HTML5 For Smarties

The HTML5 specification runs on for over 900 pages, and much of what it covers, while vital to browser makers, is meaningless to people who create websites. If thousands of irrelevant details in the HTML5 spec have you crossing your eyes and crying for Mama, Michael™ Smith’s HTML 5: The Markup Language is just what the HTML5 doctor ordered: lean, clean, and content-author-focused. Until there’s a plain-language HTML5 Pocket Guide, Smith’s edited presentation of the spec will do. (It’s also available in a single page format.)


44 thoughts on “HTML5 For Smarties

  1. Oh—my—GOD!

    JOY!!!!!!! =D

    It’s about time the W3C started publishing specs targeted at Web authors. After all, it’s only sensible in keeping with “leading the Web to its full potential”!

    Thanks so much for posting this!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Though I actually like reading specs, I’ve not had time and little motivation to dive into the HTML 5 pool. But now I think I have no excuse!

  3. Sweet! I had been reading the original draft for a while and with its verbosity I misconstrued some key concepts. Short and sweet is easier to digest. Thanks for sharing, Jeffrey.

  4. Note that Mike’s “HTML 5: The Markup Language” guide is intentionally bare-bones, and drops the usage examples and background in the main spec that authors will find useful. It’s a great reference once you know what things mean, but until then another option is to use the “Hide UA text” in the top right box on the WhatWG spec. This removes a lot of the most eyes-glazing-over stuff for authors :)

    Alternatively you can read up on HTML5 at HTML5Doctor (or my humble HTML5 article series ;), then use Mike’s spec as reference.


  5. There’s a static copy of the “hide UA text” view Oli mentioned, at

    (However, the section numbers will be different than from the full spec, since some sections are omitted entirely. So if you’re reviewing it and sending comments, don’t rely on section numbers.)

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  7. The developer’s view style is obviously a good idea, but unfortunately none of the common browsers put alternate styles anywhere obvious (and the last I checked, Internet Explorer doesn’t support it at all). I think what would be keen would be to split the specification so that a bird’s-eye view containing the elements, attributes, and their descriptions come first and then have the implementation details after that.

  8. Wow, I haven’t visited in while nice new design. I miss those old revolving blurry images. Will you be updating another version of your book that deals specifically with 5. I’m way too busy to slog through blog posts and websites. I hope so.

    —Middle Jamerican web geek.

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