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Title: Programming HTML5 Applications
Author: Zachary Kessin
Verdict: Not enough detailed content
The first thing that strikes you about this book is its size - or rather the lack of it. Stand this next to some of the others in O'Reilly's Programming series - such as Programming Perl, for example - and the slimness of this volume really does stand out. And it's not as if the subject matter is itself small - with web apps all the rage, and HTML5 the next big thing - you'd expect something a bit chunkier. Unfortunately this feeling of 'is this all there is' is hard to shake off.
To be fair, let's start with the positives. Author Zachary Kessin has got a very readable style, and what he has to say is interesting and engaging. To be honest lots of tech authors really struggle on this, but he doesn't, which is a real bonus. And, to be fair, small can be beautiful when it comes to technical books. Sometimes a book is so full of padding you think you could use it as a pillow. That's not the case here, where the content is terse, and so is the code. So, to be clear, the slimness of the volume isn't necessarily the problem.
This is terseness taken to the extreme. For example, HTML5 supports graphics programming in the browser using Canvas and SVG. This is mentioned in passing towards the end of the book. The topic gets four paragraphs. It's no more than a fly-past. Local storage, another big deal in HTML5 applications, fares a bit better, but even that is covered in around ten pages.
For someone who's looking at building a first HTML5 application there's simply not enough here. And that's the big problem. You can have a slim book and still pack in the core content that the reader expects, but this isn't the case here. As a reader I felt that I needed more - this book really only scratches the surface.