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Author: Shelley Powers
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Verdict: Not really pitched at the beginner, and let down by too many typos
In addition to the core material, the book is sprinkled with snippets of best practices, pointers to useful tools and libraries and end-of-chapter questions. However, it's the core text that is at issue, not the extras and it's in the core text that there are problems. There's no doubting that the author, Shelley Powers, knows her stuff - she writes knowledgably about real world problems, historical anomalies and the horrors of cross-browser coding. But at times her explanations are pitched at readers who've already had some experience of web development and/or programming experience with another language. This isn't necessarily a problem unless you really are picking this book with no experience other than putting together a web page using HTML and CSS.
Also a problem, (again particularly for the beginner), is that the text is sprinkled with a fair few errors, including errors in the code. Some are simple typos but some are just down-right wrong. For an inexperienced reader this makes learning that much harder… All readers would be advised to take a look at the publisher's web site for errors and corrections. It's also worth pointing out that the book couldn't have done with a few more graphics. Sure, it's important to see the XHTML code that the text refers to, but a few more visuals would have been helpful.
On the plus side the author sticks to standards-compliant XHTML, points out the best practices for producing cross-browser code and clearly knows her stuff. For the absolute beginner this book just isn't pitched at the right level.