HTML Authoring References and Links

I have gathered the following list of reference documents and web page links primarily for my own use. But I have posted this page in hopes that others might also find these resources useful. While I believe this list is valuable and useful, there is another web site that is almost certainly more complete and/or up to date. I discovered their site while doing research to update my own. Their site is kept up by a community effort, not just one person. I assure you that they can keep their pages more up to date than than my meager site. Please visit WebStandards.ORG. The group that maintains these pages holds to the same ideals that I have tried to promote on my own web pages. The primary theme is, For any information to be of value, it must be accessible.

The Web Standards Project is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards that ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all.

If you are still reading, welcome and I hope you do find valuable information here. If there is something you are looking and you don't find it here, feel free to drop me an e-mail and I'll consider an update. Then go and search the W3C's site. If you read something that does not make sense or conflicts with some web standard, please let me know.

Introduction

The starting point for all references to Web Design has to be the W3C's WebDesign pages. If you read nothing else, please read the section What is HTML? and some of the links available there. From there they have areas for HTML & CSS.

W3C also publishes the definative declarations for several web standards. The offers links to the specifications for HTML 4.01, XHTML Basics, XHTML 1.0, and XHTML 1.1

The "Any Browser Campaign"

I stand with those who believe that all web pages should be authored with the goal that they be viewable with ANY browser. Many web authors are aware of quirks which are unique to each of the web browsers, particularly Internet Explorer, Safari and the Netscape/Mozilla family of browsers. These are not the only browsers which have varied from the defined standards. One could write a web page to take advantage of these browser specific features. But this limits your audience and can frustrate your readers, if they happen to be on one of the browsers you did not plan for.

Of course the natural extension of the goal of readability using any browser is accessability by any reader. Different people choose different browsers for their wandering of the web for different reasons. When the reason is accessibility, this could mean a blind person using a browser that converts the web document by speech synthesizers and braille devices. In order to make my pages truly accessible, I need to learn more about XHTML. When I run validation test against my latest pages I try to run accessibility tests as well.

And finally, we must not forget the mobile user. When I first posted this page, this paragraph would have been nearly irrelevent. But today, there are so many DROID, Blackberry and iPhone users out there, that web developers must consider how their web site will be seen by a mobile web user. This is an area that I am still trying to really understand. Now that I myself use a DROID phone, it will be easier for me to test my own pages for mobile web accessability.

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My Recommendations

I need to preface all this by saying that my pages are written with a bias toward web servers in use here at Fermilab where I work. Most of what you read here could be useful to web authors anywhere. But some of the suggestions and some of the links may only be of use to those of us putting up pages on Fermialb web servers.

Fermilab Web Servers

Authors putting together pages to be served from the Fermilab web servers should review The World Wide Web at Fermilab. This has many links to the documentation made available by the Computing Division, such as Options for Web Publishing at Fermilab. Not all the pages served there are available from off-site network addresses.

Validation Tools from W3C

In order for web pages to be accessible and viewable from any browser, the source document must follow the Web Standards. Who knows the standards better than W3C who publishes and maintains those standards. The following tools allow you to validate your web documents against the standards.

ClaimId.com registration service ClaimId.com

In January of 2007, I visited a site called ClaimId.com. I found this through a link on the web site of an individual I was corresponding with. The idea is that one link the web sites/pages that contain content either written by you or about you. Then if someone, say perhaps a prospective employer, were to do a Google search looking for pages based on your name, you would have a way to demonstrate which pages out there are written by or about you. Any pages found which are not linked to your 'ClaimId.com' links are most likely related to someone else who may happen to have the same name as you. I believe there are as many as seven different people in Illinois with the same name as me. I have actually corresponded with a gentleman with the same name as me, who also works as a computer professional and who lives about a half hour from my house.

By creating a list of links to sites that are written by you and/or have content about you personally, you make it easier to correct a bad impression should someone mistakenly identify you as associated with someone elses page(s). I suppose it could also be helpful if someone falsely claims credit for your work. For pages that you own, you can bury a unique fingerprint into the source for the web page which demonstrates to the service that you are indeed the person who has control of the content on that page.

My list of pages I can claim is still being developed. They have a nice page of best practices for using ClaimId.com. This includes tips on using search engines to locate all the pages you may need to tag/claim. As well as some useful tools for automatically tracking new references on web sites and blogs which you may want to include on your ClaimId.com listing.

Update Nov 2009: I began a new Blog entitled "de N9KJU", hosted on WordPress.com. One of my first postings there was "Claim your on-line identity" which discusses the value of using a site like ClaimId.com.

Books I recommend

In Feb 2005, I bought a copy of HTML For the World Wide Web (5th Edition) by Elizabeth Castro and published by Peachpit Press. This book covers XHTML and CSS and includes a Visual QuickStart Guide. I picked this book as a reference to help me update many of my early pages. I find the book to be a very handy reference.

In 1999, I bought a copy of "HTML: The Definitive Guide" (3rd Edition) by Chuck Musciano & Bill Kennedy and published by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.. It was very good for what I needed at the time. O'Reilly has a whole library of Web and Internet books. Right up front, they have recommended an on-line resource, The Web Developer's Virtual Library (aka. WDVL). I've visited these pages several times and I must say that I am quite impressed. It is yet to be seen if they can keep these pages up to date with all the latest developments in web development.

Some WDVL Articles of interest include:

The Web Developer's Virtual Library

Pages related to XEmacs editing of HTML documents

A lot of the links that I used to have in this section are now defunct. I have removed those links and searched for newer ones and I find they are quite rare. Apparently, there are fewer of us who use XEmacs for HTML editting than there used to be. If you know of related links that I could add in here, please let me know.

Misc other tools and articles

Recommended by others

Pages by Dave Raggett

Dave has working for/with World Wide Web Consortium for quite some time. He has written several articles, tutorials, and even tools.

Additional sites related to HTML Tidy

Sites recommended by Tony Jest

I first visited Tony's pages while working on my own page of Palm Pilot info. I really like the color/style/layout of Tony's pages.

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