HTML | GWEN BELL

HTML is one of the most fundamental building blocks of the web. It's up there with tcp/ip, http, email, and the Linux kernel in importance. Without HTML the web would be a bunch of unformatted text files that we'd have to sort through on a day to day basis with no sense of structure or style.

Being that HTML's so important, why does no one seem to know how to write HTML?

The reason is I think a lot of people either missed the boat, or forgot. The glory days of HTML a long behind us, lost to '90s nostalgia with Kurt Cobain and OK Computer. There's no enthusiasm about HTML anymore. All of the good old websites that used to teach HTML straight up are long gone.

And the reason is, in part, this idea that computers and the web should be easy. The web should be so easy that a toddler can do it. And it is! It's not so difficult for a toddler to type into a <textarea> and hit the <button>Submit</button>. And it's also quite easy for the rest of the Internet thumbing generation who was either too young or two old to be waiting for the Internet to load over a 56k modem. The people who learned HTML years ago.

The trouble is that HTML's still a necessary skill. Thumbing and clicking will only get you so far on the web. If you want to experience more, if you want to do more, if you want to build something that you own and control you're going to have to learn the necessary skills to drop deeper into the stack.

And the first level of the stack is HTML. It's a requirement. You can't go banging your head against JavaScript and Node.js and all of the cooler things in the stack such as the Jade templating language and Markdown without first wrapping your mind around HTML.

Which is why we have this book. HTML: Gwen Bell. Gwen Bell was there when it all started. Which, for her, was right after Livejournal was acquired and got oddles of advertisements. Lost on the mean streets of the open Internet, without a digital friend to turn to, Gwen Bell battoned down the hatches, bought a whole bunch of HTML books and learned how to code HTML as if her Yoga studio depended on it.

Now, a million digital years later, she's decided to write a book that teaches you the basics of HTML the straight up way.

At this point you're probably saying "I don't want to know all about that tech stuff." Good, go thumb your screen a few more times and type into some boxes. You can stay on the simplenet for simple people.

The rest of us will be coding an Internet that we want to live in. Starting with learning HTML.

–Ev Bogue