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Review categories > Website Design Books > Mastering HTML 4.0
By: Bruce Morris
Review for 'Mastering HTML 4.0'

Rating: 5 of out 6

Written By: Deborah Ray and Eric Ray

Page Count: 1009

Cover Type: Softcover

Published By: Sybex

Date Published: 10/1997

List Price: $49.99

Author's Site: http://www.webdevelopersjourna...

Mastering HTML 4.0 is one of those huge, doorstop-type computer books. But don't get me wrong - it's quite a useful doorstop. I use the doorstop adjective to describe it because I like to own a huge, up-to-date all-encompassing HTML reference tome and this is it.

While adequately covering all the basics of HTML, it has lengthy, comprehensive HTML 4.0 sections. Here's a bullet list of the type of good stuff included:
  • HTML 4.0 specs
  • How to design pages for multiple browser types
  • Multimedia and Java stuff
  • The usual design advice
  • How to write searchable HTML
  • How to build dynamic HTML pages
  • DHTML stuff
  • Push stuff
  • Thorough reference on HTML. Style sheets, JavaScript, special characters, browser-safe colors, etc (all this alone is worth the price of admission)
  • Companion CD with all sorts of goodies

Although I found some sections a bit short on code and screen shot examples, I couldn't really find anything missing for either advanced or beginner HTML developers. Of course there's a lot in here besides strict HTML information. How to plan a site, work with clients, testing for usability, readability and accuracy, a fair bit about formatting graphics, and on and on. The style sheets chapter is particularly useful although there is only slight mention of how to use them so they work well with both common browsers. A mere 25 pages on DHTML left me hungry for more detail. But - almost a third of the book, 300 pages, is plain old reference - a real bonus for hard-core HTML developers. Having written my own book on HTML (HTML in Action) I like to think I'm an advanced HTML dude and I absolutely crave such detailed, comprehensive reference sections.

It's big, fat, and a great reference. Although the Web world measures time in dog years, this book should be useful for quite a while.