Book Review: The HTML5 and CSS3 Responsive Web Design Cookbook

Read or write commentsAugust 1, 2013 by ssdesign

The HTML5 and CSS3 Responsive Web Design Cookbook, written by Benjamin LaGrone, has recipes/tutorials for responsive images and media, typography, layouts, and fluid layout frameworks like the Fluid 960 grid, BluePrint, Gumby and Bootstrap. It also has recipes for making mobile-first web applications, optimizing and testing responsive content, and unobtrusive Javascript. Each are divided into seven chapters. Some of the most useful recipes include resizing an image using percent dimensions, resizing an image using media queries, making your video respond to your screen width, changing the layout of navigation buttons using media queries, adding texture to large-sized text using text masking, and using JQuery Mobile for mobile-first apps.

I especially liked the recipes on using plugins in different browsers (Safari, Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer are covered) to simulate different devices, browsers, and screen dimensions. There is also a recipe on using virtual machine programs that simulate different devices and browsers like VirtualBox.

Benjamin LaGrone’s discussion of the current state of responsive web design today also really appealed to me; especially when he points out how even though the number of mobile device users is exploding, there are still businesses that use older desktop browsers like Internet Explorer 6. If you want to be a good responsive web designer, you must cover a wide spectrum of devices and desktop machines.
When doing a lot of the recipes where you had to type code, I ran into problems. First of all, the code in the book is often different than the code in the samples that come with it (you can download them from when you get the book). Second, in the book, the author frequently does not specify which line in the HTML document to type the code in. Although he shows the code itself, he often does not show what it should look like in the entire HTML document. In other words, he doesn’t show the entire HTML document with this code in it. There were also some typos in the code in the book. All this made it hard for me to follow these tutorials when I did them. Although I was eventually able to solve a lot of these issues, a person less experienced with HTML, CSS, and Javascript could find them confusing.

I also noticed that there were no code samples for the unobtrusive Javascript recipes. It would have been nice if such samples could have been included.

The HTML5 and CSS3 Responsive Web Design Cookbook is well-informed, but its recipes where you type code need to be spruced up.

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