Book Review: HTML5 for Web Designers

There’s an underlying belief throughout the non-tech-savvy that computer and Web programmers are a secluded, arrogant group; fiercely loyal to their language, looking out for themselves, unable to share their findings lest they make themselves obsolete. It’s this belief that leads us to stop trusting our company’s IT department and automatically mistrust the kid Web developer signed on to work our church Web sites.

What I’ve Read:

HTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy Keith

It’s not necessarily true.

In my experience, Web developers aren’t maniacally protective of their knowledge, but simply frustrated that no one else is bothering to commiserate. When you show up with the ultimate in ignorance – like asking a CSS expert to help you get rid of spyware, or expecting a .Net developer to automatically help you purchase a digital SLR camera – you’re not facing arrogance.

You’re facing exhaustion. That expert? He or she is simply tired of being misunderstood.

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered over the past two months in Web development, it’s that Web developers want to talk about Web development. They want to share their secrets, often to the point that your eyes glaze over.

Ask a pointed question, though, and you’ll discover something even greater: the Web developer’s desire to spread knowledge. Which brings us to A List Apart’s first publication, HTML5 for Web Designers – a short and easy to digest primer on the changes being made through HTML’s newest iteration.

As a Web guy whose exposure to HTML and CSS has come exclusively from the routine hacking of free WordPress templates, HTML5 for Web Designers dives into the subject at my level – highlighting the changes and features of code that could change how the Web is organized and developed. Even better, it does so in a way that’s akin to the “spreading the gospel” model of Web talk – 100% devoted to letting the reader understand the code.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not going to make my mom understand Web development.

That being understood, it’s a wonderful look inside the mind of a development evangelist; Keith’s knowledge takes a 900-page slog of a standards guide and boils it down to the 80-some pages you’ll actually need to read.

Because, you see, developers don’t aim to make people feel dumb. At least, not as long as we’re willing to listen and make a concerted effort to understand.

It’s our inability to grasp the nuances of technology that’ll take care of that for us.

(Originally posted at Black Marks on Wood Pulp.)