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REVIEW: "The Ultimate HTML Reference", Ian Lloyd

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Han
    BKUHTMLR.RVW 20080927 The Ultimate HTML Reference , Ian Lloyd, 2008, 978-0-9802858-8-8, U$44.95/C$44.95 %A Ian Lloyd reference.sitepoint.com/html %C 48
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 24, 2008
      BKUHTMLR.RVW 20080927

      "The Ultimate HTML Reference", Ian Lloyd, 2008, 978-0-9802858-8-8,
      %A Ian Lloyd reference.sitepoint.com/html
      %C 48 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia 3066
      %D 2008
      %G 978-0-9802858-8-8 0-9802858-8-7
      %I Sitepoint Pty. Ltd.
      %O U$44.95/C$44.95 business@... sitepointpr@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0980285887/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0980285887/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience a- Tech 2 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 552 p.
      %T "The Ultimate HTML Reference"

      There is no introduction or preface in the book to indicate the
      intended audience. We jump right into chapter one, which is entitled
      "HTML Concepts." Apparently the most important HTML (HyperText Markup
      Language) notion is that of the doctype, because that is what is
      described first, and subsequently gets an additional five and a half
      pages. However, as the author admits, you can safely neglect to
      include the doctype and still have a perfectly valid Web page, and any
      Web authoring tool is going to insert one without asking for your
      input (as the page author) at all.

      I think we can safely say that the book is not an introduction to
      HTML. A number of fairly fundamental concepts about HTML are not
      mentioned in this preliminary chapter.

      The work is a reference. Chapters two through ten are lists of Web
      page elements, covering (respectively), structural, header, list, text
      format, form, image, table, frame, and miscellaneous entities.
      Elements are briefly described, and then relevant attributes may (or
      sometimes may not) be examined in following pages. This format can
      result in astonishing wastes of space, such as the sixteen pages that
      are devoted to the six levels of text headers, and the explanation,
      for each individual (and basically identical) level, that the align
      attribute can be used. (The align attribute is the only attribute
      mentioned in this regard, despite the fact that a number of others can
      be used with headers.) The element and attribute entries are
      differentiated by two almost indistinguishable icons.

      Almost all entries have some sample code listed. Often the example
      has a great deal of code or text, only a small portion of which is
      relevant to the entity under discussion. Relatively few of the
      samples are illustrated by the screen output, which reduces the value
      of the sample code even further.

      One area where the text excels is in the comparison of browser
      support. Each entry begins with a table of specification and support,
      and ends with a table noting compatibility. Where browsers differ in
      rendering, the work frequently does illustrate the actual output.
      Lloyd is also very good about dealing with the internals and oddities
      of HTML code rendering, although not so good at explaining them.

      This book is not the ultimate HTML reference. Musciano and Kennedy's
      "HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide" (cf. BKHTMLDG.RVW) provides far
      superior explanations of most elements. Musciano and Kennedy have
      also done a far superior job in terms of indexing: there is no index
      at all in Lloyd's work, only an alphabetical listing of elements, with
      a single page reference each.

      Ultimately, this *may* become the ultimate HTML reference. A great
      many books have companion Websites. In the case of most, this is a
      simple matter of errata and a few additional points. In the case of
      this work, the entire text seems to be available on the site (noted
      above), and a good deal more. Some of the Website material seems to
      have been intended for the book and forgotten. For example, there are
      references in the book to the importance of "Microformat," but the
      book doesn't actually tell you what "Microformat" is. The Website
      does. In addition, the Website is extensively hyperlinked, which
      makes it useful and quick to utilize. One is left with the impression
      that the Website is the actual work, and that the printed book is an
      afterthought. Overall, the print edition is a handy reference for a
      quick check, and a useful adjunct in a Web developer's library, but at
      the moment it isn't (as the dust jacket claims) "all the HTML
      knowledge you'll ever need."

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKUHTMLR.RVW 20080927

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      The cry echoed around the cavern and broke through mere rock, so
      great was the force behind it, melted mere mountains, screamed
      across the miles ... And in the sombre nursery Young Sam stopped
      crying and looked around, suddenly happy but puzzled, and said,
      to his despairing mother's surprise, `Co!'
      - `Thud!,' Terry Pratchett
      victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm blogs.securiteam.com/index.php/archives/author/p1/
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