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Programming HTML5 Applications
Building Powerful Cross-Platform Environments in JavaScript

Author(s): Zachary Kessin
Published: 2011, Pages: 144
Print ISBN: 978-1-4493-9908-5| ISBN 10: 1-4493-9908-8
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4493-9975-7| ISBN 10: 1-4493-9975-4
Publisher (more . . .)O'Reilly


 Three out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: November, 2013
  Reviewer: Daniel Allen Langdon
       The first thing I noticed about this O’Reilly book is the number of pages. Not counting the index, it ends on page 119. In such a short book, the author does a great job of very succinctly explaining how some of the core features of HTML5 work. However, I believe that he leaves too much out to consider this a proper introduction to HTML5. For instance, the CANVAS and SVG tags are briefly mentioned in a subsection of the “New Tags” chapter with eleven sentences, with the last one referring the reader to another book to learn about how they work! The Maps API is mentioned in passing in the “Web Workers” chapter with only three sentences! That’s just lazy, and what does the Maps API have to do with web workers?

     In spite of these omissions (and I’m sure other readers could point out many more like them), the book contains succinct explanations and examples of many of the core components of HTML5. Covered topics include geo-location, web sockets, offline storage, web workers, and more. The most detailed chapter is the chapter about testing with Selenium.

     In spite of the examples given, I found that the chapter on the new features for working with files in JavaScript to be a bit lacking.

     On a positive note, the example showing how to efficiently render an image of the Mandelbrot fractal using the Web Workers inspired me to write my own HTML5 fractal rendering application. When it’s complete, I will publish it on my personal web site and on GitHub. The author states that in order to fill in individual pixels on the CANVAS element, it is necessary to draw a rectangle with offsets between the individual pixels. In my experience, this is wrong; you can draw a one by one rectangle at the pixel without offsetting it a fraction of a pixel. Perhaps this applies to the browsers that existed when this book was written.

     That’s another issue. The book was first printed in November 2011, two years ago. HTML5 and its implementations have been changing so rapidly that some content in the book is already obsolete, though this is not the author’s fault.

     One thing I do like about the book is the references to JavaScript libraries that simplify implementation of many HTML5 features and work around differences in browser implementations.

     Overall, in spite of my complaints about omissions, oversimplifications, and poor code examples, I learned a lot from reading this book, but I believe we deserve a better book about HTML5.

Daniel Allen Langdon is a .net Web Application Consultant. He specializes in programming applications that process large amounts of data.
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