HTML & CSS The Good Parts

If ever a book was misnamed then this is it. While this book does identify the worst parts of HTML and CSS for you it also misidentifies many of the bad parts as good.

My Rating: halfnononono





This book has completely the wrong name. It should have been called "How not to write your HTML and CSS". While the book is divided into chapters with only one chapter labelled as "The bad parts", that chapter actually contains just the worst parts. The bad parts are actually scattered through the book masquerading as good parts.

I am not even going to attempt to list what things the author got wrong in this book as doing so would require that I write a book at least the size of the one I am reviewing in order to explain it all properly.

To be fair to the author of the book I will mention one thing that the book gets wrong just as an example. Its a huge example too since it impacts on much of the book content. - Back at the end of the 20th Century a new version of HTML was developed called HTML 4. The idea was to get rid of all the bad presentational HTML and replace it with CSS. Note that the standard said way back then that these presentational HTML tags are bad. Of course it was a few years before all browsers properly supported HTML 4 but by about 2004 or 2005 it was possible to write web pages that comply with the HTML 4 standard and which work in all commonly used browsers. Now of course some people had already got lots of web pages that were written to the old HTML 3.2 standard and converting them all to HTML 4 would take a long time. To cater for all these old pages the new standard defined two different doctypes that can be used - a strict doctype for pages written using just HTML 4 without all the bad tags (which the standard listed as deprecated) and a transitional doctype that allowed all the bad HTML 3.2 tags while the page is being slowly transitioned from HTML 3.2 to HTML 4 by removal of these tags defined as bad by the standards. The author of this book actually recommends allowing tags that according to the standards are bad by recommending the use of the transitional doctype on page 13 of the book as the doctype to use for new projects.

Unfortunately, while there are a few sections in the book that actually do provide useful information about the good parts of HTML and CSS they are scatterd in amongst bad parts masquerading as good to such an extent that unless you already know what this book is supposed to be teaching you have no way of identifying which is which and if you do already know it then you don't need the book.

More Information from the Publisher


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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