Review of “Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery” Book Set

Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQueryAs a programmer always thirsty to learn new tech, I also love to get a refresher and learn something new in the process. That is why a couple of times a month I go to the local bookstore (Chapters here in Canada) and browse many of the new books in stock. Over the last few years especially, the computer book section has gotten a bit sparse. It makes sense, many of the languages are moving so quickly that by the time a book is written and sent to stores they are out of date. Not to mention we are in the age of the Internet, so why get a blocky pile of paper called a book?

But if you are like me, and like a good book once in awhile, you should check out the book set titled “Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery” from Jon Duckett. This set is hands down a fantastic collection to get! We will cover some of the wonderful merits of these books and discuss who might be a good target audience for them. Before we begin, just know that the CodersLexicon.com is never paid for any endorsements or reviews of books. If the book sucks, we will tell you it sucks!

Part 1: HTML/CSS Book

Ok, I have done web development for quite a long time and I consider myself an old hat at HTML and CSS. But you know with the advancement of HTML 5 and CSS3 it is easy to miss a few of the finer points. While this book isn’t going to rock your world with undiscovered gems it is still a very beautifully book with an excellent layout. It covers most of the bases including many of the HTML 5 controls and mentions a little about page design/layout. The book presents each topic in 1-2 pages and features some color coding snippets and examples. It takes some of the harder to understand topics, like floating elements or the canvas element, and breaks it down to the bare bones basics.

Where this book falls down a bit is its discussion on what is supported by the major browsers. Sure you can go to caniuse.com and check out the latest feature support, but sometimes when you are reading about an element or style it is nice to know where support lies for such a feature. Even if the browsers have already moved on to newer versions. It is nice to know that a feature isn’t even supported in IE 10 or under for instance.

Either way, this book isn’t something I would buy separately (and I have seen it sold separately) unless you are REALLY new to HTML and want to get started. I did rediscover a few tidbits that I had forgotten about but it is a great beginner book and I will recommend it as that. The better part of this set is the second book.

Part 2: JavaScript and jQuery

Again I have been doing quite a bit of JavaScript over the years but this book really cleared up my understanding of some topics that don’t get much attention these days… like bubbling of events. You will certainly learn a lot of cool tricks or round out your understanding of topics you may already know a bit from this book. The book again is just beautiful and has a great layout. You would think this book is for designers more than developers the way many of the pages are presented. However, each complex topic is broken down to the basics and explained well without being too wordy. This book contains a lot more code and each part is explained in very simple terms that makes the book easy to browse. It is also a book that doesn’t just talk about jQuery but also the basics behind JavaScript itself. You would be surprised how many developers only know JavaScript through the jQuery lens. This book dedicates a decent number of pages talking about the mechanics behind JavaScript.

Of course this book isn’t going to be as exhaustive as a book dedicated to JavaScript or to jQuery individually. However, if you want to pick up the basics quickly this is a great book. The only gripes I have about this book is that I wish it had even more. I browse through it and the next thing I know I am at the end. Also it doesn’t go into the more cryptic rules of JavaScript that may trip up even the more experienced developers. I am guessing that experienced developers is just not the target audience for this book set.

Who is this set for?

This book set is perfectly positioned for the beginner to intermediate web developer who probably has under 5 years of experience. If you are looking to get started with web development, there are going to be very few books that explains the tech as easy as this one does. I would put this set on the same level as the “Missing Manual” books you might have seen around the stores as well. But you will be hard pressed to find books that match this set in terms of beauty and good paper quality.

Conclusion

For the price you would pay for this set, they are definitely worth the money. I would also recommend the hardcover set instead of the paperback. The hardcover just feels a bit nicer and more durable. I bought these books after going to the book store a few times and found myself reading a chapter at a time while I was there. Now that I have browsed them several dozen times, I leave them around my house in places that a guest could see it and pick it up to browse. Maybe a coffee table or anywhere you may place magazines. A dev book with the likes of Vogue, Time and National Geographic? Yes, it can handle its own. While I thought perhaps I am a bit of a fan boy over this book, and was the only one, I then saw the number of positive reviews on Amazon and I realized I wasn’t alone. Get the book and send it to someone who is learning to do web dev. They will be sure to like it!

If you are interested in other books that are recommended by the Coders Lexicon, check out our list in the recommended reading section. Thanks for reading! 🙂

About The Author

Martyr2 is the founder of the Coders Lexicon and author of the new ebooks "The Programmers Idea Book" and "Diagnosing the Problem" . He has been a programmer for over 18 years. He works for a hot application development company in Vancouver Canada which service some of the biggest telecoms in the world. He has won numerous awards for his mentoring in software development and contributes regularly to several communities around the web. He is an expert in numerous languages including .NET, PHP, C/C++, Java and more.