I’m Giving Away a Copy of My Book, Beginning HTML and CSS


Want a free copy of my book? Sure you do. This month, I’m giving away a copy of my book right here on the blog (on this very post.)

The rules of this contest are simple, simply share an interesting/funny anecdote about your experience interviewing for a technology or agency position (no names or companies needed, blind items are fine.) At the end of October, I’ll pick the best one and you get a free copy of my book, Beginning HTML and CSS. I can’t tell you what kind of story will win, but if you’ve got an interview story that’s funny, creative, cool, inspirational, or whatever share it and you might get some free stuff. This contest is open to anyone in the world with an address. If I can send you a copy of my book using the US Postal Service, you’re eligible.

And heck, even if you’re already an expert and don’t have need of a beginner book, you can certainly hand it off to someone looking to make their own site for the first time or to an engineer from another technology discipline looking to get introduced to the joys of web technology.

Quick Note: I’ve Got a Few Posts on Amazon’s tech.book(store)

I’ve written three articles for them. The first two are up now:

Recommended HTML5 and Open Web Platform Books

In which I recommend books that I think are pretty good for HTML5 and general front end engineering.

Spoiler alert! I recommend my own book. I happen to think it’s pretty good so I’m not going to apologize 🙂

The Modern State of Web Browsers

In which I talk about the current browser landscape. A post which was rendered a little bit out-of-date a week later when Google announced Blink. On the other hand, my concerns about Opera, outlined in the article, have already been addressed. Blink replaces Presto in the rendering engine landscape and creates a more powerful alternative to Webkit than Presto was ever going to be. Boom! Webkit monoculture averted.

I’ve got one more post ready to go, I’m assuming it will drop next week. I’ll be sure to share when it does.

Beginning HTML and CSS is O-U-T

I’ve mentioned it on Google+ and Twitter. I should probably mention it here: Beginning HTML and CSS is out. It came out yesterday.

Here’s proof:


The book looks great. I’m really happy with it.

Are there things I wish I could redo? Sure. Of course. But overall, based on what I had to work with in terms of existing material, time and other obligations, I don’t think I could improve on what’s on the shelves in any significant way.

I’m very proud of the introduction to jQuery chapter. It was written towards the end of the book and was one of the things I was most interested in writing when I started the project. I think the combination of my own interest in the subject and the fact that I had a solid foundation of cranking out 2-4 pages a day for months at a time made for some really good writing. Easy writing to do, but still pretty good.

If you’re a novice web programmer or an experienced programmer who has never used HTML,CSS and JavaScript to build a web front end, I really think this book will be an invaluable guide to get you up and running.

The Next One

Both books I’ve written (and the other book I was writing that got shelved) have had other authors involved. With Professional jQuery I came in, late in the project, with the goal of finishing it off. I spent the whole time on that book reacting to what was there. I think I did some good work there, but it’s not the book I would write if the project were 100% mine. I would have approached it differently from the first chapter. And even putting structure aside, the chapters that I normally would be most interested in writing (the chapters introducing the jQuery API) were already done when I started in on the book. It was a great experience, just not an optimal one.

This book had existing material as well, so I was once again reacting to the structure and content that was already there. The good thing about this experience is that I was able to use what I wanted and had carte blanche to tear things apart if I felt like it would make a better book.

So, with all that in mind, the next book I write is going to be mine from the ground up. That’s really important to me. While I’ll always listen to opportunities in this space, and I try not to say “never” (although… I’d really to say that I’m never using ExtJS again and know that it will be the gospel truth;) I really don’t want to go through this process again unless the book is wholly mine. Too much is invested in this kind of work to not be able to steer the content to the greatest possible degree. Obviously, writing books is collaborative and I’m not just being polite when I thank all the people involved (notably Carol Long, Katherine Burt and Dan Maharry here) there’s still a level of control I’ve yet to achieve having never truly been the sole author of one of these things.

I’d like to do that.

I’d also like it to be shorter. I’d love to write a thinner volume since it’s difficult to maintain book writing pace over a long period of time. 2-300 pages sounds pretty good to me right now.

Not that I know what it would be.

(Rob runs off to think about the next thing)

#$#@ It, We’ll Do It Live.

First off, Happy New Year!

Second off, I finished my second book.

Third off, I’m starting a new job on Monday. More on that later. Teaser? I’ll no longer have to worry about looking too nice at work.

Fourth off, I’m going to try to rework all of my sites this year. Oh snap. I’m starting with this site since it should be a manageable task. I’m working with Skeleton to create a fancy, modern, responsive web site.

Just like the big kids.

As you can see, I’ve already flipped the switch. Release early and often? Something like that. I’m going to customize it over the next few weeks, but after a few hours of tinkering it’s fine for human consumption (that means you, human.)

And, there you have it.

And… the source for the title of this post (NSFW)