★★★★ HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions: A Web Standardistas’ Approach by Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson is from Friends of ED (2009). The thing I like most about this book is also the thing I like least about it. That thing is the book’s organization. The first half of the book is devoted entirely to a complete intensive in semantic, standards-based HTML. Although some things are treated a little superficially (such as making tables accessible), for the most part a person could become very good at semantic HTML after going through this part of the book.
The second half of the book looks at CSS. Again, the book is really thorough about the basics and the use of best practices in writing and using CSS. However, it isn’t until Chapter 13 that the topic of using an exernal style sheet is introduced. There’s a chapter after that with references to good resources, but basically the book is over after Chapter 13.
I like that every part of HTML and CSS is covered from a web standards viewpoint. This book is really good for that. But it bothers me that it takes the book so long to put it all together so that the reader has a complete view of what the process is all about.
If I were teaching a semester class with this book, I would would work around the organization in all sorts of ways. (An individual reader, working through the book on her own, might find the approach excellent.) From a teaching viewpoint, it this would be a great book to have as a secondary resource. The chapter on Images, for example, could be assigned as required reading when you were ready to teach images. The information is thorough, the explanation of alt attributes is helpful: it’s a good chapter.
It’s a good book for working on your own. For classroom use, it’s a good secondary resource.
Summary: Thorough grounding in the basics.
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