You learn better when you’re having fun. And Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML is the most fun you can have while you’re learning to create web pages.
What other HTML book would interview the href attribute (“I hope you aren’t offended, but what’s with the name? href? What’s with that?”) Or sponsor a “debate” between JPEG and GIF? Or introduce CSS with a reality TV show? Or uncover the mystery of <blockquote> and <q>, elements separated at birth?
Sound flippant? More like brilliant. Elisabeth and Eric Freeman know people learn best when they’re totally engaged, when they can’t wait to see what crazy thing is coming next. Like this book’s puzzles. Like its marvelous photo captions (if there were an Oscar® for creative use of stock photography, O’Reilly’s editors would win, hands-down.)
The Freemans skip some obscure stuff, but everything you need is here, from the basics (tags, attributes, elements, links, paths) to some fairly advanced techniques. You’ll learn how to move to XHTML (and why you would); how to use CSS to precisely control text, color, padding, borders and margins; how to build tables and forms. There’s even a quick look at HTML for blogs and mobile devices. Every chapter contains a “There are No Dumb Questions” section -- and the Freemans are weirdly clairvoyant about the issues that tend to confuse people.
By the way, they’re seriously into standards compliance -- but never prissy about it. (Check out their “driver’s ed”style insert full of Strict HTML 4.01 road signs. And remember: Always “feed your <body> only wholesome block elements!”)
The remarkable thing about this book: It all hangs together. Everything builds on what’s come before. By the time you’re done, you’ll really be comfortable with HTML, CSS, and XHTML. The fun has been carefully crafted to make sure of that, and it works. Bill Camarda, from the January 2006 Read Only