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HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

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Every day, more and more people want to learn some HTML and CSS. Joining the professional web designers and programmers are new audiences who need to know a little bit of code at work (update a content management system or e-commerce store) and those who want to make their personal blogs more attractive. Many books teaching HTML and CSS are dry and only written for those who want to become programmers, which is why this book takes an entirely new approach.

• Introduces HTML and CSS in a way that makes them accessible to everyone—hobbyists, students, and professionals—and it’s full-color throughout

• Utilizes information graphics and lifestyle photography to explain the topics in a simple way that is engaging

• Boasts a unique structure that allows you to progress through the chapters from beginning to end or just dip into topics of particular interest at your leisure

This educational book is one that you will enjoy picking up, reading, then referring back to. It will make you wish other technical topics were presented in such a simple, attractive and engaging way!

514 pages, Paperback

First published October 25, 2011

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About the author

Jon Duckett

29 books198 followers
Jon Duckett has been designing and building web sites for over a decade, working with global brands, and has authored and co-authored over a dozen books on web design, programming, usability and accessibility. He has curated conferences about web programming and has been a web strategy consultant, often coding front ends for projects and designing architectures for back end programming. He is the author of the best-selling, HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites and JavaScript & jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development.

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5 stars
2,328 (50%)
4 stars
1,611 (34%)
3 stars
532 (11%)
2 stars
101 (2%)
1 star
48 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 433 reviews
Profile Image for imane.
463 reviews377 followers
March 29, 2017
جربت مشاهدة الفيديوهات لكن مللت بسرعة. بكل بساطة اعشق الكتب. الكتاب منظم بطريقة رائعة وفي نهاية كل فصل ملخص. انصح كل مبتدئ بقراءته
فلنمر الان الى الكتاب الثاني
JavaScript and JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development
Profile Image for Larry McCloskey.
89 reviews
March 2, 2013
Credit where credit is due: this is a great looking book. The layout and design are top notch, is easy to read and there are plenty of illustrations and examples of everything discussed.

The problem with the book is that I'm not sure who the audience is. If you already know HTML and CSS, the majority of the book is probably beneath you. If you're new, then it might be over your head as it explores topics instead of really getting into the "how to" side of things.

There's enough good information to make it worth reading. The CSS section, in particular, has some good tips and even if you've been playing with web design for awhile, there's some good information on where HTML 5 is heading. It's a quick and easy read as well, so even if you don't gain a whole lot from the book, you'll probably gain enough to make it worth the time you invested.

Profile Image for Kathie.
62 reviews6 followers
February 13, 2013
I swore after taking COBOL and FORTRAN in college (back when you lugged around boxes of punch cards), I wanted no more to do with coding or programming. And did I really need to know this stuff? Then I started a Wordpress site and, being a designer myself, I really wanted to either customize the template I was using or created one from scratch that was what I wanted. So, I started learning HTML & CSS online though CodeLesson.com and found I needed a couple of more resources. This book is SO good. First, I appreciate good graphic design (since I do that stuff myself as an eLearning ID and developer), and the importance of making information visual. This book is beautiful. And it takes the complete beginner through the basics step by step without throwing in stuff that I know I'll need later, but don't need to know at that moment (and would forget anyway). Love it, highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
279 reviews485 followers
June 3, 2020
A very clearly arranged HTML/ CSS beginner guide with effectively represented examples. Though this is not a reference book, as a beginner, I found it is much helpful as a reference compared to the complete reference books. This book will help you grasp almost all the principles of HTML/ CSS to provide you with a solid foundation.
Profile Image for Kevin Garner.
18 reviews4 followers
May 29, 2018
My original review: "A great, minimalist guide to web development with lush attention to print design. It's like a book-sized magazine written for the classroom, but it's mercifully much easier to read than any textbook on the subject."

Update 1: This book is a nice snapshot of HTML in 2011, but enough has changed since then that this book is now well out of date. I think this book gives you some easy access to some of the basics, but that's about it. If I were to pick up this book now, it would not tell me what I need to know in order to write good HTML and CSS.

Update 2 (2016): I think the time for books on HTML and CSS is over. Sites like Codecademy (free), Code School (subscription-based), and numerous other online learning sites (many of those free to use) do a much better job teaching you all the things that an updated version of this book would attempt to teach. Things like learning AngularJS and Bootstrap to create a JSON-driven website that utilizes the Model View View-Model (MVVM) pattern should be a more hands-on experience than reading a book. The most valuable learning I've received about HTML and CSS is simply through doing tutorials on modern web technologies, combined with troubleshooting any problems I encounter with resources like StackOverflow, W3Schools, the Mozilla Developer's Network, etc. When you build something, you learn how to build. That is the software development paradigm.

Update 3 (2018): Ok, ok, the time for books on HTML and CSS is not over. At least for CSS, I think you should check out "CSS in Depth" by Keith J. Grant if you're looking for good advice and distilled knowledge on how to use CSS effectively in web development, especially when scaling up to large web applications. Note that "CSS in Depth" won't cover all the angles that this reviewed book implies, but neither does this book!
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
March 23, 2020

*deep breath*

yes, it seems I am not destined to be a coder. reaaaally bummed about that. :P
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,780 reviews301 followers
August 18, 2018
Make Your Website Pretty
18 August 2018

Another university text book, and honestly, I probably shouldn’t go on a rant about university text books, particularly since that everything these books tend to contain can pretty much be found, for free, on the internet. As you can probably tell, this book is basically all about web development, though this book is more about how to make a website look pretty as opposed to actually making the website do funky stuff. Yet, in reality, our lecturers and tutors never seem to refer to this book in particular, but rather refer us to w3 schools, namely because pretty much everything you need to know about web development is located there.

However, as a book, it is laid out pretty well, and isn’t anywhere near as dense as some of these other text books that I have landed up with are. Mind you, like all university text books, I highly doubt that I am ever going to actually look at them again after I finish my degree, particularly since web development really isn’t a field that I want to get into. Anyway, with content management systems such as Wix, among others, one wonders whether there is going to be a job for web developers in the future.

Actually, that is probably a silly question, because of course there is going to be work for web developers, though I do get the impression that while there is an awful lot of work out there for them, having an university degree isn’t something you really need to actually create web pages. In fact, there are a bunch of students (post-millennials mind you) that have been writing web pages since they were 12 years old. Honestly, that isn’t at all surprising, considering I technically fall into that category, though when I was 12 years old the internet as we know it today basically didn’t exist – it was all dial up modems and bulletin boards. Actually, it was the era of the Commodore 64, and the shady back room deals at high school where we would exchange disks containing pirated software.

The thing is that I’m one of those people that learn not so much by reading, but rather by doing, which is why I’m actually enjoying university – what we are learning we pretty much have to put into practice with regards to our assignments. Mind you, I’m dreading my web programming assignment, particularly since design really isn’t something that is my forte, though I’m going to do my best to produce something that is really, really pretty. However, the catch is that while you can work in pairs, team work in first year can be really hit and miss, particularly with the number of people that actually drop out of university in their first year. I would provide a link to the website, just so you can see how bad it is, but unfortunately it is password protected, so I guess I’m just going to have to leave it for my lecturer, and fellow students.

Oh, and one thing that I have learnt about web development is that there are a lot of no no’s out there, and a lot of things that I have no choice but to do when I am writing something on, say, Blogger. Well, I could create my own website, but honestly, Google (and Wordpress) have done all of the hard work for me so all I have to do is simply write stuff, so I won’t bother. Still, I do wonder what I can get away with Javascript on those sites.
Profile Image for Robert Thompson.
169 reviews35 followers
September 21, 2013
The first thing that struck me about this book was that it's beautiful. I kid you not. A coding design manual that's visually stunning.

Things are even better, when added to the fact that overall, it was pleasure to read too. It is hard to put down a book when it's almost perfectly tuned. The only times I accomplished the feat, was through sheer exhaustion and later in the book, when I had to try out some of the trickier but simply explained examples. Really this book is brilliant.

The beauty of it is this book is a simple read. It takes the complex and often time frustrating world of HTML and CSS and distills it. Everything is broken down and examined steadily, leaving you refreshed by complexities as well as the simpler points.

There were some minor niggles near the end of the book. "Two" or "three" headings that were miss-labeled or incorrectly positioned. A obvious typo referencing a non-existent tag. These were only obvious because the work, as a whole, is so very close to impeccable

The best thing I can say about this book, is this. I will read it again. Soon. I totally expect to enjoy it the second time as well.
Profile Image for Raissa.
22 reviews4 followers
April 19, 2017
This book is the most straight-forward introduction to HTML and CSS that I have found. I started reading a few other books before finding this one, and they all start with lots of unnecessary background information (What is a browser? How does the World Wide Web work?) before getting into the actual "how to" of creating a web page.

The only complaint I have after reading (almost the entire) book is that now, I'm not really sure where to start. It would be helpful as a sort of last step for the author to say, "Now that I've told you all of these things, here's where you should start." But I can also see where it doesn't make sense to do that because everyone is reading the book for different reasons. I guess you just start by writing some HTML and then some CSS to go along with that HTML, upload all those files to your web hosting server, and voila, you have your website. In theory.

Either way, this book has really helped me get started with a web project that I volunteered to take on but have been procrastinating for the past four months. I can't say that the HTML or CSS I'm writing is probably the cleanest at this very early stage, and I'm constantly having to go back and look up pretty much everything, but I have a website started, and I have this book to thank for that!
Profile Image for Bill Krieger.
532 reviews23 followers
July 21, 2012
I had some website work to do, and I decided to do it "right" (just to be clear... those are sarcastic quotes). The "right" (again) way to do website is to separate form form content by using HTML combined with CSS. Now, CSS is pretty obnoxious, but once you climb the learning curve, it is an attractive model.

So, I grabbed this book. It is awesome.

+ It's both a how-to and a reference book.

+ It's introductory and has more in-depth information.

+ It looks great with tons of color examples.

+ It has the code to create each example right there for you.

+ It has answered every question that I've bumped into.

+ It has a great index with a couple of reference sections like CSS properties.

This is one of the best tech books I've used. "A nicer way to learn"... so the author says on his website. Huzzah to that!
Profile Image for April.
493 reviews15 followers
May 16, 2016
If you are in the market for a HTML/CSS book that will actually make you excited about HTML/CSS, get this book. It's so beautiful and simple and makes coding look beautiful and simple.

I didn't read every word of it, but given more time and energy I totally would have.

Easily the best textbook of my MLIS.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,509 reviews31k followers
April 10, 2018
so informative! the information is laid out in a very comprehensive way and made learning about coding very accessible.

4 stars
Profile Image for Addison.
135 reviews6 followers
May 7, 2019
Very informative and well organized. I may go back to this book while creating the in-house website that my work office uses, but in most cases, it's easier to find the information I'm looking for online.
Profile Image for Mai.
543 reviews126 followers
December 2, 2019
This book is a Must Read for beginners in Web design /Development.I really like that it's concise and so organized in a neat way that makes it easy to read but Head first series in my opinion is way better because it really explains every new concept or rule in a great detail.anyways loved that book and I highly recommend it for beginners in the web development field .
Profile Image for C.
1,089 reviews1,050 followers
September 16, 2021
This is the most visually pleasing web design book I’ve ever read. It’s logically organized and explains concepts well, using simple terms, code examples, and beautiful illustrations. I wish I had had it when I was first learning HTML and CSS. The book focuses on the fundamentals of HTML and CSS (including some HTML5 and CSS3), but there are also a handful of pages about the design process, SEO, and analytics.

I won a copy of this book in a Twitter contest from The East Wing podcast, one of my favorite web design podcasts. The author appeared in Episode 11: The Book Process with Jon Duckett.

Stock photos
iStock Photo
Getty Images

Browser testing
Adobe BrowserLab (free)
Browsershots (free)
CrossBrowserTesting (paid)

• Leave body text at 16px, then adjust other font sizes using a scale.
• Setting font size in pixels is the best way to ensure that it appears as you intend, because percentages and ems vary depending on the text size set in the browser.
• Line-height should be 1.4 - 1.5em.
• Hide text with text-indent: -9999px.

Open source font sources
Font Squirrel
Open Font Library
Google Web Fonts

Commercial font sources

Styling tables
• Give cells padding.
• Make headings bold and uppercase, and add a background color or underline.
• Shade alternating rows.
• Use text-align to right-align numeric columns.

Styling forms
Use formalize.me to style forms consistently across browsers.

Aligning form controls (view source in this example to see HTML and CSS)
• Add the class “title” to elements containing form titles.
• Float the title class to the left.
• Set the width on the title class so they’re all the same width.
• Use text-align to align titles to the right, and use padding to put a gap between titles and form controls.
• Set the width and use padding-bottom to put vertical space between rows.
• Right-align the submit button.

Online wireframe tools (paid)
Lovely Charts

On-page SEO
• Keywords should be in these places:
• Page title
• Headings
• Text (2-3 times in body)
• Link text
• Image alt text
• Meta descriptions

Off-page SEO
• Get other sites to link to yours, especially sites with related content.
• Links containing keywords are more relevant.
• Make sure words in links to your sites also appear on the page linked to.

Direct traffic is traffic that didn’t come from another site. The visitor may have typed the URL, or clicked a link in an email or document.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
24 reviews6 followers
June 29, 2022
I wish I had this when I was starting out. My first book about web design was CSS for Dummies, and it opened my eyes to possibilities. After a few years of not touching any HTML or CSS directly, this has been a wonderful refresher to get making things again.

My understanding of web design started through a CSS lens. In retrospect, beginning to learn web design by understanding the power and capabilities of the structure first—through HTML—would have been a much better first step.

Highly recommend to anyone who thinks they can't make a website, or curious how easy it is. This is a step by step explanation for any sort of "first steps into the web" and a wonderful refresher on the basics for anyone looking to freshen' up.
Profile Image for Girl and Books.
272 reviews
August 24, 2020
The first thing you notice about this book is just how visually stunning and appealing it is alongside a beautifully put-together format and layout. The book is considerably old, written before HTML5 and CSS3 with references to upcoming specification. It is quite relevant conceptually but outdated. Nonetheless, it is a great and simple read for beginners and I highly recommend it, but do find another source or approach for learning a more contemporary code.
33 reviews
November 12, 2020
An introduction to HTML and CSS that can get you making decent looking web sites. The content is presented in a very stylish way, which is helpful because it's geared towards front-end design. The main drawback is that it is outdated at this point; HTML5 was just released when this came out. Not a large drawback, though, because a lot still carries over and knowing historical approaches isn't bad.
Profile Image for Sarah.
820 reviews150 followers
February 25, 2012
Wiley sent me a review copy of this HTML & CSS book because I teach an intro web design class at an art college (Pacific NW College of Art). I don't usually rate the tech/web books here on Goodreads, because they mostly suck, but this one is great for designers/artists/non-tech folks. It'll be my required text next term--it's that well-done.
Profile Image for Barnaby Thieme.
504 reviews228 followers
April 12, 2021
A very attractive coffee-table book featuring large-format illustrations of HTML and CSS that were up-to-date when the book was written in 2011. If you're looking for useful intruction, you'll get far, far more from MDN's free online materials.
Profile Image for Kai.
157 reviews11 followers
January 22, 2023
Until reading Jon Duckett's HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites I was under the impression that HTML was obsolete and that you would always go for programming languages to create modern and professional websites. It's silly, I know. But even when taking a solely HTML and CSS based approach seriously, I was amazed by the digital beauty you could create with only a few lines of code.

The textbook is a perfectly hands-on introduction to web design that gradually increases the code complexity. There are no practical exercises, but the chapters and topics are so composed that you somehow hear your calling and want to try to apply things on your own. When coding with a programming language you feel often overwhelmed by the underlying theory you struggle to grasp, while markdown and styling are immediately practical. After you read about the relevant concepts, you immediately feel like you are able to grasp what they are about.

This brings me to another point. Often computer-science textbooks provide good understanding of basic theory but leave you self-conscious about how they are applied in the real world. What I particularly loved about HTML & CSS was how Duckett offers best-practice advice throughout. This eases the transition from knowing what there is to knowing how best to apply it (like professionals do). Sure, you won't become a professional from just reading about what to do. But when in practice you suddenly wonder about the details of how to best move on you'll have a mentor to get comforting advice from.

I also have to say, the book is some seriously mesmerizing piece of design work. There is something truly convincing about a design book that is perfectly designed. There is comparatively little text per page, aligned within three columns, with colorfully highlighted code listings and often very large-size images that pop. All on a visually comforting backgrounds. And with examples at the end of each chapter that are impressive enough to immediately make you feel comfortable, maybe empowered even.

The explanations are concise as is necessitated by the design decisions, but still in-depth and sufficiently technical. The section about image resolutions is a good example. Most readers will know about the pixels of their various devices and might have bought something based on promises that higher resolutions promise sharper images. Yet, to build pleasing website designs it's necessary to understand what is really going on. To this purpose, technical concepts are introduced and related to their origins in print.

There are important shortcomings, though. At least in my 2011 edition there was very little in the way of responsiveness and how to make your website compatible with different screen sizes. There are sporadic mentions of the need to use relative measures and the likes, but there is no systematic introduction to concepts like mobile-first, fluid layouts, or the likes. There is a section on page layout, but in this respect my edition was rather dated, too. Today, the flexbox layout would probably deserve its own chapter.

Still, for these issues there is of course an overabundance of other sources to consult (and they might well be addressed and remedied in the most recent edition). Overall I feel like I've learned quite a lot from HTML & CSS and like to come back to it for inspiration on how to solve problems. Highly recommendable – it will sure be among the most stunning books on your shelf.

Rating: 4/5
Profile Image for Brad Janocha.
76 reviews2 followers
November 23, 2019
Jon Duckett's HTML/CSS book has amazing format and style but is unfortunately quite dated. I'm new to web development and really enjoyed the immersive visual design this book offered. It was refreshing to learn from a physical book instead of a screen. Since I'm already coding, it helps to have a resource that's not electronic. Although Duckett talks extensively about the 'upcoming' HTML5 and CSS3, he wrote the book before the CSS Flexbox and Grid layouts, so readers will have to look elsewhere to learn that contemporary syntax. I could overlook the omission of Flexbox/Grid, but the reason I couldn't give the book five stars was actually due to the dated view on flexible layouts. All online sources these days tell new web builders to design flexible layouts with a 'mobile-first' mindset, while this book still suggests static webpages can be useful at times. This, of course, is no longer true. And so long as new developers know that going into this book, I would highly recommend it to them.
Profile Image for Mohamed Yamani.
27 reviews
August 7, 2021
I've received a lot of recommendations of this book concerning HTML and CSS for starters. Truth be told, it does cover the fundamental grounds for front end development concerning HTML and CSS, though sadly it's the first and latest edition, released in 2011 I believe. Pretty outdated. Coverage of HTML5 and semantic elements is very poor and not convincing to adopt either.

Same goes for responsive design, you can sense that the author does not assume a lot of website visitors would be using devices with various screen sizes.

All of the latter is excused due to the release date, the web was a lot different back then.

All in all, great book if it were ~2011, decent book at the present times. Though I would not recommend it, I read it out of curiosity and the numerous recommendations.
Profile Image for Eric.
10 reviews
October 8, 2022
Beautifully laid out and very helpful for beginners. As with any coding book - some of it is already obsolete at the time of printing. Jon Duckett does a good job of balancing concepts as well as specifics in HTML and CSS. We’re in new versions of each language now so some examples are less relevant. But that’s to be expected.

The last third drags a bit if you’re just looking to learn the two languages. If you want to learn how to build and monitor your own website however the last third is useful.
Profile Image for Gavin Ridley.
16 reviews
January 2, 2020
Crazy easy reading. For someone with experience coding lower level non-web stuff like C++, I found this to be a great place to start to make a webpage. The book starts with baby steps though, and would be good for a caveman who just approached a computer.

Lastly, the pages are laid out awesomely. You know you’re reading the work of someone with great design skills when perusing these concise infographic-like pages.
Profile Image for Johny Wuijts.
27 reviews
February 23, 2023
The book looks great visually. However, it is severely outdated, and could use an update. I do not recommend this book to beginners, it will be confusing to learn from this book and then have to relearn a lot of things that have changed in the past 12 years.
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