Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Book Review: Head First HTML5 Programming
Creating event handlers and interactive controls to a user is up next. By making a simple song selector, the user is shown how to make buttons and tie events to them, , along with creating new elements to hold information and display songs. The exercises help the user see how the code and page elements interact with each other.
Functions and objects are next on the list. Chaining, constructors, and scope, oh my.
Web Services gets a chapter and a look at XMLHttpRequest, JSON, and JSONP, and shows when to use which, and how to fetch data at regular intervals to update the application you make (and with gumballs, no less).
The Canvas chapter explains how to use the canvas element to physically draw out parts of the page. With a T-shirt design problem, we create a square, manipulate the pixels to create fills, fail gracefully and inform users if their browsers are too old to support canvas, and create functions to draw circles and other shapes. Creative text can be displayed as well.
The Video tool allows developers to not just embed video in pages, there’s also playback, moving forward and backwards, handling different video formats, and embedding video images into objects that you have drawn onto the canvas tool. We also get to play with a variety of video formats including H.264, VP8 and Theora. Video also allows the user to use an API to focus on a variety of behavior.
Web storage, or more commonly, localStorage, gets coverage and an explanation of how it differs from traditional “cookies”. Starting with the space (cookies max out at 4kB, localStorage gives you 5MB for each domain).
There are also a number of topics that didn’t get covered, such as Modernizr, Audio, jQuery, XHTML, SVG, Offline Web Apps, Web Sockets, more advanced Canvas API, Selectors API, and many other things that would make a book already 600 pages much thicker (especially since most pages are graphically structured with examples, puzzles and a lot of pictures).
It’s cutesey, it’s kitschy, it’s loaded with pictures, diagrams, and other stuff that may drive some people crazy (the “get to the point already” people), and I’d say that, for those people, they are probably already knowledgable enough to go beyond what this book offers anyway. If, however, you are like me, and don’t necessarily mind a variety of presentation options, and the “ooh shiny” quotient is high, and the need to have silly asides and corny jokes abound to keep you smiling, and engaged, then I have to say there’s a lot to like here.