Book Review of “HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites” by Jon Duckett

Reading Time: 2 minutes


I hope that you are all well! Since I stared to learn how to code, in many blogs, community boards and interviews with coders, this week’s book has been mentioned as one of the best books to learn HTML and CSS for newbies and seasoned professionals alike. In this week’s review, I decided to dive in and see for myself what all the fuss was about…

The Review

First things first, when you get a hold of the book, it’s absolutely beautiful – the cover has a smooth vinyl sheen to it and although the book is not cheap, the book’s actual build is solid and makes you feel that it’s worth every penny.


If you open the book just to flick through, one thing that will strike you is the layout and the presentation of the content in the book – it looks more like a magazine and wouldn’t be out place on your coffee table! With a combination of snazzy graphics, colourful diagrams and great typography, Duckett manages to bring HTML and CSS to life. Visually this is one of the best educational books that I have ever read, hands down and is a joy to read.


A Tale of Two Languages

Content wise, Duckett has split the book into 2 sections: The first section covers Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Duckett skillfully and confidently explains how HTML forms the structure or ‘skeleton’ of our websites.

In the second section of the book, Duckeyy then explains about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and how it forms the presentation layer of our websites. What I love about Duckett’s book is that the sections are colour coded (HTML = blue, CSS = pink) and this is incredibly helpful especially as the examples and they contain both markup languages, which makes it dead easy to see how both languages interact with each other.


Also another neat feature is that Duckett supplies readers with a website that acts as a companion to the book which has expanded examples and more detailed explanations.

But despite all the good stuff that the book does, I feel that this book acts more like a reference book rather than book that I can pick up and learn to code from. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, practice and repetition are vital to learning to program and although it explains all the terms and concepts beautifully, I feel that the book could have done more to provide exercises that help you put your new knowledge into practice.

The Verdict

The book (at the time of writing) retails at roughly £25 – which can seem like a lot for a book but it’s worth every penny. The build quality, design and layout are worth the price of the book alone but were the book really shines is at breaking down complex ideas in a way that newbies like myself would understand easily.

I feel that where the book can really help you is as a reference book that you can look to in times where you may feel stuck or where you can quickly find additional info about a new concept that you are learning. I wouldn’t personally use it as my only source to learn programing – there’s loads of great online courses that can help with that.

Overall, this is an absolute must have in your coding library and a beautiful reference to help fill gaps in your knowledge. Go buy it!


Score – 9 out of 10

Thank you for reading guys! As always feel free to comment and tweet me @karlwebdev. See you next Thursday!



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