Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Aug 25, 2010 - 2 minute read - Comments - html programming web book-review

HTML5 Up and Running

I preordered Mark Pilgrim’s HTML5, Up and Running from Amazon back in March. It’s available for free as Dive into HTML5. I’ve been a fan of Mark’s writing for a while, so buying the book was a way to thank him “with a buck”. Interestingly, the online book and paper book are not identical. For starters, the titles are different. In addition, the beautiful fonts and cutesy images of the online version are gone. The paper book is your run-of-the-mill O’Reilly book. I’m not sure if it’ll make much of a difference in my enjoyment, but we’ll see.

As I said, I preordered the book in March, so I had no idea when it would be finished and delivered. It showed up on my doorstep this morning, on my birthday! We’re on our way to NYC tomorrow for our first trip back there since we moved to North Carolina in 2007, so I know have some light pleasure reading. Perfect Timing!

I’ve only read the first chapter so far, but I think I’m going to love it. I’ve done a lot of web programming in my life, but only maintain my own sites now. I’m reading this book like a programmer might read a book on astronomy… purely for the love of it. The first chapter goes into the details of how the IMG tag was invented. Marc Andreessen mentioned it on a mailing list back in 1993, and after some back and forth, shipped it in Mosaic, an early browser. Because it shipped and because it was popular, it got included in the HTML standards.

I still remember when Mosaic came out. I got my first email address in 1992 ( and somehow was on a mailing list announcing the impending release of Mosaic. I remember the text of the email basically saying that “This will change the world.” Once I saw it, I thought it was cool, but way over-hyped. Who is going to want to wait for pictures to download over a 14.4K modem? Ridiculous. This is why you should not take my advice about new trends.

Anyway, the point of the IMG example is to show that HTML standards have never been “pure”, but have always been influenced by the implementers and the users of the web. The way it should be. HTML5 is an acknowledgment of that fact.

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