I’ve been trying to get whatever reference books I can find to learn about HTML 5. Being a seasoned HTML web coder, I was surprisingly refreshed by the “ground up” approach I found in HTML5 Step By Step by Faithe Wempten.
Step by Step takes a very natural progression to learn HTML5. It starts you with the fundamentals of HTML. It teaches you how to code using a simple text editor and a web browser to create and view your web pages. The book slowly builds upon itself, getting into CSS stylesheets, form inputs, and eventually gets into some more advanced formatting techniques with div layouts. The final chapter in the book shows you how to used a more advanced web editing tool (Microsoft Expression Web) to do some of the same tasks you have done earlier. The book also contains a few appendices which aid in broader design issues, such as older browsers, style sheet guidelines, and even markup of pages to assist those that are blind or deaf. A list of old HTML tags that have been “retired” with the arrival of HTML 5 is also listed.
What I really appreciate about this approach is that often times a beginner will jump straight into the advanced web editing tool, without understanding the fundamentals of HTML. When this happens, sometimes code can be cluttered, or errors can be made because the user is often dealing with the “pretty view” of things and not understanding the ramifications of simply dragging items into the work area. In addition, “HTML 5” is an update (an albeit significant one) to the “HTML specification”, and often times books treat HTML 5 as a separate entity. This book treats all “HTML 5” as a “HTML”, only making a few notes indicating what features are new.
Step by Step HTML 5 is a great way for anybody to get started with learning to create web pages, regardless of experience. This book will most likely not be valuable to seasoned HTML programmers, but it is also handy if they want a refresher with HTML, including the features of HTML 5. They will find the appendices helpful that cover design considerations. You can get the book from the O’Reilly site at http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780735645264/