Free HTML Books

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HTML Books

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is used to create web pages and other information that is intended for display in a web browser. Each markup code is known as an element or a tag. The web developer uses these elements to describe and define the content of a webpage. The elements tell the web browser how to display the information (both text and images) to the user.

HTML has seen a number of revisions. HTML5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard. HTML5 makes for a rich user experience with the <canvas> and <SVG> elements, native elements <video> and <audio> which allow video and audio to be placed directly in the HTML code. Other important new features include web storage, which offers a more secure and faster alternative than cookies, and geolocation, the heart of every location-based application.

HTML is the markup language, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) determines how it is rendered, and JavaScript is the programming language. HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript are open, efficient and reliable web standards and allow web designers to create advanced web sites with creative graphics, animations, transitions and typography.

We publish a series covering the best open source programming books for other popular languages. Read them here.

Dive Into HTML5

Dive into HTML5

By Mark Pilgrim (Online)

Dive Into HTML5 elaborates on a hand-picked selection of features from the HTML5 specification and other fine standards. This book focuses solely on HTML5, not previous versions of HTML, and not any version of XHTML.

Chapters cover:

  • Introduction – explains that HTML5 is a collection of individual features such as canvas, video, local storage, and geolocation, that it’s easy to ‘upgrade’ to HTML5, and well supported by popular web browsers
  • History of HTML5 – includes an account of why HTML piques the author’s interest
  • Detecting HTML5 Features – looks at detection techniques, Modernizr (an HTML5 detection library), canvas, canvas text, video, video formats, local storage, web workers, offline web applications, geolocation, input types, placeholder text, form autofocus, microdata, and HTML5 history API
  • What Does It All Mean? – takes an HTML page that has absolutely nothing wrong with it, and improves it
  • Let’s Call It a Draw(ing Surface) – focuses on the canvas element
  • Video in a Flash – HTML5 defines a standard way to embed video in a web page, using a <video> element
  • You Are Here (And So Is Everybody Else) – looks at geolocation, the art of figuring out where you are in the world and (optionally) sharing that information with people you trust
  • Persistent local storage – HTML5 storage, a specification named Web Storage. It’s a way for web pages to store named key/value pairs locally, within the client web browser
  • Taking it Offline – talks about offline web applications, the cache manifest, the offline application cache, and builds the Halma game (introduced in the canvas chapter) offline
  • A Form of Madness – looks at web forms and the new input types used in HTML5
  • “Distributed”, “Extensibility,” And Other Fancy Words – focuses on microdata, annotates the DOM with scoped name/value pairs from custom vocabularies
  • Manipulating History for Fun & Profit – the HTML5 history API
  • Appendix: The All-In-One Almost-Alphabetical Guide to Detecting Everything
  • Appendix: HTML5 Peeks, Pokes, and Pointers

This online work is released under the CC-BY-3.0 license. There’s also a printed version to buy titled “HTML5: Up & Running” which is not released under a freely distributable license.

DOM Enlightenment

DOM Enlightenment

By Cody Lindley (180 pages)

DOM Enlightenment is an exhaustive book written about Document Object Model (DOM) scripting without the use of a library/framework.

Chapters cover:

  • Node Overview – covers node object types, sub-node objects inherit from the Node object, properties and methods for working nodes, identifying the type and name of a node, getting a nodes value, creating element and text nodes using JavaScript methods, creating and adding element and text nodes to the DOM using JavaScript strings, extracting parts of the DOM tree as JavaScript strings, and more
  • Document Nodes – including HTMLDocument properties and methods, document child nodes, and detecting DOM specifications/features using document.implementation.hasFeature()
  • Element Nodes – Elements in an HTML document all have a unique nature and as such they all have a unique JavaScript constructor that instantiates the element as a node object in a DOM tree
  • Element Node Selecting – leverages querySelector() and getElementById() to select an element node from the HTML document
  • Element Node Geometry & Scrolling Geometry
  • Element Node Inline Styles
  • Text Nodes – shows the reader how to create and inktext text nodes, manipulate text modes, remove markup, split a text node
  • DocumentFragment Nodes – the creation and use of a DocumentFragment node provides a light weight document DOM that is external to the live DOM tree
  • CSS Style Sheets & CSS rules – examining CSSStyleRule, inserting and deleting CSS rules in a style sheet, creating a new inline CSS style sheet and more
  • JavaScript in the DOM – inserting and executing JavaScript
  • DOM Events – looks at the event flow, adding and removing event listeners, stopping the event flow, and custom events
  • Creating dom.js – a wishful jQuery inspired DOM Library for modern browsers

The DOM Enlightenment HTML version is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 unported license.

HTML5 Shoot 'Em Up in An Afternoon

HTML5 Shoot ’em Up in an Afternoon

By Bryan Bibat (95 pages)

HTML5 Shoot ’em Up in an Afternoon is targeted at individuals who want to learn the basic concepts behind creating games. As a workshop manual, it’s also for experienced developers interested in introducing those concepts to those people.

The book introduces the reader to HTML5 and game development by constructing a shoot-em-up game similar to the classic game 1942. The book offers good coverage on sprites, player actions, object groups, refactoring, expanding the game, and more.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

HTML5 Quick Learning Guide

HTML5 Quick Learning Guide

By HTML5Templates (6 pages)

HTML5 Quick Learning Guide is a terse and concise book that helps the reader learn to migrate from HTML/XHTML to HTML5.

The book examines the main structural elements frequently used in HTML5.

HTML5 Quick Learning Guide is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. As the author’s website is now defunct, we locally host a PDF copy of the book. Click the above link to download the book.

NOTE: The following books are released under a proprietary license. O’Reilly publishes some excellent free-to-read books. In no particular order:

  • Programming 3D Applications with HTML5 and WebGL – create high-performance, visually stunning 3D applications for the Web, using HTML5 and related technologies such as CSS3 and WebGL.
  • Web Audio API – provides a high-level overview of a number of important features of the Web Audio API.
  • HTML5 Canvas – learn how to draw, render text, manipulate images, and create animation—all in the course of building several interactive web games throughout the book. There are 53 interactive examples and exercises.

Other notable free-to-read books:


Ada, Assembly, Awk, Bash, C, C++, C#, Clojure, CoffeeScript, ECMAScript, Erlang, Forth, Fortran, Go, Haskell, HTML, Java, JavaScript, LaTeX, Lisp, Logo, Lua, OCaml, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Rust, Scala, Scheme, Scratch, SQL, Swift, TeX, VimL

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