This week I have read the book Web Coding Bible, kindly provided to me by Mr. Chong Lip Phang for a review 🙂
If you want to have your book reviewed by me, mail me at review[at]vitoshacademy[dot]com.
The book consists of 18 small chapters, summarizing all you would like to know for the WWW, to make the first step from advanced beginner to a professional.
What is advanced beginner? If you know how to access values of dictionary and you have a clue about regex, then probably you may consider yourself an advanced beginner and you may benefit from the book. If you are still sometimes wondering why an array of Z elements explodes when you try to access the Zth element, then it is better to look for something else.
Starting with HTML, CSS and Java Script, the book covers 15 more technologies in 458 pages. Thus, with just 25 pages on average per technology, the book is quite consistent on its subjects. These 18 technologies are divided into 3 subgroups :
- Core (HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, SQL, XML)
- Graphics (SVG, 2D Canvas, WebGL Canvas, Java Applet, Flash ActionScript, Translated Text & Video Chat)
- Supplements(Servers, .htaccess, jQuery, cURL, WordPress, SEO)
I will simply write my opinion from each part of the book, trying not to write more than 3-4 sentences per chapter for the core technologies and a paragraph for the other 2 subgroups:
In just 16 pages, the author makes a prompt review of HTML and how it works. Useful examples are present, mainly explaining the use of tags in HTML. I have learned the tag progress, which can be used to build beautiful progress bars like the one below:
Well, after starting with HTML we go to its make-up artist CSS. There you get an introduction about the color structure, selectors and various properties. I liked the example for flexible box and rotation of boxes. The rotation of boxes looks like this:
The JS part in the book is quite extensive. The basic syntax, (loops, arrays, numbers) are explained well. The DOM structure is also taken into account. In general, the examples are quite ok and their level is satisfactory. I disliked the presence of too many tables with properties of the Core DOM objects (8 pages), but you may use them later as a good place to look at.
Anyway, the examples were interesting, you may see what 2 lines of JS can do to a HTML site below:
The PHP part is written with plenty of examples. Probably it is a better idea to read Chapter 13 before this, as far as you need to set up a server to run them. I, personally have almost no experience with PHP in order to judge, but it seems that all the important parts from the PHP language are present, including a small introduction to JSON.
This chapter focuses on MySQL, which is normal considering that the previous one was PHP, and most of the IT books put these two together for a reason. The chapter can be divided into two parts – first part with general SQL commands and the second part with examples. In order to run the examples, mySQL should be installed (probably with XAMP or LAMP). The examples are sufficient, if you are able to run them.
Some time ago I wrote a small article for XML. In the book, the section is written with lots of examples again. The Markup Components, XPath, Xuery and XSLT are presented. The JS Integration and PHP integration is also not forgotten.
- Graphics and Supplements
The last two subgroups of the book follow the established pattern – introduction into the subject through lots of examples. I am not a specialist in graphics (in fact I have not seen SVG, WebGL Canvas, Java Applet before), so I cannot be a fair judge there. JQuery and cURL were nicely written, even with a PayPal integration tutorial. The last two chapters – SEO and WordPress are interestingly written. The WP part gives you all you need to know to set up a good WP site – how to use WP, which plugins you should consider, how to edit the settings and the important files in a professional way. The SEO part is like a handbook on the subject – starting from HTML Tags and introduction to Google and Bing webmaster tools and finishing with Link Building, SEO KPIs and local search – it is a good read for someone who wants to deep dive into the subject.
Finally, the verdict:
When I first saw, that someone is writing a book for 18 subjects, each of which may require a few books by its own, I thought that I would like to see it. There are a lot of ways someone may fail such a project, but the Web Coding Bible is a success. It is a great book, with many examples, which may stay at the shelf and be used as an encyclopedia, if you are looking for a quick reference or you need a ready solution for any of the topics.