How to Learn HTML on Your Own

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In Brief...

There are plenty of free and cheap resources for learning HTML. Here we provide some tips for finding the most popular up-to-date tutorials and books.

Instructions

Are you new to web design/development?

If you are new to web design or development or if you have only used WYSIWIG editors like Dreamweaver and you want to learn to code your own pages, learning HTML is the right place to start. So, read on.

How to Choose an HTML Tutorial

There are plenty of free HTML tutorials to choose from on the web. When evaluating an HTML tutorial, you should consider the following:

  1. Is it up to date? - HTML has changed a lot over the years. You want to make sure you're using a tutorial that teaches modern HTML and doesn't teach you a lot of bad practices that are no longer used.
  2. Does it get you coding quickly? - While it's fine (even good) if the tutorial starts with some context (e.g., what is the roll of HTML and how does it fit into the bigger picture of web development), we like tutorials to get you into the code pretty quickly. You will have time to learn about the history of HTML, but you should start by digging in and getting your hands dirty.
  3. Is it comprehensive? - A good HTML tutorial will, at a minimum, cover the following topics:
    • Tags and Attributes
    • Block and Inline Elements
    • Links
    • Images
    • Lists
    • Tables
    • Forms

In addition to our own free HTML tutorial (which has no ads), we recommend these other tutorials:

  1. HTML Dog's HTML Beginner Tutorial - a nice clean tutorial that covers the right content and doesn't have too many ads.
  2. w3schools' HTML(5) Tutorial - a solid HTML tutorial with try-it-yourself examples.
  3. Shay Howe's Learn to Code HTML & CSS - Shay does a good job integrating HTML with CSS, which arguably should be learned together.

How to Choose an HTML Book

It seems like every week there is a new HTML book released. On our last check, Amazon listed 5,602 HTML books and 260 in the last 12 months. Here's an excellent way to find a good introduction to HTML book on Amazon.com. Once you identify the book you want, you can buy it from anywhere you like:

  1. Go to Amazon's Advanced Book Search.
  2. For Title, enter "HTML".
  3. For Subject, select "Computers & Technology" so you just get books about HTML programming (and not about How To Make Lasagna).
  4. For the Pub Date fields, enter "After", "Jan", "2014". This will ensure that most of the results account for HTML5 and that they're recent enough so that all of the content in an introductory book will still be relevant.
  5. For Sort Results by, select "Bestselling". You might be tempted to select "Avg. Customer Review", but that will result in a lot of noise as many of the books that have high average reviews only have a couple of ratings. So, your form should look like this:

    HTML Book Search
  6. Press Search
  7. On the left-hand side of the resulting search results page, under Audience, click Beginners & Seniors to filter out the books targeting experienced programmers:

    HTML Book Search: Beginners
  8. Finally, select one of the top books that looks appealing to you. You may want to use the Look Inside feature and read some of the reviews to make sure it feels like a fit.

Even with these search parameters, you get a lot of noise. If you want to skip the search and just buy a book, Murach's HTML5 and CSS3 is a good option.

And, of course, if you're looking for professional HTML training, please check out our courses listed below.

Happy HTML Learning!

Author: Nat Dunn

Nat Dunn founded Webucator in 2003 to combine his passion for web development with his business expertise and to help companies benefit from both.

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