HTML & XHTML Pocket Reference

A pocket sized reference to all the HTML 4 and current draft HTML 5 elements

My Rating: yesyesyesnono





The biggest problem with this pocket book is its completeness. It covers three entire versions of HTML all in the one book and with all the elements and attributes supported by each of the three versions all jumbled in together.

The earliest of the three versions covered (HTML 3.2) is now obsolete and should only need to be referenced when transitioning code to HTML 4 That information would therefore have been better presented in its own section where those using HTML 4 transitional while gradually replacing those elements and attributes could still have access to information about them (and preferable suggestions on what to replace them with - something missing from the book) while those who have already succeeded in moving fully to HTML 4 (strict) could easily ignore that section.

Similarly the information on HTML 5 can be ignored by 99.9%+ of readers as that is only an early draft and will be significantly changed by the time it finally becomes a standard (if it ever does). Given the number of sites still relying on HTML 3.2 it will be long after that before a lot of sites even finish upgrading to HTML 4. That information could therefore have been better presented as a separate section in a more abbreviated format.

Had the book actually been set out that way with HTML 3.2, HTML 4 (strict) and HTML 5 as separate sections (with all of the overlap with HTML 4 being included in the HTML 4 section then the book would have been far more user friendly.

The book also claims to cover XHTML 1.0 and 1.1 but in fact does not mention many of the ways that elements can be defined that are valid in XHTML but not in HTML (eg. <script/> as a self closing tag when referencing an external script). The book also refers to XML declarations being problematic but fails to mention that they are only problematic in HTML web pages where they do not belong and are not problematic in XHTML web pages. I am unable to tell from the book whether the author really understands the difference between using an XHTML 1.0 doctype as an alternative to the HTML 4 doctype for serving HTML and using the XHTML 1.0 doctype for that totally different markup language of XHTML. For a book that claims to be an XHTML reference there is almost nothing in the book about XHTML at all.

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