Why HTML and CSS "How To" Books Suck

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Most HTML and CSS books end up on bookshelves collecting dust as reference books.
The last thing we need in the web development world is another HTML or CSS dictionary.
While we all need one or two good references on our desks, they are not very good tutors.
While I can learn about every HTML tag and every CSS selector, most books are not inherently practical enough.
I need to be able to construct the WHOLE not just the parts.
It does not serve the reader well if they cannot connect all the pieces together in a very practical way.
While these referential texts do include practical components(I can learn how to construct a link or how to add an image), they are often divorced from the concept of building a website as a whole.
Here is what any HTML or CSS book should accomplish: *speak in a language beginners understand *begin with the idea of showing how a complete website is built.
Build a vision for the reader, then lead them through it step by step.
*emphasize developing CSS layouts.
This is the most challenging topic and requires time and practice for beginners to master.
*practice show and tell.
Most books explain the concept then have users practice.
Forget that.
Get the reader in there doing it first.
Explain why it works later.
If at the end of reading the book, a reader has not successfully designed their first website, then the book is a failure.
Goals for book authors: *simplicity - beginners do not need to know the battles that go on within the CSS Standards working group.
*Do not explain every possibility.
Save that stuff for the appendix or another advanced book.
*Practical through and through.
A book of well written exercises serves better than lots of discourse.
How can a beginner evaluate a book? *Look to see how much of the book is discourse versus exercises *Does it focus on developing a complete website or does it just give you the pieces?
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