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 Reviews, (X)HTML