Recommended Sites for HTML Authors

Copyright © by Stan Brown (-1999) and Boris Ammerlaan (1999-), M.C.G.V. Stack
(last update: May 2007)


Usenet newsgroup

You can post HTML questions to the newsgroup comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, familiarly known as "c.i.w.a.h". (HTML questions only, please: there are other newsgroups for other aspects of Web authoring.) But first, please check the reference materials shown below, and the newsgroup's Frequently Asked Questions list; a pointer to the list is posted often in the group.

Validating your Web pages

Whether you're a new Web author or have been around a while, you really need to validate your HTML. I favour the W3C validator, but any site that checks your HTML against a DTD is fine.

If your document contains a proper DOCTYPE, you can enter its URL here and have the W3C validator check it for you:

If you're running MS-DOS or Windows, you can get your own validator, so that you can validate your pages without ever leaving your computer. Just download it from James Clark's site.

There's an excellent FAQ on Markup Validation at the W3C's site.

Reference documents

For the ur-documents, see the W3C's official reference spec for HTML 3.2 (alias Wilbur) and CSS1 reference for cascading style sheets.

The Web Design Group maintains a site with lots of useful references and advice. Here are some of the highlights:


The proper form of a URL is explained in RFC 1738. The RFC answers tricky questions like how to include a username in telnet links and a subject line in mailto links. (Hint: you can't include a subject line in mailto links because the RFC doesn't specify any way to do it.)

For relative URLs, like #Usenet and ../images/farfalle.gif, see RFC 1808.

Character entities and numbers

The WDG provides a list of the first 256 entities and ISO character numbers,

Henry Churchyard publishes a list of the Unicode character numbers for curly quotes and true dashes. (Many MS-Windows users are unaware that character numbers € through Ÿ are not legal HTML. Unicode assigns numbers above 255 to those characters.) But be aware that, though the Unicode character numbers are standard, most present-day browsers don't process them correctly.

The Minimum European Subset lists the Unicode characters you're actually likely to need for European languages. A very much larger complete list of Unicode characters is also available. Cautions for both of these:

Tutorials and style guides

Jukka Korpela publishes two good tutorials:

Some of the style guides that I've found helpful are listed here, in no particular order:

Copyright and disclaimer

You're welcome to print copies of this page for your own use, and to link from your own Web pages to this page. But please don't make any electronic copies and publish them on your Web page or elsewhere.

There are many fine sites that discuss HTML and Web authoring. The above is a list of my personal favorites; I make no attempt to be comprehensive. If any particular site isn't listed here, please don't infer that I evaluated it negatively: I'm sure I'm unaware of many fine sites.

At the same time, this is a personal list. I make no commitment to evaluate any other sites. Though you're welcome to tell me about your favorite HTML site, please don't nag me to list it here, okay?

Revision history is the URL of this page.

Maintained by Boris Ammerlaan.
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