Introducing HTML5 Book Review

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Introducing HTML5 (Voices That Matter)

HTML5 is the developing new standard for HTML. It has received a lot of attention lately due to Apple providing some impressive demos of its capabilities. For the Apple iPad, HTML 5 is being offered as the alternative to Flash. As a result, a lot of hype and myths abound about HTML 5, its capabilities and browser support of it. I often read books on new and emerging technologies to keep my own skills sharp. Recently, one of these books was Introducing HTML5 (Voices That Matter) by Bruce Lawson and Remy Sharp.

New Structural Elements

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is seeking to keep their HTML skills current and wants to understand how to begin using HTML5 now. This book is very straightforward and deals with many of the myths surrounding HTML 5 head on. The authors give a decent and short overview of HTML5’s history and design goals before jumping into the major changes in HTML 5. The first chapter delves into the new structural elements in HTML5. In addition, the authors show how to use these elements now in most browsers (hint: IE requires Javascript).

The next chapter deals with marking up text with the new HTML5 structural elements. What I found particularly useful about this book is that the authors don’t simply deal with theory. They actually walk through a real-world example, in this case a blog and show how the HTML 5 elements can be used to mark up the individual posts with their headlines, meta data and comments. They also provide a decent case study of a news web site.

New Form Elements

From describing how to use the new structural elements the authors move on to the new form elements in HTML 5. This section deals with the several new input types in HTML5. It also discusses the new attributes for form elements and how HTML5 form validation works.

Audio and Video

From forms, they move on to the most discussed features of HTML5: audio and video. The authors do a very good job discussing the challenges facing HTML5 video, primarily the choice of video codecs and the support or lack of support for certain codecs in the various browsers. They also devote a fair amount of time to accessibility features and how to make multimedia accessible to everyone.

HTML5 Canvas

There is an entire chapter devoted to HTML5’s canvas feature. This feature allows a number of interesting effects to be created including animation. The canvas basically gives HTML5 a 2D drawing API which allows many of the things currently done with Flash to be done with HTML5. This chapter goes into pretty in-depth coverage of the canvas and its methods. There is also a decent sidebar that discusses ways to make the canvas work in IE.

Features for Web Applications

Finally, the book wraps up by discussing some of the features of HTML5 that are more useful for building web applications. These include web storage which the authors describe as “cookies on steroids” and the new offline capabilities of HTML 5. They also discuss the drag and drop features of HTML5 which anyone developing web applications will find useful.

This book is short and a very easy read. However, don’t let its small size turn you off. This one is full of useful examples and good discussion. Reading this book will leave you eager to start using HTML5. Fortunately, it will also leave you with practical advice on how to begin implementing HTML5 today. We give it 5 stars!

Publisher: Introducing HTML5
Amazon: Introducing HTML5

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