All the i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed and Head First HTML5 Programming goes to the printers on Thursday (September 29th, 2011). Now all the post-book book stuff begins! Eric (my co-author) and I met with some O’Reilly folks yesterday to talk about the book, and one of the things we discussed is what Head First HTML5 Programming is really about.

One of the questions we struggled with when we started the book is What is HTML5? Depending on who you ask, you get different answers! We decided to stick with a fairly loose definition for the book; that is, HTML5 is a term that describes not just the new elements in the language, and their JavaScript APIs (like canvas and video), but also the related collection of JavaScript APIs that you can use to build web apps. Some of these APIs have never been part of the HTML5 specification (like Geolocation), while others used to be in the spec, but have now been pulled out into a separate spec (like Web Storage). In general, however, many people (particularly the press) include that whole collection of APIs when they are talking about HTML5, so that’s what we’ve done in the book.

We also decided that the new structural/semantic elements (like <section> and <article>) would be better described in a book that focuses on the HTML language, and we already have one of those: Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. So we’re going to add those new elements to that book (coming soon in a 2nd edition), and we focus entirely on how JavaScript powers HTML5 in Head First HTML5 Programming.

Screenshot from Head First HTML5 Programming, What you can do with JavaScript

So “programming” really is the focus of this new book. We don’t assume you’ve programmed before, but if you have, that helps. We don’t assume you know JavaScript, but if you do, that’s great. We take you through why and how you can use JavaScript to build all kinds of web apps, and specifically, how to use JavaScript to make use of all those new JavaScript APIs that are part of HTML5: canvas, video, geolocation, web storage and web workers. By the time you finish the book, you won’t be a JavaScript expert, but you’ll be well on your way, and you’ll know how to use it to build some pretty amazing web apps! You’ll create your own custom video player, a fractal explorer, a sticky notes app, and more.

Screenshot from Head First HTML5 Programming, How HTML5 works

I’m excited about HTML5 and JavaScript and I hope everyone who reads this book comes away excited about them too.

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