Last week I didn't do any coding as I've had a pain in my arm that is exacerbated by typing, so I've been keeping that to an absolute minimum.
I did however pop down to Brighton for an afternoon to sit in on a front-end meeting at Clearleft and then have a pint and a chat with Jeremy Keith on the state of the web, learning HTML, and more. Gave me some tasty food for thought.
I mentioned to him some of my thinking around the book, which I'll also share with you. I call it a "book", but really it should be more like a combination of blog and wiki. I intend to discuss and track new developments in HTML, try to teach how I think about HTML and also be a reference. HTML concepts and elements will have fixed URLs (because they are cool) but the content within them will evolve as HTML does. But the "book" part comes because at some point there will be download links to get the primary content for offline consumption, archiving or anything else that might be useful. Probably as PDF and ePub.
And it will be available for free. No ads, no sponsorships, nothing to confuse or trick you into clicking away and making me a couple of pennies. Sure, maybe I'll have a tip jar or make a couple of pounds off of print-on-demand copies. But I still consider the web to be the most liberating technology and don't want to limit my audience to just those who can afford it. After all, this is for everyone.
Greenspun reiterated his support for Morgan Kaufmann, but added that the publisher was not important. Instead, he said, I should make sure to negotiate permission to make the book available for free on my web site. He told me that compared with the effort that you put into the book, the money you get back is insignificant. So if you write a book it should not be because you want to make a lot of money from it but because you have an idea that you want to present to the world. And as an author, you owe it to yourself to get your idea in front of as many people as possible. By putting the book in your web site, you make it available to many people who would not otherwise have access to it: poor people, high school students, people in developing countries, and so on.