Web Standards Curriculum is a free course that aims to teach proper web standards–based web design and development from scratch. The first 21 articles are already online, with 29 more to come.
By the look of them they really do approach web development at absolute ground level, from defining the HTML head and choosing the right doctype (very useful, especially as HTML 5 requires the doctype to be specified properly in order to make sure the browser renders the page in standards mode; currently also imperative in order to make sure IE displays the page in standards and not in quirks mode). The first few articles also cover information architecture, drafting a site wireframe, colour theory and web typography.
I personally think this is a good initiative, it brings a bit of sanity in the world of web development where advanced HTML and CSS tips and tutorials float on the web in all sorts of places but the basics are difficult to come by for a beginner.
The OperaDev site also has a few cool posts in the CSS, accessibility, SVG, widgets, XML and development for mobile browsers categories, so it’s well worth a visit.
HTML 5 vs. HTML 4
Since I am on about HTML standards, I figured it’s worth mentioning W3′s HTML5 differences from HTML4. Not applicable quite yet, as the browsers won’t support all these new tricks for a while, but it makes for an interesting read.
I found some of the new structural tags particularly interesting. For example the new “nav” tag “represents a section of the document intended for navigation”. Now wouldn’t that be useful in search engine optimisation for search engines to be able to make sense between navigation and page content?
Also, the “aside” tag allows the author to mark a specific section as only slightly related to the rest. SO very useful when one has to include bits of content on a given page that are necessary for whatever reason but dilute the page topic from an SEO point of view.
OK, enough rambling, but you have to admit: the web is becoming a very exciting place.