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Review Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference

Discussion in 'Articles, Reviews and Interviews' started by tripwire45, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Author: Danny Goodman
    Format: Paperback: 1307 pages
    Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3rd edition (December 27, 2006)
    ISBN-10: 0596527403
    ISBN-13: 978-0596527402

    Review by James Pyles
    January 31, 2007

    Remember...this is the Definitive Reference, not the Definitive Guide. Yes both are O'Reilly series and are related ("Definitive" books are supposed to be crammed full of information) but there is also a critical difference. Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference is more like a dictionary or a small encyclopedia (although "small" is in the eye of the beholder) than a textbook or teaching guide. The book assumes that you are at least somewhat "html-literate". Don't pick it up if you've never designed a webpage before.

    The previous editions of this tome have been roaring successes so I'd expect that same from the current edition. As existing web standards continue to develop and new standards established, books like this will continue to evolve from first to second to third editions and beyond. XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and DOM are the de facto languages of the modern web and both Ajax and Web 2.0 are becoming increasingly popular. Also popular web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox keep evolving relative to those languages and standards, adding even more data to the mix. Danny Goodman even admits that writing this edition was far more difficult than he imagined. It isn't a matter of keeping the majority of the content from the second edition and just adding a few bits and pieces. Standards documentation is notoriously inconsistent and the author had to do a lot of the "legwork" himself to make sure his data was accurate.

    The vast majority of this book is a collection of alphabetical lists for each technology involved in Dynamic HTML. You'll find yourself using the table of contents and index a lot with a book like this. It's almost overwhelming in its completeness however not everything this book covers is between the covers. If you go to http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596527402/ and click on the Online Sections link, you'll gain access to an additional 221 pages of content suitable for download to your computer. The online data (in pdf format) includes Cross-Platform Compromises Adding Cascading Style Sheets to Documents, Changing Page Content and Styles, Adding Dynamic Positioning to Documents and much more.

    Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference is really a "one-stop shopping" reference for anyone involved in web development. It's not meant to teach you how to create webpages but it does contain all of the details you'll need as you are planning or designing a site. It's not that this information doesn't exist elsewhere, just that it's been all gathered together in one place by the author. Another terrific resource from this author and publisher.
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