[Air-L] HTML resources for authors by Ian Graham

Ingbert Floyd ifloyd2 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 7 14:54:24 PST 2009

This is more of a tangent to Peter Timusk's post, than a response to
it, but I thought some on this list might be interested...

I've taught a class called "Web Technologies and Techniques" (it
should be called "Introduction to HTML") for the past two years. Ian
Graham's (online) tutorials are extremely well written, but they are a
bit dated. I can only assign selected portions of them or else I
mislead my students. I *really* wish his work had a creative commons
license so that I could modify it and create an up-to-date tutorial
using what he wrote as a strong foundation. Grrr, copyright!

Finding good web resources to teach (yourself) HTML is difficult. If
students need to learn about a particular tag, then the w3schools site
is very good: http://www.w3schools.com/

However, I don't recommend navigating or searching the site. The
tutorials can be ok. The real benefit is if you do a google search of
the form "html table" or "css font-family". Almost always the w3
schools site is the first site, and when it is not, it is usually in
the top 3. Each HTML tag or CSS property has its own page, with
complete instructions regarding how to use it properly. It is an
invaluable resource.

As far as tutorials go, the best one that is mostly updated is Dave
Raggett's introduction to HTML & CSS tutorials:


The problem is that it is a bit bare-bones, and you can tell that he
wrote most of it before the distinction between descriptive and
presentational markup became important in HTML, though he has updated
it so that it is technically correct.

Aside from those, I have found good internet resources fairly scarce.
I am tempted to write my own, but I don't have the time. What's
interesting from a research point of view, is that there are a *lot*
of online tutorials for HTML & CSS. Most of them are really bad, *not*
because they are poorly written and do a poor job of teaching, but
rather because they were written way back before the distinction
between presentational and descriptive markup became important in
HTML. Thus, most of them recommend extremely poor HTML coding
practices, and few of them mention CSS. Oddly enough, the CSS
tutorials often seem to assume that you already are a crackerjack web
designer. The javascript pages are usually even worse. I now totally
understand why most website builders learn via a
problem-based-google-searching approach. I should point out, I have
not looked at these sites systematically. This impression is culled
from looking at the top google hits of various searches I have done
while trying to find materials to aid in teaching my course.

For those of you interested in my class, last year's incarnation can
be found here:


I will be reorganizing it and hopefully updating some material for
next year (as well as tweaking the grading scheme a bit).

For those of you interested in buying a book, I strongly recommend:

Freeman, Elizabeth; Freeman, Eric (2006). Head First HTML with CSS &
XHTML. O'Reilly Media, Inc.: Beijing, China.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn close.


On Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 7:24 PM, Peter Timusk <ptimusk at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> I think Ian Graham wrote some great HTML books in the 1990's. Is anyone
> studying the computer self help press?
> here are some titles that are only pennies used from Amazon
> If a few bucks is still too much you read his online tutorial
> http://www.utoronto.ca/webdocs/HTMLdocs/NewHTML/intro.html
> Old but still useful
> The Html Sourcebook: A Complete Guide to Html 3.0 (Paperback)
> by Ian S. Graham (Author), Ian S Graham (Author)
> http://www.amazon.com/Html-Sourcebook-Complete-Guide-3-0/dp/0471142425/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236388286&sr=8-1
> Html 4.0 Sourcebook (Paperback)
> by Ian S. Graham (Author) "What is a text markup language?..." (more)
> http://www.amazon.com/Html-4-0-Sourcebook-Ian-Graham/dp/0471257249/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236388386&sr=8-3
> I am trying to start reading this one
> HTML Stylesheet Sourcebook (Sourcebooks) (Paperback)
> by Ian S. Graham (Author)
> http://www.amazon.com/HTML-Stylesheet-Sourcebook-Sourcebooks-Graham/dp/0471196649/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236388435&sr=8-5
> BTW I do not know Ian or have any monetary connection to him nor really
> academic beyond learning from his great books and always available online
> tutorial.
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Ingbert Floyd
PhD Student
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
http://ingbert.org/     ||     skype/twitter/etc.: spacesoon

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