I'm planning on using this book as a text for an intro to web design course. Overall, it is a great introduction.
What I like about the book are:
It's generally got a great flow [one exception below - ch.8] and has very good explanations for how HTML & CSS are used together to make well designed web pages. The text easily moves from the basic (html tags) to novice (basic CSS) and then more advanced topics like adding graphics, positioning, using tables, and implementing forms. The content is provided in a very accessible way that builds upon previous learnings. And the information is presented in a fashion that most newcomers to web design/publishing can easily understand.
The main caveats I have with the book are:
I would have moved the content of Chapter 8 into Chapter 1. It would be helpful for readers to know about web hosting and connecting to said host before attempting to publish their pages. To my mind this is definitely a "Setting Up Shop" activity - in fact I'd have these tasks prerequisite to those in Chapter 1. What's the point of creating web pages if you have no where to post them for others to see?
A possibly bigger issue is that Chapter 9 "Adding a Blog..." is nearly useless now that Blogger no longer supports FTP publishing (announced in Feb 2010 and unsupported as of May 2010). Including an entire chapter that has a "single point of failure," such as relying on a singular service that's avail. today to be around tomorrow doesn't seem like very good planning to me. It would've been nice if another, more generic alternative were presented (such as just linking to one's Blogger or Wordpress blog and how to configure them so they at least look similar, if not integrated).
It's still a pretty good book, and I'm going to use it for the class, with strong warnings about the fallability of XHTML. In class, we're going to use HTML 4.01 Strict.