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Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

I'm sure that there are times when you visit your favorite bookstore to look at new books on your favorite .NET topics

I'm sure that there are times when you visit your favorite bookstore to look at new books on your favorite .NET topics and you cringe at the weighty tomes sitting on the shelves. You open these books and page upon page of continuous print swims before your eyes, but you figure it's important so you plop down your hard-earned money, take the book home, begin to read it in you rocker recliner and fall asleep.

O'Reilly has developed a new series of books called Head First that .NET developers would be wise to take a look at. It uses a markedly different approach to important topics such as Web design, object-oriented programming, and design patterns. The subtitle of the particular book that we are reviewing here is "A Brain Friendly Guide to HTML & CSS."

Here are some of the learning principles used in the Head First approach:

  • Make it visual
  • Put the words in or near the graphics
  • Use a conversational, personalized style
  • Get the learner to think more deeply
  • Keep the reader's attention
  • Touch his or her emotions
The authors believe that your brain craves novelty and they offer the following suggestions on how to make your brain work better and be successful while using this book:
  • Slow down - the more you understand the less you have to memorize
  • Read "there are no dumb questions"
  • Drink water
  • Talk about it out loud
  • Create something
You'll find that this book is quite visual and colorful. It's also chock full of examples that let you sharpen your skills. The goal is to learn, understand, and remember how to create Web pages using the best techniques and most recent standards. In fact the authors insist that you do all the exercises in the book. They believe that to learn you need increased brain activity - especially different kinds of brain activity and this can be done by reading the chapters and completing the exercises.

There are 15 chapters in the book. It begins with HTML, XHTML and CSS. It then goes on to cover advanced Web construction, professional designs, tables, interactive elements, and leftovers. The book advocates a clean separation between the structure of your pages and the presentation of your pages. The authors also state that the redundancy found in the book is intentional and important.

While I can't address the other books in this series, I'd say that this book accomplishes its goals. People used to a traditional way of learning won't enjoy it unless they approach it with an open mind. It really does make you think differently. I do feel though that it spends too much time on HTML. I would have liked more discussion of CSS and professional design methodologies and I hope that a second volume might go into more detail in these areas. (See Book Image)

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

Authors: Eric Freeman, Elisabeth A. Freeman
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: December 2005
Publisher: O’Reilly & Associates, Inc.
ISBN: 059610197X List Price: $14.95
Development Tool: Visual Studio.NET 2005
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Language: HTML/XHTML/CSS
Reviewer: Steven Mandel

More Stories By Steven Mandel

Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years designing databases using Microsoft Access and SQL Server. He has developed Web and Windows applications using VB.NET and has written numerous articles and reviews about ASP.NET and VB.NET.

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