I first saw the web in my final year of university in 1993-94. All the cool kids (bear in mind, this was a Computer Science department) were playing with a strange bit of software called Mosaic on their Sun 4 workstations. I had some fun with it and created my first web page (a guide to Edinburgh pubs), but it didn’t strike me as anything more than a curiosity and it certainly didn’t measure up to “proper” document preparation formats like LaTeX. It’s not the first time I’ve been completely wrong about technology—and it won’t be the last!
I went back to experimenting with websites in 1997, a full-on blinking, scrolling plethora of tacky animated gifs which is thankfully long lost. As I learned more about the web I stopped seeing it as a poor-quality typesetting system and started seeing it as a great equalizer. Not only was visiting a web page something anyone could do, making a web page was also something anyone could do. Since then I’ve been on a mission, not only to learn as much as I can about making web pages, but to help others learn how to make them, and this book is a natural extension of that mission.
HTML5 and CSS3 are fascinating to me not only because of their technical features, but because they represent growth in the web platform after several years of stagnation. The more the web can do, the more content can be shared across the world by ordinary people like you and me.