Review: HTML5 and CSS3 Visual QuickStart Guide

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HTML5 & CSS3 Visual QuickStart Guide (7th Edition) by Elizabeth Castro and Bruce Hyslop is the latest edition in the Visual QuickStart Guide series about HTML and CSS. A couple of changes are immediately noticeable about the book. Elizabeth Castro now has a co-author after producing 6 editions of this book on her own. And the book reflects a change in design Peachpit is putting into all its VQS books with full color and a generally brighter appearance.

While Peachpit can take credit for the new look, I can see the influence of Bruce Hyslop here, too. Having read, dog-eared, and dreamed my way through the first six editions, I see a change in these books that I think Hyslop must be responsible for. There is a different tone, the sidebars are lengthier and pull in a considerable amount of information about HTML5 and CSS3 from blogs and articles by a number of web design experts.

There are 21 chapters taking over 500 pages. Some of the chapters are fairly massive. “Video, Audio, and Other Multimedia” gets a 38 page treatment, “Tables” on merits only 5 pages. The chapter “Defining Selectors” is particularly good. Here’s the full table of contents.

  1. Web Page Building Blocks
  2. Working with Web Page Files
  3. Basic HTML Structure
  4. Text
  5. Images
  6. Links
  7. CSS Building Blocks
  8. Working with Style Sheets
  9. Defining Selectors
  10. Formatting Text with Styles
  11. Layout with Styles
  12. Style Sheets for Mobile to Desktop
  13. Working with Web Fonts
  14. Enhancements with CSS3
  15. Lists
  16. Forms
  17. Video, Audio and Other Multimedia
  18. Tables
  19. Working with Scripts
  20. Testing and Debugging Web Pages
  21. Publishing Your Pages on the Web

If your budget only allows for one HTML5 and CSS3 book, this book is a terrific way to invest your money. I’ve reviewed HTML5 for Web Designers and Introducing HTML5 on this blog. I think this book is better than either of those books. That’s not saying the two books mentioned are not excellent books, because they are. I’ve read both of those books carefully and I still learned new and helpful things from HTML5 and CSS3. Plus, the VQS style is inherently easy to use with each topic detailed in small step-by-step bits. It’s so easy to find the one thing you need to know at any given moment with a VQS book.

Another advantage of this book over the others I mentioned is that it can get a beginner going but it also offers a lot of good information for the experienced HTML and CSS wonk. If you’re teaching either of these topics, this book is classroom gold.

Definitely recommended.

Summary: Complete information about HTML5 and CSS3.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of HTML5 and CSS3 (rating: 5 stars)

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