New book: HTML & CSS - The easy path

Did you know you can write web pages, too?

New year, new book!

During the last holiday season this winter, some friends of mine started to ask about my job and I ended up telling them HTML and CSS can be pretty easy to learn and fun to work with.

They didn’t believe me, and challenged me to show them I was telling the truth.

Since I like challenges, if they are about something I love, I doubled up and decided to write a new ebook.

HTML & CSS - The easy path.

HTML & CSS - The easy path. Get it on Leanpub.com.

Let me explain it better with an abstract from the introduction of the book, which you can download for free – along with the first two chapters – from its page on Leanpub.

Baby steps, or: Introduction

Image by Paul Inkles: http://www.visioncreation.co.uk/ used under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I started being online, on the Internet, in 1996.
I also started learning HTML, the HyperText Markup Language, in 1996.

Those were the days of “Wow! How is it done?” and of “Let me check what happens if I right click… just… here.” and then a promising View HTML menu item would appear to bring you in the realm of the unknown.

As it happens, nothing has changed.

HTML is still there – although now tightly coupled with its Best Friend Forever the CSS, Cascading Style Sheets – and its importance has not decreased.

You learn HTML and CSS because:

  • you want to know how websites are done
  • you want to tame any tool which writes HTML and CSS for you
  • you want to learn from the masters, reading their code
  • you want that feel only a true creator really experiences

In 2014, if you want to learn HTML and CSS you have great resources at your disposal all over the web. Both free and on sale.

What you didn’t have, it’s a guide which is pragmatic and to-the-point, somewhat funny to go through, and puts together your first steps with HTML and CSS in a single, easy, path.

If that’s what you think you need to learn something new, and that something is HTML and CSS, I’m writing this book for you.

To let you learn the basics, being able to create something which is yours and it’s a good start, and have some fun in the process.

What’s ahead

First things first, by Chapter 2 you’ll have put together the tools of the trade and then used them to publish online your first simple page, because that’s what this is all about.

The next couple chapters will focus on what defines a minimal HTML document, but they will also quickly go on showing the first group of useful HTML elements.
Those you’ll use well and often, and soon enough they will become like a second language to you.

Meanwhile, throughout the whole book you’ll also keep excercising with simple hands-on tasks which will immediately give you the opportunity to put to good use what you just learned.

It will be then time to introduce the CSS, quickly showing the most useful properties in the topics of typography, positioning, and more.
Then, having learned about positioning, you’ll see the common elements of a classic layout, the not-so-common elements of a classic layout, and a solid introduction to some – guess what? – classic types of layout.

"Understanding CSS layouts is way easier than intergalactic rocket science." – James T. Kirk. Image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/cardoso/ used under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

By the following chapter it will be about time to cheat a bit, and you’ll encounter the magic of CSS grid systems which basically do all the dirty work from the previous chapter and leave only the fun parts for you to enjoy.

After a couple more useful HTML elements like forms, tables, and others, there will come my favorite chapter – with subsequent hands-on time – where you’ll have some fun with background images, gradients, borders, and shadows.

Next to the end you’ll learn about web fonts and icon fonts, which are two of my favorite innovations of the last years and together can greatly improve the beauty and usability of any web page.

I’ll bid you farewell with a chapter about the next steps, where to go after you close this book and how to keep on learning and having fun with HTML and CSS.

Oh. One more thing ™ …

There are also three appendixes:

  1. An introduction to Responsive Web Design and Mobile First.
    Devised for the first time in 2010 by Ethan Marcotte, the Responsive Web Design approach changed for ever how we think of a web pages and pushed the whole industry forward with a renewed thirst for a universal web where devices of various sizes and capabilities coexist to form a digital ecosystem.
  2. An introduction to Bootstrap, the CSS framework
    Bootstrap is the most popular front-end framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web.
  3. An introduction to JavaScript
    JavaScript is a scripting language every major browser understands. It is primarly used to add a behavioral layer on top of the semantic and presentational layers provided by HTML and CSS.
    This separation of concerns, is one of the pillars of progressive enhancement.

Progressive enhancement as in http://alistapart.com/article/understandingprogressiveenhancement by Aaron Gustafson

You know, just to give you an idea of what’s still out there for you to conquer.

And now… action!