April 03, 2013

Apress Uses its Own Programming Guide to Create Interactive Book

Telling someone how to do something has a limited impact. Showing someone does even better. But when a specific set of methods can be developed, and then shown to work right in front of a student, that may be one of the most valuable educational tools there is.

That’s what Apress looked to do by taking the techniques described in its own book, "Pro HTML5 Programming," and putting them to work to create a wholly interactive version of the same, in HTML5.

The writers of "Pro HTML5 Programming" – Frank Salim, Peter Lubbers and Brian Albers – looked at the book and decided to take it a step further. Calling it a case where they wanted to "practice what we preach," the writers used the programming techniques found in their book to augment the book with HTML5, using the programming language to add in a set of extra tools like video and audio, as well as a set of APIs like application cache to make the content go from straight printed word to a full-on experience.

Users can even more closely examine the code that went into creating the effects found in the HTML5 version, with snippets expanding at a button click to show off the results of updates, and allow users to tell how to use those tools in their own programming ventures.

Once the HTML5 version had been set up, Apress sent e-mail to its registered users, and made the newly-minted book available for free to said registered users, who responded with over 23,000 page views in just a week.

Apress hopes to reportedly bring out three more of these interactive books by the end of the year, and hopes that this may prove a start to a more interactive reading experience.

The goal – as described by Apress’ director of marketing and operations, Jeff Stonefield – was to take the overall learning experience to the next level, in which Apress "transform(s) the print book into an immersive tutorial-based learning tool, enhancing the readers’ experience by allowing them to work directly within the content."

This goal seems to have been realized, as not only are readers able to learn how to program in HTML5, but those readers are also able to see HTML5 programming methods applied and further learn how those specific applications were created using the very same language they’re actively learning. While the idea of interactive books isn’t necessarily new, using HTML5 methods to teach HTML5 programming is something of a novel step.

That’s the kind of platform that improves the learning experience by quite a bit; it’s one thing to read about something, but it’s another to practice it. Some learners have a better overall experience through practice and by "doing" rather than by reading alone, and this approach allows for both methods to happen at the same time.

The more learning styles are accommodated, the better off overall the whole concept is, and Apress is putting that concept to work in grand style.

Edited by Braden Becker


HTML 5 Demos and Examples

HTML 5 experimentation and demos I've hacked together. Click on the browser support icon or the technology tag to filter the demos.... Learn More

HTML5 GAMES is the largest and most comprehensive directory of HTML5 games on the internet... Learn More

The HTML5 test

How well does your browser support HTML5?... Learn More

Working Draft (WHATWG)

This is the Editor’s Draft from WHATWG. You can use it online or print the available PDF version... Learn More

HTML5 Flip Book

Free jQuery and HTML5 flip book maker for PDF to online page turning book conversion... Learn More