Corey Capetillo's Reviews > Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte
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Aug 29, 2011

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Read in August, 2011 — I own a copy

I've just finished going through the book and it's examples. It's quite handy in that it's collected several techniques for building a 'responsive' layout design. However, only look to this book for theory and history. This is NOT a step-by-step guide in building a responsive site from scratch. Previous experience in HTML, CSS, and Javascript is highly recommended.

See, this book has been written like many of the web development (html/css/js/php) tutorials you can find online by simply performing a Google search. And this book, like those tutorials, sometimes rushes through topics and skips over details, becoming nothing more than code snippets surrounded by hastily written paragraphs.

Where this book sets itself apart, is in it's EXCELLENT job of referencing many of those ground-breaking tutorials (articles) that have helped Ethan Marcotte give content to this book. Links are provided and you're encouraged to go back and read these articles, where you can return to the book with a better understanding of the groundwork laid before this publication.

Unfortunately, like those online tutorials it's also loaded with inconsistencies and gaping holes that will have you backtracking several paragraphs (and pages) to soon realize that the author is simply referring to points that he never actually made. And this is all without a comment section to contact the author for clarification and article refinement.

And at $18.00 + Shipping & Handling, with only 150 pages (including appendix, reference list and a page about the author), I find this book to have been over priced. I expected more. a LOT more. I may question my purchase, but I don't regret it. At the very least, someone may read this review and consider doing what I should've done from the get-go and simply Google "Responsive Web Design -book +article". I've purchased the other books in the series (I got them all at once) and I suspect I will have similar disapointed feelings about them as well. Meh...

If you're looking for something ground-breaking, thorough, well-written and worth your dirty dollars, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a convenient reference of information freely available on the internet because you're too busy to Google it yourself, then I suppose you've found your book.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Eugene Kravtsov I think you misunderstood the purpose of the whole series. These books were never intended for beginners, and so they do not have “for Dummies” in their name. They are, to quote the publisher’s tagline, “brief books for people who make websites”, that is experienced developers seeking exactly a convenient overview of a topic, not a 900-page O’Reilly reference, or “Idiot’s Guide to Interplanetary Travel”.

In terms of understanding of material, I did not have the problem following the author at all. And in terms of practicability of instructions I reckoned them very valuable (as I am experimenting with implementation right now working on a redisign) and clear. I honestly was relieved at the ease of the concepts involved, because before I did not delve too much in the issue, and terms like “media queries” used to frighten me a bit.

As for price, I do think $18 for this small book is steep, that is why I borrowed it from a public library. Although out of the four of the series I had read so far, this one is most likely to end up on my table as a reference. but then again, that is what used books are for.


Lior I tend to agree with you on those points. The reader is left wanting more. If this book was a suspense novel I'd be raving about the loops and missing plot lines. However, a suspense novel it is not and it's great that Marcotte took the time to create a nicely organized history book of how we got to RWD. That being said, if you're interested in learning how to build fluid/responsive web sites rather than see some code snippets and learn about the background of the concept find something else to read.


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