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Jolt Awards: The Best Books

, September 18, 2012 Six notable books that every serious programmer should read.
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Jolt Productivity Award: HTML5 Developer's Cookbook

by Chuck Hudson and Tom Leadbetter

One of the problems with HTML5 is that it is not just one technology, but many technologies, some of which are quite distinct from each other. Consequently, getting a leg up on the process of using all the pieces can be quite a chore.The Hudson and Leadbetter book, however, is a surprisingly compact, readable treatment of HTML5 that uses the cookbook format to reduce the amount of work necessary to handle routine tasks.

The authors demonstrate clearly how to use HTML5 features for automatic validation of form input fields, auto complete, and nearly automatic page geometry layout and navigation (without the use of layout tables as required in yesteryear) — which is all quite exciting. Exciting because not only do these options reduce server load, they also reduce the developer typing load so familiar in HTML4 work. Recipes for HTML5 are provided at three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I appreciated the compatibility tables for seven different browsers (including Android), and workaround discussions for incompatibilities. The companion reference website — written in HTML5, of course — gives live examples of things that more-static printed illustrations can't convey. Hints about the power of CSS 3, although not a formal part of HTML5, point the developer to additional labor-saving options. The HTML5 Canvas drawing discussion is a little light, but the excellent book, Core HTML5 Canvas by David Geary (reviewed earlier on Dr. Dobb's) makes an ideal companion to this book.

This book is a keeper reference book, not only because the detail is sufficient, but because the organization and examples are lucid enough to actually serve as an HTML5 site development tutorial.

Roland Racko






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