Book Review : The Modern Web

This is a book review of “The Modern Web” by Peter Gasston and published by No Starch Press.

I have been reading/writing/teaching about HTML5 since a while and books in this area have been of particular interest to me. I believe one of the challenges in writing any book that covers the modern web is that there is a lot to cover. By that, it is required to cover on JavaScript, the new JavaScript APIs that are in HTML5 and then jump to new tags, CSS3 and one of the important things of late i.e. responsive web design.

Peter Gasston has done his best to condense all of the above into a format where I found myself being able to jump from one topic to another from pretty much anywhere.

The book starts off with an overview of the Web as a platform and then focuses on the structure of the page. A quick overview of the new elements in HTML5 is followed with topics like Data attributes, microdata, etc. The cover is good and enough to explain what the features are capable of.

The next two chapters were among my favourites in the way the matter was explained: Device Responsive CSS and New approaches to CSS Layouts, where I got a better understanding of the Box and Grid Layouts. CSS and Design is not particularly my forte but I found the text here much easier to digest and just about it without going into advanced topics.

The book then goes to JavaScript, different devices APIs (orientation, full screen, geolocation and much more) and then into typical HTML5 stuff like enhancements done to Forms and audio, video tags that are first class cousins now.

I particularly liked the author covering Web Apps because I believe the distinction is needed as compared to simple web sites.

This is not an easy book at times to keep reading due to the sheer number of topics involved but as I said it is broken down well to take up each chapter on its own. One thing I would have liked to see is discussion on various MVC frameworks that have been coming up in the JavaScript world like Angular JS and Backbone.

Overall, I would give the book a solid 4 stars out of 5.



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