Learn HTML

At one time, I was offering online HTML classes. I have stopped that project, but am still including some information to help you learn HTML here.

What do you need?

First the obvious stuff:

Next the not so obvious stuff:

What everybody wants to know

If I can use an HTML editor like Dreamweaver, why do I need to learn HTML?

You can do some amazing things with Dreamweaver or any HTML editing program. You can also really mess up, especially if you aren't sure about what you are asking the tool to do. There is a good reason why the HTML editors advertise "round-trip HTML" and brag about how you can write in the HTML source code one moment and edit visually in the main window the next. The reason is because you will need to get your hands into the HTML source now and then to make things work right, even with the best of tools. If you don't know HTML, you can't tweak the things that need it, and you can't figure out how to fix it when things don't "look right."

Really good web designers know HTML cold. They use the HTML editing tools for production: to increase ease, speed and efficiency. The reason they can use the tools that way is because they know HTML cold. Web pages are built with HTML. To be really good at building web pages, you have to be really good at HTML.

If you want to be the Little Pig whose home remains standing when the Big Bad Wolf of the internet comes huffing and puffing at your door, you need to build your virtual home of bricks. Those bricks are HTML.

Can you learn from a book without a teacher there to answer your questions? Here are some books and websites I recommend for self-teaching.

Writing HTML

HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS by Elizabeth Castro. This Visual Quickstart Guide is very inexpensive for a computer book. This is absolutely the best HTML book you can find. Those two facts combined make it a best buy. It explains HTML and CSS and gives it all to you in a simple visual format that you can understand. I have bought every edition of this book since the first one and it just continues to get better, as well as to keep up with the changes in HTML.

HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide by Chuck Musciano. If you take my class you will learn to write valid, well-formed HTML that passes the qualifications for XHTML in every way. You will, in fact, learn to write XHTML in my class. This book explains the difference between the two markup languages. If you learn valid, well-formed HTML from the start, you won't have any problems with XHTML.

Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide by Eric Meyer. This book goes into detail about CSS, and gives information about what has and has not been implemented by the browser manufacturers so you can more quickly find out what will and will not work using styles. You will learn how to use CSS in my class.

Working with Images

Photoshop 7 Savvy by Steve Romaniello. This is an excellent book that gives you image files with hands-on exercises to work through to learn the various Photoshop techniques. It is filled with much more than basic tutorials, however. It is also a reference, a source of inspiration, and a guide to graphics and color.

Web Design as design

Creative HTML Design.2 (with CD-ROM) by Lynda Weinman. This book is helpful if you are in need of a bit of creative inspiration. Lynda Weinman's books are very easy to use.

The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams. If you don't have much art background, this book is very helpful. It will help you understand how to lay out a page so that everything hangs together and looks right in design terms. It gives excellent, easy to understand examples that really show you how to achieve good design. Robin Williams also wrote a non-designer book for web designers. Look for it, too.

Useful information for web site creators

JavaScript for the World Wide Web by Dori Smith. You will quickly discover that most web pages are a mixture of HTML and some scripting language such as JavaScript. This is another of the excellent Visual Quickstart Guides that give you the information and shows it to you visually as well.

Web Sources

Web Teacher. Book reviews and resources for teaching and learning Web design.

CNET Builder. Again, a site with dozens of how to articles and instruction in the building of the web.

Rob Schluter's Tag List. Every HTML tag is listed here with a description of how to write it and what it looks like when used. A great resource.