In search of the perfect HTML tutorial

As you might know, MDN is running a big project, code-named “Learning Area“. The main objective of that project is to make MDN more friendly for people who wish to start their journey in the world of web development.

I already told you about the project in this blog last year, but where are we now? Well, we are in a fairly good shape: We have a glossary of the most common terms used in web development (more than 200 and counting) and we have two very comprehensive tutorials: a generic “Getting Started With the Web” for those who have no idea where to start, and a more complete “How to build a web site” for those who want to get into it straight away.

This is a good start but it is far from complete. This year we will dig into what is at the heart of MDN: Web technologies. All through the year, we will build or refresh our tutorials for getting started with the main web technologies: HTML, JavaScript, CSS and SVG. The idea is to provide comprehensive content, interactive exercises, and self-assessment tools to learn those technologies. It won’t be easy but if we work all together it’s doable.

Our first action is to build a full HTML tutorial. Why this one first? Well, there are two reasons for starting with this one:

  • First, HTML is the entry point to all the other technologies. Without HTML, other technologies can be used but are close to useless inside a browser.
  • Second, HTML is the only basic technology that has no getting-started tutorial on MDN. JavaScript, CSS and SVG have tutorials on MDN (okay, mostly out of date, but they’re better than nothing). So it makes sense to us to start with that technology.

Building such a tutorial is not simple and we need all the help we can get, including yours. If you want to help us shape the HTML tutorial, now is the right moment to step up. Helping is really simple:

  1. If you want discuss the plan and the content of the new HTML tutorial, you are welcome to discuss it on the dev-mdc mailing list.
  2. If you want to provide feedback and follow up on our plan, we are taking raw notes on a dedicated Etherpad (feel free to comment and edit).

MDN is awesome for seasoned developers. Let’s make it awesome for beginners as well.