18 August 2004 10 am | 4 pm est

In today’s Report:
Like an HTML virgin
Elizabeth Castro’s new book teaches beginners web design basics the right way.
Pop a cap
Wired.com rethinks an element of style.

Like an HTML virgin

Last year, a friend with no knowledge of HTML, eager to create her first website, asked me to recommend a book that would help her learn what she needed to know. Nothing in my web design library fit the bill. All the books I owned (and a couple I’d written) presumed a certain amount of knowledge and experience. And books targeted at absolute beginners were filled with bad, mid-1990s advice. My friend asked for help and I could not provide it.

Thus it is with pleasure that I recently read and now recommend Elizabeth Castro’s Creating a Web Page With HTML, Visual QuickProject Guide (Peachpit Press, 2004). With simple language and clear illustrations, Castro teaches budding web producers the basics of HTML and CSS in the context of a simple, hands-on project.

This is not a book for the world’s Dunstan Orchards; it is strictly for beginners (but not for dummies). If friends, colleagues, or family members with a desire to learn web design basics and no prior experience ask how to begin, you can safely recommend this book to them.

Pop a cap

Wired.com, Long The Arbiter Of Online Style, Has Finally Rethought Its Insistence On The Initial Capitalization Of Web and Internet. About Time.

In One Of My Favorite Negative Reviews At Amazon, A Reader Blasted One Of My Books On The Grounds That I Was Too Stupid Or Too Ill-Informed To Capitalize “W” When Referring To The Web Or To Web Design Or Web Use or Website. It Wasn’t That I Was Unaware Of Wired’s Recommendations. It’s Just That I Always Preferred My Own Advice, Which Seemed Closer To Normal English Usage And Less Like Weird Archaic Festishism. Not That I’m Gloating. I Would Have Persevered With My Style Approach Anyway. But It’s Nice That Wired Has Come Around.

Previously in The Daily Report...

Bill Asp, promoter of DC punk and new wave bands and founder of Wasp Records, has died at 53. A personal recollection.
Silence and Noise
The mainstreaming of web standards should have freed us to focus on content, design, and usability — but arguments about minutia prevent us from seeing our work whole.

» More »