HTML Books: Why bother?

Subject: HTML Books: Why bother?
From: Nancy Hoft <nhoft -at- WORLD-READY -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 05:17:57 +0000

Hello John,

I'm a coauthor of The Web Page Design Cookbook and what I'm about to
recommend might sound a bit odd because of this, but I teach this
stuff all over the US and I'm convinced that your best resource
for learning and keeping up with this insane technology that changes
every second is to learn it online. Forget about the books!

If you really want hard core HTML syntax explanations, then you have
only one choice as far as I am concerned. The official HTML Document
Type Definition (DTD) at w3c.org. Nasty document, but everything
there is to know is in there. And the site has copies of every iteration, from
1.0 on up past 3.2 of HTML so you can learn a bit of the etymology,
if you will, of HTML.

If you want to learn the Netscapisms and Microsoftisms (yuck to my
phrasing), then you shouldn't waste your time or money on a book.
Surf the Web! Everything you could possibly want to know has been
carefully documented at Netscape and Microsoft's respective sites and
they even give you links to Web pages by other folks who have
presented the same info with different phrasing.

The next thing I'd recommend is to use some of the HTML syntax
checkers and pay attention to the output. Another good way to learn.

And the technique that all diehard Web authors use is find a
collection of pages whose design you like and are curious about and
just View Source. Study the syntax and learn how they author created
the page.

There's a fabulous WinHelp-based presentation on HTML syntax by
Stephen Le Hunte. Has everything you requested in your email.
You can download it at:

http://subnet.virtual-pc.com/~le387818/

And there are plenty more excellent online references where this came
from. I have a pretty good list going of these and more so I can keep
up with the technology. See http://www.world-ready.com/readlist.htm
if you're interested.

But a book, especially when you want syntax, examples, and so on,
well, why bother? As we knew when we wrote the Cookbook, it's out of
date the minute it goes to press.

Cheers, Nancy Hoft

~~ N A N C Y H O F T ~~
WORLD READY http://www.world-ready.com/
601 West Douglass Avenue nhoft -at- world-ready -dot- com
Houghton, Michigan 49931-2328 USA +1 906.482.5658
International Technical Communication & Web Publishing


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