Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS (Book review)

Many books that have been released during the last couple of years choose to focus on one subject, be it HTML, CSS, JavaScript, accessibility, or something else. That works well for readers who have reached a certain level of knowledge of the book’s subject and want to move on to expert levels.

For people who are just getting started learning about Web development, a book that covers a wider range of subjects may be more appropriate. In Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS, Virginia DeBolt takes exactly that approach by covering HTML, XHTML, and CSS in an integrated way.

The book covers everything from the very basics of HTML and CSS to writing XHTML and CSS for handheld devices and design basics. The correct use of most of the common HTML elements and attributes is explained, along with examples of how CSS can be used to style them. There are chapters that explain, among other things, how to publish the pages you build, how to configure and customise various blogging tools, and how to write CSS with Dreamweaver 8 (I skipped the Dreamweaver chapter since I don’t use it).

Throughout the book, all examples are standards-based and keep accessibility in mind, which is great considering that it will be picked up by a lot of beginners. This book teaches HTML and CSS mostly the right way.

Mostly? Yes. While reading Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS, I did notice a number of typos and some factual errors, and there are a few techniques described that I wouldn’t call best practice. Nothing really major, but I did send a list of errata and change suggestions to the author, so take a look at Errata: Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS before reading the book.

Despite the problems I found, this book is a whole lot better than most other books that teach beginner level HTML and CSS. It isn’t quite comparable to masterpieces such as Ian Lloyd’s Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way, but it’s not bad at all.

I find Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS mostly suitable for beginners or designers and developers who need to catch up on standards-based HTML and CSS authoring.

Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS
Author: Virginia DeBolt
ISBN-10: 047009754X
ISBN-13: 978-0470097540

Posted on July 30, 2007 in (X)HTML, CSS, Reviews, Web Standards


  1. Good review again, Roger!


    As far as I see, this is not a book for me, but I might recommend it to some friends, who would like to have some basic knowledge of HTML and CSS and how it all works together:)

  2. Hi Roger, I’ve been coming to 456 Berea Street years ago, ever since I started in web design. It’s always been a great resource for me, not just for CSS tricks, but HTML, Javascript, and book reviews like the one above too. I’m proud to be part of the same network as you. :)

  3. July 30, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)


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  4. “It isn’t quite comparable to masterpieces such as Ian Lloyd’s Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way”

    That, right there, is my favouritest thing I’ve read all day (admittedly it’s only 8 am though!)

    Honestly, people, I am not paying Roger, you can’t prove a thing!

  5. I too am a fan of Ian Lloyd’s book and gave him 5 stars in a review recently. Even so, I appreciate your mention of my book. Thanks!

  6. July 31, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Jeff: Thanks, I really appreciate that!

    Ian: Ping me if you forget my account number ;-).

    Virginia: You’re welcome! Your book is a good one.

  7. This caught my attention immediately.

    In 2005 I was fighting the transition from table layout, bad markup and bloated code to web standards and css. I administer a very large static and dynamic site, and the code was dreadful.

    The book that really helped to deaden the pain and get me started on the proper path was “Integrated HTML and CSS”.

    If I can come away from any book with at least one “Eureka!” moment then I consider having gotten my money’s worth. And for me back then it was the chapter about lists and links - particularly the DL.

    I still use the color chart as a quick reference.

    Ever since then, whenever beginners ask me what book they should read, that’s the book I most recommend for quick and easy to grasp technique.

    So, I will now have to check out “Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS” - a lot has happened in two years.

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