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Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 3 May 2009
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This review is from: Head First Web Design (Paperback)
I've been a huge fan of the "Head First" series of books since they were launched and have used them to prepare for several Java certifications. Their book on design patterns is the most readable book on the subject. Recently though it seems to me that they are rushing out books on every subject under the sun. That is painfully evident in this ill-thought-out book.

I don't know who the authors have in mind as being the typical audience for this book. On the one hand they assume you are conversant in HTML and CSS but then spend a couple of chapters telling you how to organise a navigation system and how to speak to the customer. A lot of it is common sense to anyone who has spent time browsing the web. It's probably safe to assume that anyone who has bothered to learn
HTML and CSS will have spent a fair amount of time online. Incidentally, anyone looking for a well-presented, visual, introduction to CSS could do worse than check out the CSS section of the "Head First" book on HTML&CSS.

There were things I liked about this book. The section on colour palettes contained some useful recommendations. The section on accessibility was excellent and is a subject often overlooked because it's not as much fun as playing around with colours and layouts. The section on the business angle was useful, though by no means comprehensive.

What disappointed me most about this book was the number of omissions. Despite emphasising accessibility and knowing your audience( ironic since the authors don't appear to as far as the book is concerned ) no advice is given about browser compatibility. While some might argue that this is a CSS implementation issue it is a consideration you make prior to writing the code therefore is a design issue in my book. Fair enough they probably didn't want to get into a pile of CSS workarounds for
IE but would it have been so bad to provide a few links for further information?

There is no discussion on the subjects of including media players in your site, or the pros and cons of Flash and Javascript.

In summary, if you know nothing about writing code professionally and have taught yourself HTML and CSS you'll learn something from this book but you'll still be left with a lot of questions. If you are pretty experienced you'll find yourself skipping large chunks of this book.

One final point, anyone who is familiar with the Head First format will know that it is great for explaining tricky concepts in a memorable way. Since the concepts addressed by this book are not hard to understand there is not such a great advantage to the Head First format.

I really hope O'Reilly aren't going to sell the "Head First" brand down the river in its pursuit of a quick buck but that's the way it seems to be going. What else would explain the absence of a book for Sun's web services exam. There have been enough people in the Java community asking for one. Too long to write for too limited an audience I suspect.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 May 2012, 22:22:07 BST
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2012, 22:26:37 BST
I've read a lot of techy books on the subject of www dev. But have found this to be an ideal introduction to the process of actually getting an idea for a site turned into reality. I disagree that the concepts covered in his book are too simple for the format of presentation used. It's all about getting the reader involved and I find it works for me ! This book purposefully side steps a lot of techy trivia, it's not what it's about.
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