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HTML5 and CSS3 for the Real World by Goldstein, Lazaris, and Weyl

Good Starter Book for Learning HTML5 and CSS3

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


HTML5 and CSS3 for the Real World by Alexis Goldstein, Louis Lazaris, and Estelle Weyl

HTML5 and CSS3 for the Real World by Alexis Goldstein, Louis Lazaris, and Estelle Weyl

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Bottom Line

This is a great book for designers who want to learn a little bit about HTML5 and CSS3. It’s very easy to read and the sidebars and pictures help make the book easier to follow. There is a lot of information covered in the book, and not all of it is in a lot of depth. But if all you need is an update to find out what’s new in HTML5 and CSS3 so that you can update your websites, this is a good choice.

I don’t recommend this book for beginners who want to learn HTML, as it assumes that you already have some knowledge of HTML and building websites. The idea is that designers in the real world create web pages and then continue to update them, and this book will help you update your sites and those of your customers to use more modern technology: HTML5 and CSS3.


  • Clearly explains basics of HTML5
  • Includes a lot of accessibility information
  • Good suggestions for handling older browsers


  • A lot of topics are covered very briefly—the book is only 327 pages of content
  • Many HTML5 elements are ignored


  • Chapter 1 explains what HTML5, CSS3, and “the real world” mean for the purposes of this book.
  • Chapter 2 covers a basic HTML5 template, some common questions about HTML5, and some structuring documents. It also shows you how to make Internet Explorer 8 recognize the new elements so that all your viewers start in a similar place.
  • Chapter 3 goes into more detail about some other semantic elements like FIGURE, MARK, and DETAILS as well as others.
  • Chapter 4 introduces the new parts of HTML5 forms that you can use right now.
  • Chapter 5 explains HTML5 video and audio including how to write the HTML and create custom controls.
  • Chapter 6 brings CSS into the equation with an introduction to CSS3 including basic CSS, colors, rounded corners, and shadows.
  • Chapter 7 teaches you about CSS3 gradients and multiple background images.
  • Chapter 8 explains CSS3 transformations and transitions.
  • Chapter 9 combines web fonts and multi-column layouts into one chapter.
  • Chapter 10 introduces geolocation, offline web applications, and web storage.
  • Chapter 11covers SVG, canvas, and drag-and-drop.
  • And the three appendices cover Modernizr, WAI-ARIA, and microdata.

Guide Review of HTML5 and CSS3 for the Real World

The basic premise of this book is that web pages aren’t built in a vacuum. They are built, maintained, managed, changed, updated, and grow continuously. You don’t build a web page that you intend to simply upload and forget about. Yes, that does happen, but in general, living websites continue to update and change as the site information gets updated and changed. And as newer and better technologies and techniques arise, websites are updated and improved. And by learning HTML5 and CSS3, you are taking a big step in improving your websites.

This book provides a good overview of HTML5 and CSS3. It is a good place to start learning HTML5, but while it does appear to have coverage of a lot of the interesting features of HTML5 and CSS3, that coverage can be brief. Complex features like canvas and drag-and-drop are covered as portions of one chapter which implies that they are fairly easy to learn when they are not. In fact, there are entire books covering things like HTML5 video and the CANVAS element. But this book gives a good start on these features.

I really like how the book mentions aspects of accessibility for some of the elements. This is an aspect of web design that is often forgotten, especially by novice designers. Plus, and more importantly to many people, nearly every chapter explains how to get the topics discussed to work in older browsers. Or provide fallback options if needed.

You should also be aware that this book came out in May 2011, and the HTML5 specification is not finalized. This means that some aspects of HTML5 may have changed since the book was written. Also this book doesn’t cover HTML specifically, so while many of the new HTML5 elements are covered, you may need another information source for elements that were part of HTML 4 as well.

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

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