Book Review: The Modern Web

by Tony Dunsworth

I’ve just finished The Modern Web by Peter Gasston. As usual, the disclaimer is that I received a copy of the book for free in return for the review. Having said that, after I started reading this book, I realized if I hadn’t received it as a review copy, I would still want to go out and buy it. This was one of the best books I’ve read at introducing many of the new options available in web construction, from HTML5, through CSS3, all the way to Javascript and APIs and how to use the basics. The companion website, The Modern Web, is kept up to date by the author to cover any changes and updates to the base material, as this topic always seems to be changing.

Mr. Gasston has a dry wit, which really is engaging and fun to read. He’s also well versed on the subject and has a wonderful additional reading section at the end of each chapter which links you to not only his source materials, but to materials designed to push you further down the pathway to better programming. The book is aimed to the intermediate level developer who, like me, write good solid web pages, but knows there are a lot of things I can do to both help myself and improve my work as I go along. My favourite section had to be Chapter 3 with the device responsive CSS ideas. This really gave me a lot of ideas as to what to do with a portfolio site I work on. I also was very interested in the information about device APIs from Chapter 6.

My only criticism was in the forms section, Chapter 8, where he speaks about form input types like tel and discusses that they can be pretty much anything. While that is true to the surface, I know, and I hope many other developers know, to use the pattern attribute to ensure the proper format for the country at hand. Combined with some Javascript, this makes a great filter for ensuring the phone number matches the expected format (especially if inserted into a database somewhere.). While he mentioned the pattern attribute much later, it felt like an aside more than anything else.

That criticism aside, I heartily recommend this book and following up with it on the website he’s created for it. It will make your web work stronger!

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