Two cutting-edge web technologies, two water-related metaphors, two print and electronic book guides. HTML5 and Google Wave seem to have a lot in common these days.
The Dive Into HTML5 site is the hub of Mark Pilgrim’s drafts for his book of the same name. He’s uploaded 4 chapters so far, and lays the foundation for building HTML5 pages from the ground up.
Aside from the excellent typesetting—feels wondrous to read it like a classic book, complete with old style illustrations and drop caps from public domain images—web designers and developers will definitely appreciate how the text will remain under a shareable, remixable Creative Commons license even when the dead-tree version comes out.
The Complete Guide to Google Wave site is also an unofficial guide to new Google product Wave. It’s created by Lifehacker editors Gina Trapani and Adam Pash, with 8 chapters and two appendices on maximizing the power of this real-time tool.
It’s published on a wiki, and true to its collaborative spirit and Wave’s, everyone is encouraged to contribute to the Guide. The DRM-free PDF comes out this month; the book version in January 2010.
Grab your copy
Publishing the contents of an entire book online is not new, and it is akin to artists give their music away digitally but charge for the physical version. But it garners attention because it’s not the same format as the constantly-updated blogs that pop up when hot, profitable topics do. You can rent these books online at textbook rental sites.
So compared to blogs, does the “online book” metaphor work? The wiki format does seem like a good way to go, but I would think the convenience of blogs both in the front and back ends wins out.
The more important questions however: will others follow in the footsteps of Mark Pilgrim, Gina Trapani, and Adam Pash? Which types of books should have an all-access web counterpart? When is it profitable enough to do so? As a consumer and a lover of all things free, it’s an attractive and admirably fearless choice.