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DHTML Books in general

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Genre: Computer / IT

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      09.02.2010 12:56
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      DHTML stands for 'dynamic hypertext markup language', which sounds scary but is actually just a common form of coding used across the web to structure and add functionality to websites. The difference between HTML and DHTML is mainly that DHTML is code more focused on interactivity and making websites more 'fun' and easy to use, rather than being related to the core design and structure of them.

      There are many, many books on the market that cover all aspects of web design, HTML, DHTML, PHP, JavaScript and about a million other things. In the DHTML category you can get all kinds of books ranging from quick guides to huge tomes. They are often coupled with other aspects of coding, for example CSS or JavaScript.

      This review aims to argue that buying a book on DHTML is completely pointless. Starting at around £20 for a decent book, it's a pretty big initial cost and the paperback market tends to try and take advantage of those wanting to teach themselves, and students who have been told to buy the books. This is because a lot of formal programming, coding and designing for the web is based on ridiculously inflated costs of classes, materials and to some extent programs (although debatably the latter are sometimes worth the money).

      As well as the ridiculous costs, the physicality of a book is very impractical for coding. This is because you have to bend and crease pages and spines to even get these big heavy books to sit properly - and most likely it will end up flipping to a different page or closing by itself anyway as you're trying to type. This is true of most books unless you get a stand, which isn't always practical and adds to the cost yet again. Creasing and damaging the spines also ruins the book's resale value (that's if you want to pay ridiculous amounts of postage to the person you sell it to).

      You might argue that if you need the information, then my previous two points are irrelevant. Well, that's not quite true. The internet, handily available at your fingertips, will provide all the information and far more than any book (at least a year out of date anyway) will offer. Don't understand a section? Find another website to explain it to you. Have got really close to coding something but not got it quite perfect? Ask at a forum. All this stuff and more - including pre-written scripts, tools you never knew existed, snippets, tutorials, live help and more is all available for free via Google. And with no creased books or small type in sight. It's also incredibly useful to be able to copy and paste text instead of laboriously copying it from a book. You can always print out or bookmark a page you find especially useful or need to refer to a lot.

      One of my favourite DHTML help websites is dynamicdrive.com, because as well as lots of free tutorials, snippets, a great search engine and easily understandable text, I also find it much more inspiring than dry code in a book. You can see how things interact on the page, find out if the code does what you want it to, and it's very easily accessible. Often DHTML books just tell you what they used and what they think you should know - which usually has very little relation to something in particular you're trying to achieve.

      So whether you're intending to learn yourself or just pick out bits of code you need, you don't need expensive books for it. Save the planet, and save your money.

      In summary:

      - Everything you could possibly need you can get for free by searching the Internet
      - The books are expensive, waste paper, are difficult to physically work with and are at least a year out of date

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        17.10.2000 02:38
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        Oreilly are the publishers of the definite guides in programming languages and their DHTML book is no exception. Of course if you are wanting to start writing a webpage from scratch and learn HTML for the first time, this book will be over your head. However if you are working on websites on a regular basis and need a full explanation of each Tag, be it HTML, CSS or DOM and in which browsers they work, then this is the book for you. This is an ideal reference guide, although it is by no means a teaching aid. It clarifies the use of individual tags, and what can be done by combining them with optionl attributes, and also outlines the differences between HTML 3.2 and HTML 4 and which tags have been deprecated. As a reference guide it is second to none for advanced users, although for beginners it is difficult to make any progress with it, so don't think you can learn DHTML just by reading this book, although for a beginner's needs it is by far and away above what a beginner needs.

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