I don’t mind reviewing a book with the word “Dummies” in the title. It helped me – I’ll even admit that.
Andy Harris’s HTML, XHTML, and CSS All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies is an interesting first book on website creation and design. As a bonus, it includes a CD with examples and code.
The book wastes no time and, by the tenth page, you’re already writing a little code. Mr. Harris’s style is to learn by doing. You read, you type, you copy what he’s written, you try it out. I found myself almost immediately altering his work to see what would happen. When the code didn’t break, or if it could be fairly readily fixed, it was a victory.
All concepts are explained, even those which may at the time seem like overkill, such as the practical differences among the .jpg, .gif and .bmp image formats. One of the earlier concepts explained is why CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are the way to go. By the time you get to Chapter Two of the first book (the book is divided into eight mini-books), Mr. Harris is already talking about online validation. And that’s a good thing, as that by itself can help a novice web developer to fix recalcitrant code.
No Design and No SEO
Between the two of them, read this one first and learn the basics for creating your website. Then read the design book in order to give it some beauty. But lay the foundation first.