As someone with a long history in development, I’m comfortable with the traditional format used in nearly every technical book. Most of them are extremely dense with copy and just packed with information. HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett is packed with a remarkable amount of information as well, but the visual presentation is groundbreaking and will change our expectation of technical books forever.
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett: ★★★★★
Our Ratings System:
★★★★★ Run, don’t walk, to buy it
This book takes an old topic and gives it a fresh new face. The format is perfectly suited for designers. It combines visual learning elements (that at times border on typographic artwork) with brief and focused explanatory copy. If you’re trying to learn code for the first time, this book will be a remarkable companion. And as someone who coaches many designers moving into the development world, I’ve found a new go-to manual.
Duckett gracefully guides you into writing HTML, explaining its purpose tag by tag and providing a clear visual reference. You could easily use this book to dive into HTML for the first time, or simply as a visual reference for HTML tags as you get into coding.
Next the author introduces you to CSS, how it works and how it works with HTML. This section is quickly followed by a series of recipes that address the layout and formatting of many of the most common content elements.
If I were to offer up one shortcoming, it would be that the book lacks the depth of detail needed to get into more complex layouts. And to be fair, that’s a bit beyond this book’s purpose. A natural followup to this book would be the classic CSS Mastery by Andy Budd.
Bottom line, if you’re relatively new to HTML and CSS, this book will be an invaluable asset. I definitely expect to see it showing up as required reading in the design departments of many universities.