HTML Mastery (Book review)

In the last two or three years, a large number of books that explain modern, standards-based Web design and development have been released. Most of them have been focused on CSS or JavaScript, with HTML sort of coming along for the ride. Not so with HTML Mastery. This book is all about HTML, though it does contain a little bit of CSS and JavaScript.

The target audience for Paul Haine’s HTML Mastery is mainly Web designers who know the basics of HTML, but are unsure of how to use it to mark up documents in a structured, valid, and semantic way. That target audience is very well catered to in the book. Paul does a very good job of explaining most of the elements and attributes available in HTML, so reading this book will definitely give you a much better understanding of the language and how to use it in a modern way as opposed to the old school ways of the 1990’s.

Paul also brings up related subjects, such as Microformats, RDF, XHTML 2, Web Applications 1.0 (HTML 5), and “real” XHTML, i.e. XHTML served with the MIME type application/xhtml+xml. Those topics are explained well and make the book a worthwile read for people who have already progressed beyond the “using HTML for layout” stage.

The book is well-written, with just the right amount of humour to make you smile occasionally, and I can’t say I really disagree with anything.

I may be a little nitpicky here, but I find it a little ironic that after carefully explaining the difference between elements, tags, and attributes at the very start of the book, Paul himself calls elements tags at times. Some parts of the book contain less of it, others more. Having a bit of OCD about HTML terminology, it made me momentarily stop for a moment each time I saw the word “tag”. But that’s just me ;-). Oh, one more little thing: in a definition list, each set of dt and dd elements can contain one or more of each.

Don’t mind my minor complaints though (hey, I had to find something). HTML Mastery is an excellent walkthrough of the available HTML elements and how (and when) to use each of them.

Details for HTML Mastery
Author: Paul Haine
ISBN: 1590597656

Posted on March 9, 2007 in (X)HTML, Reviews

Comments

  1. I think I will pick up this book as a work expense. I have 2 major web redesigns to take on this summer and I’d really like to do it right this time. As you described, I am a web designer with a decent handle on (X)HTML and CSS, but the key definition of a web professional is using the previously mentioned technologies CORRECTLY. Thanks for the heads-up on this book!

  2. I got this book when it came out. I highly recommend it to anyone who is working on web. You will definitely learn something new from it or at the very least reinforce things you already “think” you know.

  3. Added to wish list!! Now if only my fiance would see the list ;)

  4. Sounds like a good read! I might just pick it up, especially for its coverage on Web Applications, Microformats and RDF, which I actually know naught of.

    Thanks for the review, Roger.

    By the way; it seems (judging by the frequency of book review posts) that you read an awful lot of development books. Where do you find the time to read ‘em all? Or do you just skim the pages and read in detail only a couple of selected chapters?

  5. Would you recommend this book to someone who is familiar with basic HTML but not very good in this field, and who’s daily job is only sometimes to create web pages (as part of applications)? I have some colleagues which would certainly need an improvement of their HTML (and CSS) skills and if you think this book would be a good learning book, then i’ll go and buy it.

  6. The whole name of the book is HTML Mastery - Semantics, Standards and Styling. So semantic is the core content. HTML, a little CSS and JS are just tools. This book is worth reading.

    Here is the words on cover:

    An in-depth guide to the advanced HTML elements

    Covers XHTML and HTML, and CSS and JavaScriptâ„¢ tips and tricks

    The future of markup, including a look ahead at XHTML 2.0, Web Applications 1.0, and the Semantic Web

  7. March 10, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Harmen:

    By the way; it seems (judging by the frequency of book review posts) that you read an awful lot of development books. Where do you find the time to read ‘em all?

    I’m a quick reader and find reading development books to be sort of relaxing. At least it lets me get away from the computer for a bit.

    Dirk:

    Would you recommend this book to someone who is familiar with basic HTML but not very good in this field, and who’s daily job is only sometimes to create web pages (as part of applications)?

    Yes. That sounds like a perfect match for this book.

  8. Thanks, i will get this book then for my colleagues. And i’ll try to use your affiliate link as a thanks for reviewing and recommending it. :-)

  9. March 12, 2007 by Doug Wig

    Most of the ‘Friends of Ed’ books for web developers (DOM Scripting, CSS Mastery & HTML Mastery) come in at about 250 pages and they seem to be written by witty English chaps. They’re easy to read and sprinkled with thoughtful examples that usually go beyond the topic at hand. So far, DOM Scripting is my favorite —-If only all computer books were this much fun.

  10. I am reading this book right now. It is excellent! Up till now it has covered some areas wich I have not find in other books. I have bought the book - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax - you have recommended last time. Really looking forward to that one as well. Thanks for the reviews!

  11. March 26, 2007 by Long Pha Van

    can i download ebook HTML Mastery . Who can show me link? Or send to my mail? I need it.

  12. April 4, 2007 by madr

    I got the book two weeks ago, and finished it the day before yesterday.

    The last year I’ve spent on presentation logic instead of business and data, and I realized about six months ago that my skills in HTML are good, but not nearly good enugh ( I had reached level 4 according to Levels of HTML knowledge, and realized I needed to go for level 5, but that I did’t know back then ). I now know a “good” and correct HTML-document saves a lot of pain when it comes to adding CSS to it, and the secret is to keep it simple. What I didn’t have was a guide or something that really could help me reach my goals.

    This book was exactly what I needed to start aiming for the higher level. I got a full rescan of my HTML knowledge, well needed. Now, when I finally beginning to realize the full potential of HTML, I am ready to do the same with CSS. CSS Mastery looks like a good choice for that one. :)

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