Why can’t all programming books look like this?

Published | 2 min read

I have read quite a lot of programming books over the years. A lot of them have been really useful in learning a new programming language and some of them have been less than helpful. Unfortunately, the one thing all these books had in common was how dull they were to read. It’s not necessarily the fault of the author, programming is more of a practical subject and reading pages on pages of code can get a bit dry after a while. Some books do try and add a bit of humour to break up the monotony but even this can get a bit annoying after a while (yes, I mean you Head First).

However, there have been a couple of books that have stood out and have been a pleasure to look through. These are HTML & CSS (affiliate*) and JAVASCRIPT & JQUERY (affiliate*) by Jon Duckett. I got both of these books for Christmas and they just look so much better than your standard development books. You just need to look at the front covers to see it isn’t going to be the same as that 580 page C++ you have sitting on the shelf.

Now I will admit the subject matter isn’t quite as in-depth as say a book on enterprise architecture patterns, which might make it easier to layout the pages. However, I have definitely learnt quite a bit from both books. The HTML & CSS (affiliate *)book does a great job of going through some of the more obscure HTML5 tags that you probably didn’t even know existed. The JAVASCRIPT & JQUERY (affiliate *) book is about 50% thicker than the former book and is great companion guide no matter what your level you are.

Page Design

The thing that stands out is how well each page is designed. A lot of effort has gone into making these pages look good. I wish my website and documentation that I write looked half as good as this. Just have a look at some of these pages

Contract and Opacity - HTML and CSS Jon Duckett

This page is about error handling and even that looks good: Error Objects Continued

There are some great diagrams throughout the book like this timeline on technologies: Flash Video Audio Timeline

I will be keeping these books on my desk at home and they can serve me not only as a great reference for building websites but as an example of how documentation should be written. You can get deal on both of them from Amazon at the moment if you wanted to get them.

Have you got any favourite programming books to recommend? If so please comment below.

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