After a quick first glance, you might look right past this book. You might assume its title, “The Modern Web,” simply introduces some kind of heavily footnoted, academic study of the Internet.
Not so, Web breath. In this case, it’s the subtitle that should grab your attention.
Gasston’s well-written book zeroes in on the three “web technologies that can be used anywhere, from open websites to device-specific web apps.” And on all sorts of devices, ranging from tiny phones to tablet computers to wall-covering HDTVs.
And his teaching aim is to show you “modern coding methods and techniques that you can use to build websites across multiple devices or that are tailored to the single device class you’re targeting.”
Gasston also wants you to learn that “fast” is the main thing that matters to those who will use your site. “Your site needs to be fast–and feel fast–regardless of the device it’s being displayed on,” he emphasizes. “And fast means not only technical performance (which is incredibly important) but also the responsiveness of the interface and how easily users can navigate the site and find what they need to complete the task that brought them to you in the first place.”
The Modern Web offers a well-organized introduction, plus 11 chapters:
- The Web Platform
- Structure and Semantics
- Device Responsive CSS
- New Approaches to CSS Layouts
- Device APIs
- Images and Graphics
- New Forms
- Web Apps
- The Future
There also are two appendices: Browser Support as of March 2013 and Further Reading.
Peter Gasston has been a web developer for more than 12 years, and his previous book is The Book of CSS3.
He notes that “[t]he Web is constantly evolving, and book publishing means taking just a single snapshot of a moment. Some things will change; some will wither and be removed. I’ve tried to mitigate this by covering only technologies that are based on open standards rather than vendor-specific ones and that already have some level of implementation in browsers.”
He urges developers to stay alert to changing Web standards and to “be curious, be playful, keep on top of it all. He stresses: “There’s never been a more exciting time to work in web development, but you’ll need to put in an extra shift to really take advantage of it.”
– Si Dunn