Book Review–Book of CSS3

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Posted by Andrew | Posted in book reviews, o'reilly | Posted on 22-05-2011

Book of CSS3  
by Peter Gasston
No Starch Press 
2011

I was provided access by O’Reilly Publishing to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Peter writes the book as if you already have experience using and understanding basic CSS concepts and HTML, so if you’re looking for a book to teach you CSS then you’ll want a different guide.  If however, you want a book that shows you some of the features of CSS3 you’re in the right place.  Peter has been writing about CSS3 for over 5 years and in this book he covers some features of CSS3.  Each chapter covers a new feature of CSS3, how to use it in clear and easy to understand code to follow, and which browsers currently support the feature.  Some of the features covered include media queries–which is useful in designing websites for both full screen and mobile use; using gradients with color backgrounds; and 3D transformation, such as having an image rotate around an axis.  The book is also accompanied by a website for future updates and an appendix with online resources to use, learn, and test CSS3.

I really like how this book is written and laid out.  Peter does a good job of explaining in simple, easy to understand language what’s going on with the feature being discussed and how to replicate the feature using the code provided in the examples.  He walks through it step by step, explaining it in simple easy to understand language–no deciphering of incomprehensible technical speak here.  While he can’t highlight every feature, Peter has chosen the ones that are likely to be most useful at this time (and are the most developed/accepted), such as media queries for mobile use, the transitions and animations, gradients, etc.  The appendixes are also helpful as one covers what features are supported by what browsers (even though this duplicates what’s at the end of the chapters it’s nice to have it one place) and an appendix on various web tools that help you generate code as well as test it.

Even though not all of the features can be used at the time, its still a useful book and a handy reference to have around.  Highly recommend it.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

Book Review–Javascript: The Definitive Guide the 6th Edition

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Posted by Andrew | Posted in book reviews, o'reilly | Posted on 15-05-2011

Javascript: The Definitive Guide the 6th Edition
by David Flanagan
O’Reilly Press  2011

I was provided access by O’Reilly Publishing to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

This is an updated edition to the classic reference book on Javascript to include new information on new standards (such as HTML5 and CSS3), conventions, and frameworks.   Although it is possible to learn Javascript from this book, its really meant more as a reference guide and an explanation of how and why Javascript works the way it does.  For example, the 1st chapter explains in some detail how Javascript works on the client side and how each of the following chapters will relate to this.  The book includes numerous examples of codes to illustrate the concepts and explains the concepts in a clear, easy to follow fashion that doesn’t require a degree in astrophysics to understand.

As I said it’s not really a book to learn Javascript from, for that I would recommend something like “Head First Javascript” (also by O’Reilly press.)  What I do really like about this book is that it is comprehensive in what is possible with Javascript.  While it may not cover the concept in depth, such as the chapter on Jquery, it does give a starting point to the concept.  I know it sounds odd, but I really liked the index.  It is completely through and easy to find the concept or word that I need to make something work correctly in whatever I’m writing.  It’s even better with the book because of the hyperlinks that take you right to the section.

My advice? Buy the ebook version, it’s much easier to search and to follow to specific links vs. trying to find the stuff in the print edition.  Even better, O’Reilly provides multiple formats of the book to suit your needs.  Overall, it’s a good handy reference to have around to answer questions and introduce new concepts.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program