In his book, the Blind Watchmaker, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins writes:
— Explaining is a difficult art. You can explain something so that your reader understands the words; and you can explain something so that the reader feels it in the marrow of his bones. To do the latter, it sometimes isn’t enough to lay the evidence before the reader in a dispassionate way. You have to become an advocate and use the tricks of the advocate’s trade.
John Allsopp knows the tricks. And luckily, for those of us who work with things web, his field is web development. If you want to know what’s going on today and in the near term, Developing With Web Standards will take you through it all, step by step.
Snapshots And More
Like its “sister” volume, Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman and Ethan Marcotte, Developing With Web Standards is like flipping through a book of “snapshots”. Each chapter gives you a picture of one aspect of web technology along with the occasional zoom-in on things of particular importance. Seasoned web developers will find in it a valuable review. And no matter how much you know, or how familiar you think you are with something, I guarantee that at some point you’ll find yourself thinking:
“Hey, I didn’t know that. Why didn’t I know that?” Hah!
For myself, I found the chapter on Canvas and SVG especially useful because, frankly, I haven’t paid much attention to Canvas and SVG. (Is there such a thing as keeping up with it all?) And since the book is liberally sprinkled with links and sources for further study, I not only get John’s expert analysis, but a leg-up on how to learn more.
I would also recommend it highly for people who are only vaguely familiar with web development and would like to learn. It’s not a basic primer by any stretch, but it’s written in a friendly and clear style that helps a lot when you’re trying to make sense of a thing for the first time. Yes, you will learn some things, but more importantly, you’ll come away with a clear idea of what it is you don’t know. And when you’re new to field of knowledge, finding out what it is you don’t know can be the hardest part.
The Soul Of An Educator
When I grow up, my ambition is to speak at a Web Directions conference and get to rub shoulders with people like John Resig, Steve Souder, and Mark Boulton. 😉
John Allsopp, good luck with the book.