HTML 4 For Dummies Book Review

CIW Foundations for Dummies Book Review 0764589172The year is 2007. HTML is still here. HTML for Dummies is the popular book series by Ed Tittel and Mary Burmeister for new web designers. This dummies book series has helped introduce coders to the nuts and bolts language needed to design web pages. The book is still in demand as the number of “dummies” wanting to learn to code web pages remains significant.

Despite the title, a parenthetical “X” has crept into the pages and sometimes appears as (x)HTML. This edition was released in 2005 and may be the last “dummies” HTML book before the publishers decide to stick with calling it “XHTML for Dummies.” What is XHTML? XHTML is HTML reformulated to conform to the new W3C standard for the extensible markup language, XML.

So, why I am reviewing HTML 4 For Dummies in 2007? My wife wanted to learn HTML/XHTML and I did some searching for a good book. As I browsed through the programming books section in my local Barnes and Noble book store, my eyes, debilitated by years of staring into CRT monitors, paused at the yellow and black dummies cover with the familiar triangular character pointing his finger in the air. Ah, yes, I remember now… it was the mid 1990′s and my boss asked me to develop a web site for the billing department I worked in. I then put myself through a crash course in HTML with one of the early “dummies” books, probably HTML 3.2 for Dummies, I don’t remember.

A few things I do remember about my experience learning HTML was the ease at which I could grasp the then unfamiliar topic of marking up web pages to format text and images in a web browser. As I flipped through the book, I recognized some of the same words that I had read back in the nineties. The simply put phrasing was just what this then HTML dummy needed to get the ball going and move onto being an advanced hand coder. Looking over the pages that I recognized from the orginal book made me realize that I should give HTML for Dummies books more credit than I previously have for introducing me to HTML. The book now even whets your appetite for CSS and JavaScript; I don’t recall this in the book I originally read.

The Amazon editorial review states that the new edition of HTML 4 For Dummies contains nearly 50% more content than its previous editions and covers the following important concepts for newbies:

  • Planning a Web site to avoid underperformance
  • Creating and viewing a Web page
  • Working with text, tables, lists, and links
  • Adding style to your page with images, colors, and fonts
  • Managing layout
  • Controlling positioning and appearance using CSS
  • Integrating scripts with HTML
  • Designing an eBay auction page
  • Helpful advices and tips, as well as warnings about pitfalls

In the web 2.0 era, every webmaster needs to have a foundational understanding of HTML/XHTML. Tittel and Burmeister’s HTML 4 for Dummies is a great way to learn the basics fast.

Emory Rowland

Emory Rowland is editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. He's a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. Emory's love for social media and success with organic search led him to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, he could be considered by many as pretty worthless. More...

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