HTML Complete

by Joe Gillespie — Jul 1, 2003

I have to admit, I didn't have high expectations of this book when I first picked it up. It was big, some 980 pages, cheap, had that pulpy 'dime novel' smell about it and no author's name to give it credence.

Inside, I was pleasantly surprised. It is big because it covers a lot of ground. It is cheap for the simple reason that it is printed on cheap paper and looks like it uses freebie clip art for the illustrations. The fact that it has no author's name is because many people were involved in writing it.

It is called HTML Complete and it is. I would be hard pressed to find anything of any significance about HTML that is missing. It starts at the very beginning and is written in a chatty way that won't alienate a complete novice. If you are just starting out in Web design and are put off by the prices of some such books, this is a very good buy. It explains the very basics about how the Web works, what tools you will need and gives clear, step-by-step instructions to get up and running with no more than a simple text editor.

As you progress, it introduces more advanced HTML and XHTML concepts and brings up the issues involved with navigation, Web graphics, layout, forms and getting your pages to work across multiple browsers. Further in still, it explains page formatting using Cascading Style Sheets, Dynamic HTML and gives an introduction to rich media techniques like Flash and QuickTime. If that's not enough, it goes into the fundamentals of XML and paints a picture of where the Web is going and which technologies are going to prevail.

Finally, there are extensive appendices covering HTML and XHTML elements and attributes and an excellent CSS reference. Sybex have to be highly commended for producing such a rich resource at an affordable price. The cheap binding and paper will probably disintegrate after a while but frankly, with the ever-quickening pace of Web technologies, it doesn't need to last very long at all.

HTML Complete
Publisher Sybex
ISBN 0-7821-4209-5
Price $24.99 (Amazon $17.49)
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