Book Review: HTML5 for Web Designers

Jeremy Keith‘s HTML5 for Web Designers is a useful primer for those of us who are interested in learning what all the fuss is with HTML5. It boils down the 900-plus page HTML5 spec into its base elements. At under 100 pages, it’s a quick, easy read that hits all the high notes. It starts with a history and guides us through applying the technology today, all with a light, exciting tone that helps the information-packed book go down more easily.

HTML5 for Web Designers - Book Review

While A Book Apart‘s inaugural book is a couple years old now, I think it still holds a lot of value to people who are just getting into design, or who are trying to bring themselves back up-to-date with current techniques and trends.

Who is HTML5 for Web Designers For?

As its title suggests, HTML5 for Web Designers is aimed at web designers who want to learn more about HTML5, what it can do, and how they can start using it today.

I like the book’s tone in this regard. It gives us the facts, warts and all. HTML5 is an exciting step forward, and this causes a lot of writers to take an unnecessarily evangelistic tone, something Keith avoids. He’s excited about the subject, but not blinded about the potential shortcomings of its implementation.

What HTML5 for Web Designers Covers

HTML5 for Web Designers is divided into six chapters: A Brief History of the Markup, The Design of HTML5, Rich Media, Web Forms 2.0, Semantics, and Using HTML5 Today. The first two chapters give you a lot of background information. While it isn’t strictly necessary to know, I find it extremely helpful to understand the why of things in addition to the how.The next three chapters examine some of the big changes the new markup brings to the table. It’s technical, but not overly so. The book ends with a discussion of browser support and how to overcome and/or gracefully desegregate. There are also some additional resources gathered at the end.

What Works:

  • Jeremy Keith is the perfect choice for this book: he’s energetic, informative, and grounded in reality
  • The book is informative without getting too bogged down in minutia

What Doesn’t Work:

  • A lot has changed – especially when it comes to browser support for HTML5 –  since this book was published in 2010, and it could use a second edition

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a well written primer on HTML5, you’d be hard pressed to find one better than HTML5 for Web Designers. You cna read it in a couple of hours and come out with a new understanding and appreciation of this exciting new technology.

Buy a copy of HTML5 for Web Designers.

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