Hi !
Lately, I bought "The Complete Reference HTML & XHTML 4th Edition 2003 by Thomas A. Powell" to enhance my knowledge on this subject. It also covers CSS1 and CSS2.

Do you think this book is too old to learn HTML , XHTML & CSS ?

Thank you in advance.

7 Years
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Last Post by drjohn

I think it would be fine as a starting point, but you'll want to extend your learning through updated information.

Your biggest issue will be the differences in how browsers render code - Even if HTML and CSS didn't change (which they have to varying degrees), the browser environments have changed drastically since 2003. Additionally, there are exciting recent developments in web such as HTML5, CSS3, (though neither are fully supported), and a plethora of javascript and CSS frameworks.

Most importantly, have fun!


Hello mat e ...no i believe any book can help and in some cases the older books help more due to relative guarantee that if it was designed to work back then it more than likely works now in later browsers etc. Obviously coding conventions regarding deprecatin need to be taken into consideration but this i find minimal in contrast to the amount of help an established(aged) book in this sector can give you. I would suggest any old visual quickstart books and i have one from 1999 on javascript functions which has helped no end in understanding javasript coding and use of the DOM at a basic level, which is where you have to start in my humble opinion, and as i mentioned above.... nine times out of ten the code in the older book will work without flaw in older browsers. Question???.....why do people feel updating their browser version is a bad thing, i cant wait for updates but people i know say " oooh no im not gonna update my browser i like the one i have" at this point in conversation with them i usually just shut up as its too much for them to take in the idea its the same browser but bug fixes and more secure experience etc........they often melt into ignorance and continue in their bliss believing they know best .....hey ho . anyway yes old books are good books, new books are for those who have read the old ones.

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html 4.01 was published in December 1999, and the last errata to the published details was may 2001
according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML

So it covers the current version that we all use.

XHTML is a dead end that offers nothing of use beyond HTML, because it is almost always served as HTML ! So using it is a waste of time.

CSS level 2 was developed by the W3C and published as a Recommendation in May 1998, according to

As no browser fully supports CSS3 AND, more importantly, CSS3 is no where near being finalised for several years, then the CSS will still be valid. Using CSS3 is risky as the commonest browsers simply do not support it! So your book will not teach you anything that is not supported any more.

The only problem might be if it uses code to get round problems in older browsers that no-one uses any more eg code to fix IE5.5 or earlier (yes, IE6 is still being used by about 10-15% of the population, so you have to support that as well). Removing a hack might make another hack break down.

But to learn html and css, it is as up to date as you need.

The only thing it may do differently is use techniques that have been improved upon.

The standard advice is avoid using tables for layout - tables are for showing tables of data, not page layout, and avoid using inline styles, use an external stylesheet.

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