We all learn in different ways. Some of us are readers or writers, some are kinesthetic learners, some prefer video or audio. If you fall into either of the latter two categories, Tantek Çelik’s DVD HTML5 Now (Figure 1) might just be for you.
Personally, I’ve never been keen on video-based learning like this. As such, I wasn’t sure what I’d make of HTML5 Now. It turns out I was pleasantly surprised by the format, the content, and the presentation.
Tantek has an natural, engaging presentation style, and his knowledge of the subject area ranks up there with the best of them. He begins with an interesting historical look at HTML and in turn how HTML5 came to be. This section is full of things you might not know about HTML, let alone HTML5.
A few other thoughts:
- Tantek constantly urges you to get involved and share your experiences.
- The early parts of the DVD contain in-depth background information on elements and attributes.
- Tantek presents a clear, concise introduction to
<ruby>and friends, even explaining how it’s worked in IE for 10+ years!
- He introduces his bulletproof HTML5 syntax (using
<div>s with class names inside new elements).
- The accompanying booklet effectively takes notes for you so you don’t have to. Just sit back and enjoy!
- The DVD also contains the slides shown throughout the presentation and a PDF of the booklet.
- A few tongue-tied moments help keep it real, not staged or forced. It shows Tantek really cares about the subject.
- You’ll get some good tips on when to use the new elements. Additionally, some elements are more stable since the DVD was released.
- Each section is concluded by a brief summary recapping what you’ve learnt.
Words of warning
As is the case with any book or DVD based on the constantly evolving HTML5 specification, parts of the DVD are now out of date. (It was originally released in July 2010.) Look out for these gotchas:
- Certain sections don’t mention browser support.
<u>is now a part of the HTML5 specification.
- The WebM video codec didn’t exist at the time of production.
- There is no mention of form attributes and support for the new input types.
<canvas>is incorrectly described as a vector format (it’s bitmap).
- It’s a shame that Tantek only scratches the surface of
<canvas>, and SVG. They each deserve their own DVD!
I’m still not convinced that DVD is the best format for this type of content. As with print, it goes out of date very quickly. Alternatively, you could simply publish the video(s) on a website and make them available on a subscription basis. That way, outdated information could be updated more regularly. That’s a discussion for another day, though, and I’m sure Tantek would be keen to see it happen.
In my opinion, the DVD is better suited to someone who has some prior knowledge of HTML and HTML5. It’s certainly not for beginners, but it does come recommended. You’ll definitely learn something. I’ll leave you with a video of Tantek (Figure 2) discussing the state of HTML5 at the Voices that Matter Conference just before the DVD was released: