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Spring into HTML and CSS

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the brevity dept.

Programming 131

Simon P. Chappell writes "One of the perks of regular book reviewing is that, periodically, you'll check your mail box and discover a book waiting for you. A serendipitous surprise! I don't review all such books that I receive, but this one, Spring Into HTML and CSS by Molly E. Holzschlag, stood out from the crowd and I felt that I should share my thoughts on it with you." Read on for Chappell's brief review.

Who's it for?

This seems a very clearly targeted book. It's directed towards professionals that need to work with websites, but do not necessarily have a software development background.

The Good Stuff

The approach of the book reflects the targeted audience very well. The book starts by introducing a basic HTML page and then building upon it by showing how to add text and graphic content. The next couple of chapters then show a few more advanced subjects like forms and tables. The second half of the book then moves into explaining CSS, starting with some of the basic ground rules and then moving into applying colours, styles and borders to the HTML document. The last chapter is a cookbook of classic layouts, explained clearly and with code.

Even though I'm not a typical member of the intended audience, I found the organisation of the book very well thought-out and with a good sense of flow. Each chapter builds on the preceding one, with a small set of examples that are built up through the course of the book. Each chapter is broken into one or two page "chunks," as the book itself describes them. These chunks are small discrete explanations of aspects that the chapter covers. For example, in the chapter on images, the chunks cover topics like adding alternative text to an image, specifying its height and width and using an image in a hyperlink.

For me, the combination of the chunk organisation and Molly's writing makes the book. The chunked approach fits the needs of both learning a new subject without being overwhelmed and those that want more of a reference capability. This book is not written to be a reference work, but with everything being so well partitioned, it comes close enough to meet my need for a good reference work as well. Some authors tell you about their subject, but Molly really does seem to explain it to you. A subtle difference, but one that gives this book the edge.

As a book that aims to be practical, the examples were very well chosen. There are plenty of pieces of example markup and images of the resulting rendering. The markup is nicely laid out and the images are large enough to show the effect, but not so large as to interrupt the flow of the explanation. The other nice thing about the examples, especially in the CSS section of the book, is that the examples are consistent. The same portion of text, from The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe, is used throughout. I found that this helped clearly show the difference between the effects being taught. The text stayed the same, only the layout changed with the new style being shown. Very effective.

Groan!

My first inclination when I saw that the book was part of a new series called "Spring into ..." was to groan and wonder when they were planning to fire the marketing non-genius that dreamt up such a bad title! Thankfully the contents more than make up for the corny name. The only other thing that bugged me was the inclusion of two appendixes with HTML and CSS reference information in them. The references are annotated very well with practical considerations, so I'm only going to knock off half a point from what would otherwise have been a perfect ten.


You can purchase Spring into HTML and CSS from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

cancel ×

131 comments

whoops (0, Offtopic)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816342)

thought this was another apple story...

(first post)

Break (0)

IdleByte (879930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816357)

Thanks Bill for that stunning report, We will return to our scheduled programming after these commercial announcements.

HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816360)

Maybe the Slashdot editors should take some advice [alistapart.com] here.

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816536)

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816978)

Good to see pudge addressing this, but it's only because of all of the past whining that this started...

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (4, Informative)

warriorpostman (648010) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816846)

The alistapart web site is EXCELLENT. It's a good demo of how to take inline-style-bloated markup and convert it into something much more streamlined.


Unfortunately, in the web projects that I work on, I see nested tables ALL over the place, and it's like pulling teeth to get some of my co-workers to stop inlining style everywhere, and nesting tables instead of retooling the layout using CSS.

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (3, Interesting)

podperson (592944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817421)

After tooling up a dynamic site from scratch to use CSS to do simple stuff like boxes and then running it past folks for usability and layout -- I ended up re-implementing it as a bunch of nested tables.

Worked on more browsers.
Was far simpler to work with.
Looked better.

Sad.

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (1, Insightful)

cail75 (892162) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817631)

Worked on more browsers.
Was far simpler to work with.
Looked better.
Then you did it wrong... Try Again.

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (3, Insightful)

timothyf (615594) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818364)

I'd say it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. There are still things that you can do with tables that you can't quite do with CSS, though the number of these are dwindling. IMHO, if you have to use a table for layout, it should be the most minimal table you can use, with the rest of the presentation loaded from CSS. Handwaving about CSS as a panacea doesn't solve anyone's problems.

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (1)

eForRealyo (860490) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818518)

There are still things that you can do with tables that you can't quite do with CSS, though the number of these are dwindling.
And what is 1 example of 1 thing that you are referring to?

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (4, Informative)

timothyf (615594) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818688)

Try to mimic the behavior of valign="bottom" on a td tag using CSS with a container of variable height. To the best of my knowledge, it can't be done without tables (or by cheating and applying a display: table-cell style rule to the container, which is not supported by IE) or using a Javascript hack. Complex grid-like layouts, where your content doesn't fit into a nice 3 column layout with a header and footer--basically anything where you've got to have things align with each other vertically--require tables to work. Tables will also 'give' when the content would normally overflow a fixed-width div. Granted, most sites don't need it, but that doesn't mean that tables for layout can't be an acceptable solution under some situations. See also http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2004/05/15/table s_oh_th/index.php [mezzoblue.com] For the record, I advocate using CSS over Layout Tables whenever possible, but I'm not dogmatic about it either.

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817790)

Ah, but the answer is staring you in the face. For each nested table your co-workers use, extract one of their teeth. For each FONT tag, kill them. Should solve the problem in no time! (although your workload may see a slight increase)

Hey, at least they're not using Frontpage..

Re:HTML and CSS? On Slashdot? (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818392)

although your workload may see a slight increase

With fewer nested tables and FONT tags, I don't think it'll increase.

This is a bad thing? (5, Interesting)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816370)

The only other thing that bugged me was the inclusion of two appendixes with HTML and CSS reference information in them.
I fail to understand how this is a bad thing. Could someone explain?

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816390)

I would say it were better if they had been included instead of not.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1, Funny)

TheMotedOne (753275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816396)

In Soviet Russia, the appendixes write you.

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816862)

And old people from Korea spell the word "appendices" correctly.

--your friendly neighborhood spelling fascist. (Remember, we're watching you)

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816416)

The HTML [w3.org] and CSS [w3.org] specifications make excellent reference material. I don't need an incomplete (and error prone) copy of the original sources on dead trees. Especially if I'm paying for it.

Re:This is a bad thing? (2, Interesting)

suresk (816773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816424)

Presumably because this sort of information (updated, too) can be easily found online. Sticking it in a book only serves to make the book look thicker and perhaps justify a higher price.

I don't really care though, if the contents of the book alone are good, no need to knock it for including reference information.

Re:This is a bad thing? (3, Insightful)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816435)

Why pay good money for a dead tree-version of something that will soon be obsolete when it is available through the Internet, and alway up to date?

Re:This is a bad thing? (4, Insightful)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816922)

Because not everyone wants to read documentation on a screen. Some people like to have a book open next to their keyboard, some want something they can read on the train, in a plane, etc. Dead trees also have no need for power adaptors or batteries. Neither dead trees nor e-docs are better than the other, they're just different.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

SeventyBang (858415) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817290)

I tote Instant HTML [addall.com] around with me when I need a reference. There may be better books, but it's got what I need. It's for 4.0 and while there are changes I don't have with me, it gets me by when I need it. And while it doesn't list Opera or Firefox, it's got charts for the various tags, showing which ones are supported in IE and NN - and in which versions. Again, it's not perfect, but if I see something across the board for IE, I figure it must be IE-only and I know to avoid it. Besides, I'm willing to wager the HTML in use is restricted to a pretty significant set of tags - not much esoterica.

I buy my own books. Then they are mine to do with what I please and go with me as I move along. So I choose to buy what I like.

I got it five years ago (original print date 1997, reprint 2000) so I've gotten my money's worth. As far as killing trees, I figure this is part of a tree I saved from one of the annual forest fires in the Sierras.

I figure most of the publishers trying to come out with new flavors of HTML books are doing so for a lack of imagination & creativity for other books which should be published. There are tons of those. The problem is that most of of the people who work on publishing staffs would not be customers of their own products if they didn't work there. And that's why so many topics are overlooked or misunderstood.

Re:This is a bad thing? (0, Troll)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816977)

"dead-tree version" = available to be paged through without taking up monitor space.

"soon be obsolete"? Define soon. Maybe there are projects waiting that could be up and earning income within a couple days of receiving this information formatted in easy to digest "chunks" - do you promise it will be online as-is, and if so, when?

"alway (sic) up to date"? please...

The only thing worse is that some lazy butt bunch of mods dropped "insightful" points on your low-uid self.

The only thing missing is the dread "tt" tag...

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817174)

Why not just use a printer to print out the latest CSS or HTML reference sheets? Then you don't have it bound to an annoying stiff spined book (at the end of the book to boot) that wants to stay closed when you want it to stay open.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

P0ldy (848358) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817086)

Because the person might save a few hundred bucks when, after finishing the book, they realize FrontPage isn't necessary?

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816745)


Obviously because of the inclusion of appendixes instead of appendices.

Who's it for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816377)

Well from your review it seems that its for people who want to learn to 'program' html.

Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (2, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816381)

Just knowing HTML and CSS does not result in web pages that are easy to use and accessible. That is something that can't be learned directly from a book. It takes a certain intuition to be able to design web pages that truly perform.

Anyways, does this book cover XHTML at all? And what about CSS 2.0? I get the feeling from this review that this book is somewhat outdated, and does not cover such topics. I hope I am wrong in such assumptions.

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816421)

your right,but designing it so that presentation is seperate from design means that some one can easily come and fix your shitty ass site.

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (1)

smackjer (697558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816450)

Presentation and Design are really the same thing. I think what you mean is separating Structure from Design.

Re:Knowing HTML (1)

Yobgod Ababua (68687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816489)

I think what he actually meant was separating _content_ and design. Structure is generally part of the design (CSS) rather than the content (HTML).

Re:Knowing HTML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816510)

you content, however, should be semantically structured using valid markup and styled(designed) using CSS. he meant what he meant.

Re:Knowing HTML (2, Informative)

smackjer (697558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816892)

No, structure is defined in the HTML (or XHTML). CSS defines how you present that structure (the design).

Content is independent of both structure and design.

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816540)

Design = Structure + Presentation.

dude, my ass site is NOT shitty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816728)

you insensitive clod.

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (3, Interesting)

telbij (465356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816602)

Just knowing HTML and CSS does not result in web pages that are easy to use and accessible.

Of course not, it takes a professional to know all that stuff. This book is not for a professional, in fact the reviewer mentions that right off the top.

Anyways, does this book cover XHTML at all? And what about CSS 2.0?

Seeing as how Molly Holzschlag is a member of the Web Standards Project [webstandards.org] , I'd assume she's presenting up-to-date information.

That said, I remember Molly's articles in Web Design Techniques back in the day, and found them to be very fluffy and a bit self-important. Hopefully she doesn't come off that way in a how-to book such as this.

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816757)

Intuition is good and will get you far.
You should also be familiar with authoritative resources [w3.org] for issues like accessibility.
You can learn HTML [w3schools.com] , CSS [w3schools.com] and much more on line.
If you choose to go-it-alone, you might wind up as a clueless website author. [evpc.biz]

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (3, Informative)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816850)

According to the Amazon description [amazon.co.uk] , this book covers HTML 4, XHTML 1, and CSS 2.1...

Re:Knowing HTML + CSS != Good Web Design (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817349)

Just knowing HTML and CSS does not result in web pages that are easy to use and accessible. That is something that can't be learned directly from a book. It takes a certain intuition to be able to design web pages that truly perform.

The Slashdot article I read was about a book called "Spring into HTML and CSS". It said *nothing* about web design. Don't know what the book was called in your universe, though.

Better Web Standards Book (5, Informative)

cruppel (603595) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816388)

I reccommend http://www.zeldman.com/ [zeldman.com] for all your web-standards reading. He's even re-worked Slashdot [alistapart.com] using current web standards.

Re:Better Web Standards Book (1)

rsrsharma (769904) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816640)

Read the author line for the article. That was written by Daniel M. Frommelt. Zeldman is just one of the editors for ALA and writes once in a while, he doesn't write everything there.

WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12817192)

Zelldman writes EVERYTHING ever about web standards. I propose we disband the W3C and replace it with the ZC, baby!

--
Zeldmann fanboy and proud of it!

Re:Better Web Standards Book (1)

Black.Shuck (704538) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817264)

All I can say is Slashdot must be absolutely minted.

I remember reading that article when it was published almost two years ago, and Slashdot still haven't embraced web-standards, even for alleviating their bandwidth bills -- a cool $3,600 a-year saving if they followed that article.

Re:Better Web Standards Book (4, Insightful)

matt me (850665) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817403)

zeldman.com very cool-looking site, beautiful beige and green tones, but just like alistapart.com the styling falls short because of it's use of a fixed pixel width - in a large resolution (esp wide screen of dual head), it's width capped at around 800 pixels means it looks stupid as a narrow bar down the centre of your screen, wasting useful space, and on a narrow resolution, you have to scroll horizontally. worse still if you increase the relative text size, the width doesn't grow, so you end up with very few words visible despite all the avaliable space...

It's about time... (5, Funny)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816395)

Thank goodness someone wrote a book about HTML and CSS development. There aren't enough free sites on the internet to teach you this stuff already.

The best place to advertise this is probably /. too. Most of the readers here are probably novice developers with only basic knowledge of HTML if any at all.

Re:It's about time... (5, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816618)

To be fair, it's not easy writing HTML/CSS on the screen while having a million tabs/windows open trying to hunt down the information you need.

Reference material sometimes just needs to be held in your hand. Not to mention that /. readers will likely promote this book to their in-laws who beg to know how to write/design tiny, no purpose websites. It will save a few weekends for a bunch of us.

Re:It's about time... (3, Insightful)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816739)

To be fair, it's not easy writing HTML/CSS on the screen while having a million tabs/windows open trying to hunt down the information you need.

I can probably google what I need and find an example before I'd find it in the book with the index. I know what you mean about having a reference handy, but it seems that since Google, I haven't touched a single one of my reference books. All that LISP book does is collect dust these days. I don't even want to think about what might be growing on my Computer Architecture book.

Re:It's about time... (1)

PlancksCnst (877593) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818330)

Can you send that LISP book to me, then? I've been meaning to get around to learning. :-)

Re:It's about time... (1)

porkface (562081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817659)

I can't imagine it would be easy doing anything with a million tabs/windows open.

I too think this book is way off target for the slashdot audience.

Re:It's about time... (1)

ek_adam (442283) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817778)

That's when dual monitors come in handy.

Re:It's about time... (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816767)

I would have to agree, there is no need to read a book on the subject, there is a huge swath of information on HTML, CSS, XHTML, etc. on the internet already. Just a month ago, I decided to learn XHTML+CSS, it was pretty easy with all the great tutorial sites out there. For me, it's alot easier to learn something by actually doing it and learning through trial and error then reading a book.

XHTML [w3.org]
CSS [w3.org]

Re:It's about time... (1)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816797)

I am a "novice developer with only basic knowledge of HTML if any at all.", you insensitive clod!
Happy Troll Tuesday!

My Favorite HTML/CSS Book (5, Interesting)

smackjer (697558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816407)

Designing with Web Standards [amazon.com] by Jeffrey Zeldman. By far the most useful and informative book on the subject that I've seen. A good web designer needs to know the "why", not just the "how".

Re:My Favorite HTML/CSS Book (2, Informative)

faust2097 (137829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816895)

Zeldman's book is good if you need to convince your boss that it's a good idea but it's alittle short on the "meat" part. He's a great writer though.

If you're really interested in learning about CSS it's best to go straight to the source [literally, these guys helped develop the spec] and get Bert Bos and Hakon Lie's Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web [amazon.com] , it's by far to most detailed and even goes into the design reasons behind a lot of the decisions made when CSS was developed. There's a new version out now, but if you've got another source about browser support and you ignore the irrelevant WebFonts and Aural stylesheet section the second edition is pretty much the same book but probably loads cheaper.

This book and the O'reilly XHTML book are the most useful technical references I've ever used.

Re:My Favorite HTML/CSS Book (1)

dhaines (323241) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818233)

Seemed like 1/2 of Zeldman's book was indeed a long-winded web standards sales pitch. If you're already sold and want to get to work, a more down-and-dirty, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of book is Dan Cederholm's Web Standards Solutions [powells.com] . It's not as entertaining as Zeldman, but I found it much more useful. I've been very happy using Cederhom's book with O'Reilly's XHTML [powells.com] and CSS [powells.com] (by Eric Meyer) guides.

Re:My Favorite HTML/CSS Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816914)

Designing with Web Standards is good if:
a) You already know enough (X)HTML and CSS to get by.
and/or
b) You're a Dreamweaver jockey.

I have a good programming background but I don't know much (X)HTML nor CSS. The book sorely lacks in providing good syntax rules. I walked away from his CSS chapter thinking "Fine, fine, CSS is great, CSS is good, let us thank CSS for our food, but for Christ's sake, give some damn examples and syntax explainations!"

Zeldman spends 90% of the book attacking designs that aren't standards compliant without really telling you how to follow the standards he loves so much.

I much prefer (1)

AEton (654737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817112)

Building Accessible Websites [joeclark.org] by Joe Clark. By far the most insightful and interestnig book on the subject that I've seen. A great designer needs to keep all the "who" in mind - not just the "why" or "how".

warning: goatse pic in linked document (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12817415)

disgusting.

It's the real book cover, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12817522)

Amazon.com confirms it. Who knew?

Re:My Favorite HTML/CSS Book (1)

blamanj (253811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817156)

Oh man. One look at that cover and I thought, "Written by the Unibomber." Not a good sales tool, folks. Maybe a simple abstract pattern on the next edition?

Re:My Favorite HTML/CSS Book (1)

Enrico Pulatzo (536675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817645)

I own Zeldman's book, and it's more or less a compilation of several A List Apart articles tied together with some questionable reasoning about XML.

title originality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816412)

Isn't the title (an the cover graphic) a bit derivative of http://diveintomark.org/ [diveintomark.org] , and his corpus of Dive Into books and articles?

Wait... (5, Insightful)

Giant Space Hamster (157354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816442)

The only other thing that bugged me was the inclusion of two appendixes with HTML and CSS reference information in them. The references are annotated very well with practical considerations, so I'm only going to knock off half a point from what would otherwise have been a perfect ten.

Wait, why is including reference material a negative? Isn't that an advantage to the user, all relevant information collected in one place?

Re:Wait... (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816630)

It is often an effort to fatten up a book, without providing benefit, but not being hard to do. If it just repeats information that is readily available in the book, then it is a waste. If it has lots of information that isn't in the book, the why didn't the author want to talk about it?

It can be done well, or it can be done poorly. In a book on a foreign language, I expect a dictionary section at the back, even though all the foreign word are already scattered throughout the book.

OTOH, a math book which has an appendix dedicated to ten pages each of digits of the ten most important trancendental numbers, well, that has no point, and is probably disjoint from the rest of the book. Another example would be copying man pages directly into the back of the book. I can just use "man," or read the information in the book, don't need it duplicated. I could print out the man pages myself if I need them as dead trees.

Re:Wait... (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817321)

Wait, why is including reference material a negative? Isn't that an advantage to the user...?

Opportunity cost [wikipedia.org] .

Sounds very basic... (4, Informative)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816467)

Based on the review, it sounds like this covers topics so basic; one would be better served by a resource such as w3schools [w3schools.com] , or something along those lines. I recommend the Zen of CSS Design [amazon.com] , which I found to be a great read for those who have gotten the basics down.

Hmmmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816487)

I guess Im not a regular book reviewer, because the book I thought I was getting ended up being a bomb.

She's got her hand on his thigh again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816533)

You really do have to stop giving such
great reviews just because she likes you
so much - people will talk...

ok you can make a web page now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816539)

and you have no idea about the basics of design.. just like the author of the book.. ugh.. that web page hidious.. the only thing worst is a thai page with bad midi in the background..

It's about time (4, Funny)

ChrisF79 (829953) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816545)

(begin sarcasm)
Wow, it's about time someone wrote a book about HTML and CSS. I went to the Barnes and Noble and couldn't find a single one on the subject. Are they trying to keep this stuff a secret?
(end sarcasm)

Re:It's about time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12817047)

(begin sarcasm)
Wow, it's about time someone wrote a book about HTML and CSS. I went to the Barnes and Noble and couldn't find a single one on the subject. Are they trying to keep this stuff a secret?
(end sarcasm)


Wow, about time someone finally decided to tag very hidden sarcasms. The joe-user filled population of slashdot wouldn't have noticed it!

Re:It's about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12817445)

(/irrelevant)(/unfunny)

You forgot to close two tags. I fixed it for you. You're welcome.

Targeted? (2, Funny)

jkliff (580262) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816549)

This seems a very clearly targeted book. It's directed towards professionals that need to work with websites, but do not necessarily have a software development background. And how is this supposed to be "clearly targeted"?

Stood Out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816553)

I don't review all such books that I receive, but this one, Spring Into HTML and CSS by Molly E. Holzschlag, stood out from the crowd and I felt that I should share my thoughts on it with you.

Why, was the bookmark they included a check?

The problem with big words (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816581)

The problem with big words like "serendipitous" is that if you use them without knowing what they mean, you just sound foolish. Serendipity refers to making fortunate discoveries by accident; finding a package in your mailbox is not serendipitous - that's precisely where you'd expect to find such a package.

Re:The problem with big words (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816945)

I believe that the author was refering to the contents of the package, i.e. a book.

Now who woulda thunk that a book might end up in a package sent to a book reviewer? Clearly the universe works in mysterious ways.

KFG

how the universe works (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817329)

Clearly the universe works in mysterious ways.

What's more, mysteriously the universe works in clear ways.

-kgj

Re:The problem with big words (1)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817222)

And saying something that is clearly (contextually) wrong for the purposes of humor has no absolutely no precedent in language.

He couldn't have possibly meant it humorously.

Re:The problem with big words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12818071)

I might have believed that it was meant humorously if it was actually funny. But it wasn't. At all. Not even slightly. (cf adding an exclamation mark does not make a phrase into a quip, much less a joke).

Re:uh.... (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12818247)


What if it's an unexpected package? From an estate attorney? That could easily be a serendipitous event.

Non-soul-sucking link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816610)

to Powell's [powells.com] .

Hey, when you are done.... (2, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816611)

Hey, when you are done with the book, how about you send it on to someone [mailto] who needs it?

Izzat So? (2, Interesting)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816644)

Usually I dislike details about a reviewer being included in a review, but:

Even though I'm not a typical member of the intended audience, I found the organisation of the book very well thought-out and with a good sense of flow.

The reviewer doesn't say what his background is, so it's hard to judge his claim not to be a typical member of the intended audience. Claiming it without some explanation makes me wonder what he means, and even why I should read on.

Perhaps he found the organization of the book well thought out because he's atypical?

Spring? (1)

smileyy (11535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816705)

I can dependency-inject my CSS files? Finally!

HUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816766)

What the heck does serendipitous mean? Anyone?

Re:HUH (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816868)

What the heck does serendipitous mean?

Not what the author seems to think it means. I hope he doesn't use that word a lot.

KFG

Re:HUH (2, Informative)

weslocke (240386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817280)

Main Entry: serendipitous
Pronunciation: "ser-&n-'di-p&-t&s
Function: adjective
: obtained or characterized by serendipity
- serendipitously adverb

Main Entry: serendipity
Pronunciation: -'di-p&-tE
Function: noun
Etymology: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip
: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for


Therefore it was a nice surprise finding it in the mailbox since he hadn't requested it from the publisher.

His use was just fine.

webster.com, people.

Re:HUH (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817842)

He is a book reviewer. He seeks books to review. Publishers send them to him because he is a book reviewer.

The relationship is causal and happens often enough, by the author's own admission (since this is the way things work, most books for review arrive unsolicited), that the author expects it to happen.

If I jump out of an airplane the arrival of the ground may surprise me, but it is not serendipitous. The fortuitous arrival of a haytruck right underneath me at just the right time would be.

Inheriting a million bucks from a relative you've never heard of is simply good fortune. Inheriting a million bucks from a relative you've never heard of just in time to save you from forclosure on your house is serendipitous because it a valuable and agreeable thing.

A better way of phrasing "not sought for" would be "aquired by chance and the defintion would be made better by appending the phrase "while seeking something else."

http://livingheritage.org/three_princes.htm [livingheritage.org]

The only way a book reviewer receiving an unsolicited book in the mail could become serendipitous is if the arrival of that particular book was more valuable and/or agreeable for some reason noncausally connected to his merely being a book reviewer than some other book would be.

Like if a publisher had just asked him for a review of an HTML book for executives. An unsought for coincidence that nonetheless gives the feeling that there is some mysterious causal relationship at work.

Serendipity is entirely defined by the context in which the finding of the valuable thing occurs.

KFG

Slipping review quality here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816791)

One of the perks of regular book reviewing is that, periodically, you'll check your mail box and discover a book waiting for you. A serendipitous surprise!

Okay, so we start with a "hey, look how cool I am receiving free books in the mail."

I don't review all such books that I receive, but this one, Spring Into HTML and CSS by Molly E. Holzschlag, stood out from the crowd and I felt that I should share my thoughts on it with you.

And continue with "if I don't review them all, I'm seen as objective, but still get to keep all the books".

Anyway thanks for sharing "your thoughts" about the book, but, erm, that's not really what a proper review is about.

Unqualified (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816810)

The author is not qualified to review this book, especially not for a savvy audience like that of Slashdot. A 'don't worry I'm only a beginner too' review (check his blog [simonpeter.com] ) can seem very comforting and empathic, but Simon Chappell clearly cannot even speculate on the completeness of this work, nor it's adherence to, and promotion of, best practices.

I, Barry Norton... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12817063)

...am a FUCKIN SNOB!

My personal favourite reference (2, Informative)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816860)

Index dot CSS [blooberry.com]
Index dot HTML [blooberry.com]

Just the facts for me...

Save Some Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12816897)

Save more than $3 by ordering here: Spring into HTML and CSS [amazon.com]

quirksmode.org (4, Informative)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12816989)

http://quirksmode.org/ [quirksmode.org]

Amazing site, this guy has done some painstaking cross-browser testing for JavaScript, CSS and HTML and come back with compatibility tables and recommendations for everything from the basic box model (how browsers managed to fuck this up i don't know) to robust JavaScript that doesn't use crappy "if browser equals X" statements. Working with HTML/CSS and JS is highly painful if your project specifies that it must look _good_ in all browsers, so any tricks you can learn will save your life.

Re:quirksmode.org (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817588)

maybe that needs a www.

Re:quirksmode.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12818018)

fixed [quirksmode.org]

Molly is Cool (2, Informative)

airship (242862) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817206)

Molly is an amazing writer, and she really knows web design. When I got busy and couldn't update my book "Special Edition: Using HTML 4", Molly took it over and reworked it from the ground up into a much better book. And she's not only a great web designer and writer, she's a fantastic human being. Check out her site at http://www.molly.com/ [molly.com]

Simon P. Chappell??? (1)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817226)

Holy let-down Batman! I accually thought that David Chappell commented.

Besides the obligatory... (1)

contemplation1 (713739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817303)

.."I'm Rick James, bitch!" I would also like to include that reviews of 'beginners' type books on slashdot can really be helpful to those of us who haven't been able to geek out in particular areas of tech. I'll pick it up.

To all of the people commenting on "serendipitous" (1)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12817453)

Word meaning does not have to be straight-forward and correct for it to make sense in a sentence. Most of humor is using language or meaning in a way that is not quite correct. (sarcasm, irony, etc.)

For example, if I say "you have a good face for radio", the humor is that the real meaning of the sentence is not the same as the straightforward meaning.

It was funny. Laugh.
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