Read it without distractions and the stuff goes in and concepts are well explained. Important concepts are explained more than once. You'll later want to whizz through the book again with your computer and attempt some of the examples and download the supporting code and assets.

As a reference, frankly, it's not the greatest - important information is stowed in amongst cartoons and picture diary style cartoons - having said that, there are a few useful tables you can refer to but finding them in this weighty edition is a challenge. Don't let that put you off - this is how the book is designed to be, and it does a great job of immersing you if you let it. When you're back at your desk and you need reference material, there's plenty of it on the official W3C site (for example) - this book is about putting concepts together, not listing the referred to syntax quirks, which will always date quickly anyway.
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on 19 October 2011
"Head First HTML5 Programming" stems away from basic HTML and CSS conventions in favour of the "bigger picture" – building full-scale web applications, working with APIs and 2-dimensional drawing are just a few of the topics covered.

Freeman gives you all you need to know – "Head First" could be considered an ultimate guide for learning how to make your sites interactive, how to access a range of APIs, and how you can build an exciting web experience for your users.

"Head First" is laid out in an expert fashion, with well-structured chapters on every subject so you can find what you need, whenever you need it. Freeman's creativity in describing concepts in ways no-one else would have ever thought of makes the text unique and interesting. The Head First series, especially this book give you all you want for a "hands-on" learning approach.

This book is not for beginner HTML coders, but if you want to dive deeper into HTML5, the "Head First" book is for you.

Reviewer's Note: This review of "Head First HTML5 Programming" was written prior to 2015 and has been republished by the original author in July 2015.
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on 20 August 2012
Let me say right off that I'm a fan of the Head First style of books. I do think the benefits of the style drops off significantly the more of them you read, but I still think it's a good way of learning.

However, this book was not one of the best in the series. Sure, the usual characters were there, the usual jokes and so on, but the technical content really let it down. This came down to two main issues where I feel the book could have been sooooooo much better...

1) The book should either have been called "Head First HTML5 & Basic Javascript" or it should have assumed a basic knowledge of Javascript, and jumped right in with the HTML5 stuff. Sadly, it started off assuming you were completely new to Javascript, and spent a lot of fairly dull (to me) pages teaching the basics of the language. Maybe if you don't know any before, then this might have been good, but the book's title implies that it's about HTML5, not Javascript, and for me, this meant that a large portion of the book was boring. Sure, you need Javascript to get the most of HTML5, but that doesn't mean that this book has to teach both subjects.

2) The Javascript code in the book ignores the many Javascript libraries that are available, and writes everything in vanilla Javascript. Whilst there is a certain benefit to this approach for those wanting to understand Javascript deeply, it missed the target audience for the book, and resulted in code that was a lot more complex than it should have been. They could have used jQuery (as an example, being the biggest one out there), and made the code much neater and more robust. jQuery only gets a very brief mention right at the end of the book in an appendix of extra things you might want to check out. Anyone writing serious web pages is going to use a Javascript library, and will most likely use jQuery, so the authors would have been far better off using it in their sample code.

On the positive side, the bits of the book that were actually about HTML5 were well presented, and gave enough of a start to enable you to get coding and produce some impressive web pages. As with any Head First book, this is only a beginning, and if you want to get into this stuff properly, you would need to move on to a more advanced book fairly quickly, but the basics were covered well.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book, unless you are really new to any kind of web page programming, and need a primer in Javascript as well as basic HTML. If you have any experience in either Javascript or previous versions of HTML, I would look for a book that skips the stuff you already know, and goes into more detail on HTML5 itself. The amount of actual HTML5 stuff in this book is fairly limited, and not worth the cost of the book, nor the time needed to read through the rest of the book.
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on 26 February 2012
Why is this 'Kindle version' even in the *Kindle* Store, given that you can't actually download and read it on a Kindle device? I know that Head First have a thing about writing `books' that appear to have ADHD-afflicted five year olds as a target audience (lots of huge pictures, 'funny' asides, and patronising imagined dialog with the readers......but very little actual meaningful explanation of the underlying concepts). However, creating a book that has so many of these unnecessary, condescending comic book features that it *doesn't even run on a Kindle*, then having the gall to sell it through the Kindle Store, just feels like adding stupidity to an already patronising format.
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on 19 February 2012
Wow!!! What a book! I have just finished it and all I can tell you it is worth getting and working your way through it. If you are looking for an HTML introduction this is not the place to start.

I love the way the authors get you into programming - they make it look so effortless and fun, you don't even notice. The exercises are actual (something you would do if you were to build a web application today) and leave the door open to make you want to explore some more.

Geolocation, Canvas - so much fun and if you are confused about video formats this is THE BEST explanation you could get.

I got a bit lost at the Fractal app (it is amazing by the way), but that is because I didn't know about the Mandelbrot Set. It does show the power of JavaScript.

I wish HTML5 with CSS3 would be published in a new book (similar to "HTML with CSS & XHTML").
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on 19 July 2012
I am writing this so you can ignore the kindle reviews, they have no effect on how good this book is.
I started hacking HTML/Javascript to create a page before I read this, progress was slow, I have just got this and cant put it down. In fact I wish I had the reading abilities of Jonnie5 just so I could know it all this instant! Things are clearer and I am now making progress, I have halted development until I complete this book. Cant recommend it enough!
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on 15 June 2012
It does mention it (in very small text), but this product is not compatible with kindle.

Given that it states "[Kindle Edition]" prominently in the title, it seems worthwhile to point this out.

This needs to be fixed before the product is suitable for the use it is sold for.

The book itself might well be excellent, I haven't read it yet.

UPDATE: This is not compatible with Kindle for Android either. This is therefore a "Book" which must be read on a laptop or desktop computer, and can't be used in a mobile setting. It's like the old days of books being chained to library desks.

This is totally ridiculous, and there is *no possible technical justification for it*. My tablet (and phone for that matter) is easily capable of viewing this sort of content using other delivery platforms, even if a Kindle device is unable to make the images look good.

Personally I need to be able to take books with me rather than read them at a desk. Unless you only read at your desk, don't consider buying until the situation is fixed.
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on 12 January 2012
This is another book related to HTML 5. As I really want to learn HTML5 well I am going over through different HTML5 related titles recently. This time, book comes from the Head First's stable. If you know Head First already, you know what to expect. If you are not familiar with the series, everything is just ahead of you.

Book covers, in my opinion, the very basics of the HTML5. This way, you will be able to learn step by step how to build HTML5 based web pages. When it comes to the content, one third of the book is devoted to Java Script. At some point this is important, because HTML5 is heavily based on Java Script. On the other hand, if you are experienced developer, going through all these ifs, whiles and fors will be definitely boring. However, if you haven't done web based development since you are desktop only developer, Head First's way explanation of basics concepts might be useful.
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on 19 May 2012
There is a couple of topics I miss from this book (they are summarized in the 'leftovers' section). Other than that the book is very good, with in-depth but easy to understand explanations to a lot of javascript, web-workers,web-storage and more.
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on 9 July 2012
I started reading this book using the Kindle App on my PC and found it to be a very informative and useful title.
When I got a Kindle Touch I found that it would not download to the device because its incompatible with it.
Incompatibility of titles between Kindle devices is not something I was aware of until now and I am not completely happy with this situation.

Brian
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