Books: “HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions”

The second book I’m reviewing is “HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions”, by web standardistas Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson.

What is the book about?

The book provides the reader with a foundation in how to markup and style a web site — the right way. In the authors’ own words this book is “a well-grounded, web standards-based approach in one package“.

Starting from the beginning, it explains the importance of solid, structured markup and of analysing a web site’s content before diving into the coding phase. It introduces the most important HTML tags and how to properly use them.

Following the HTML section of the book — which takes almost half of it — it dives into the CSS bit. Here it explains how to use CSS in a clean and effective way — just the way I like it :)

One of the most important aspects of this book is how it encourages the reader to continue to learn and explore — there is a very clear message that you can’t possibly learn everything from one book. It provides several paths in which the reader can further his or her knowledge and evolve as a web designer.

Who is the book for?

As I’ve mentioned above, the book is targeted at beginners — it doesn’t assume you know anything about HTML or CSS so everything is explained in a very clear and practical way.

I suppose it’s hard to assess whether the information would be easy to understand by an absolute beginner since I’m not one anymore (or at least I like to think I’m not). But every step of the book is so carefully explained, that I doubt anyone would have any problems.

Like Sam Brown mentioned in the title of his review, “Web designers who can’t code, need to read this book”. I couldn’t agree more.

A minor remark

The only thing I would have changed, or better yet, added to the book would be a more detailed section on inheritance. This is, however, probably due to the fact that I just wrote a massive post about it and all that information is fresh in my memory.

Inheritance is a fairly complicated topic and would probably not be relevant for this book; it’s one of the things that people can easily research on their own when any issues arise.


Reading this book felt like I was at the web design school I never had the change to attend. It is truly a course in a book: it explains the basics that every web designer should know — whether a coder or not.

The completed website that it provides the reader with at the end is invaluable, and I am not ashamed to admit that, even though I’m not within the book’s target audience, I’ve learned a few things I didn’t know, and remembered others I had forgotten.

I am lucky enough to know Christopher and Nicklas, the authors of this book, personally, and it was a pleasure to see that their charmingly friendly personalities show through in the writing of the book — which makes it an even more delightful read. Thoroughly recommended!