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HTML5 Cookbook

by Christopher Schmitt & Kyle Simpson

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HTML5 Cookbook by Christopher Schmitt & Kyle Simpson

HTML5 Cookbook by Christopher Schmitt & Kyle Simpson

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Bottom Line

If you are someone who learns by doing or you have problems with HTML5 development that you need to solve, this book could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s good for beginners who understand the basics of how to write HTML and want to learn HTML5 specifics. It’s also good for more intermediate developers who want to get an introduction to HTML5 advanced features.


  • Good way to get started with HTML5
  • Problem/solution format is a great way to learn
  • Lots of explanation for basic HTML5 features
  • Coverage of more advanced features


  • Advanced features don’t get as much coverage


  • Chapter 1: Fundamental Syntax and Semantics
    This chapter features recipes on the basics of HTML and building an HTML5 document (like DOCTYPE, charset, scripts, links, and the new HTML5 sectioning elements, plus more.
  • Chapter 2: Progressive Markup and Techniques
    Chapter 2 moves more into why you write your HTML the way you do. It discusses things like semantics, whether you use all caps for elements or skip quotes around attributes. It will help you understand browser support and give you tips for getting Internet Explorer to play nice with HTML5.
  • Chapter 3: Forms
    The forms chapter goes into why you should be using HTML5 form input fields (and which ones are best to use) as well as how to make your forms work in older browsers.
  • Chapter 4: Native Audio
    We’ve had sound in web pages for a long time, but now with HTML5 we have it natively, without a plugin and this chapter explains how to do it.
  • Chapter 5: Native Video
    Just like sound, we’ve had video embedding for a while, and this chapter gives you recipes to add it effectively, make it loop, manipulate the video inside a CANVAS element.
  • Chapter 6: Microdata and Custom Data
    This chapter goes into why and how you can use microdata to mark up your pages and custom data (data-* attributes) to define your content.
  • Chapter 7: Accessibility
    Accessibility is often seen as boring, but good websites give alternate text for images, define abbreviations, and label their forms. This chapter covers all that and more.
  • Chapter 8: Geolocation
    Chapter 8 shows you recipes for getting and using location data from your customers.
  • Chapter 9: <canvas>
    Learn to draw on CANVAS, use gradients and patterns, add external images, place text, and even animate your drawings.
  • Chapter 10: Advanced HTML5 JavaScript
    This chapter covers recipes for things like local storage, application caching, drag and drop, web workers, web sockets, the History API, and local files.
  • Appendix A: HTML5 Resources
    A list of web pages for learning more about HTML5.

Jennifer Kyrnin’s Review of HTML5 Cookbook by Christopher Schmitt & Kyle Simpson

This book is a great way to learn HTML5, especially if you learn best by doing. Rather than just telling you what you should learn, the HTML5 Cookbook gives you problems you will find in day-to-day work with HTML5 and then gives you step-by-step solutions to them. One of the things I really like about this book is that it provides both a “solution” and a ”discussion.” The solution tells you what to do to solve the problem, and then if you want to learn more you can read the discussion, but if you’re busy you can simply move on to your next task.

This book covers everything you need to get started using HTML5 and covers both the basics (like DOCTYPE and charset) and more advanced features (like GeoLocation and even web workers) so you can get a good overview of the language. And since the book is designed in a problem/solution format, you can read through the areas you don’t know about and skip over parts that are familiar.

Forms and Accessibility

This is one of the first books on HTML5 that I’ve seen that discusses forms almost immediately. As an avid iPad user, I appreciate this, as using HTML5 forms elements makes them much easier to fill out on the iPad and doesn’t affect browsers like IE 8 and lower at all. Plus, HTML5 forms, in browsers that support them, give much more accurate results as customers are encouraged and even forced to provide form answers in the formats requested.

Plus the book has a great section on making your pages more accessible. And you might be surprised at how easy it is to do. Accessibility is one of those things that most web developers ignore or hope that if they just put in alternate text on their images they’ll be covered. It was great to see a whole chapter on accessibility in HTML5.

More Advanced Features are Less Thorough

There are only a few recipes for audio and video and they don’t cover some of the more challenging parts (like cross-browser and older browser support). Things like local storage, drag and drop, web workers, web sockets, history, and local files each get just one recipe each. This is enough to get you a taste of these exciting new features in HTML5, but not to go into much detail. The nice thing is that every recipe offers a “See Also” section that you can get more information about all of these features.

I got this book in ebook format, which is handy so that I can review it on my iPad which makes it even easier to find the problem and solution I’m looking for. But it is also available in trade paperback.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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