Chip's Web Development Resource List

Using NORMAL page version

A List of Tools and Resources for Web Development by Chip Chapin

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This is my general list of links to resources for web development technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, PHP, CGI scripting, Perl etc. It also features a few of my own tools.

  Client-Side   Server-Side   Other
    HTML   Apache   Tools
    CSS   HTTP   Miscellaneous
  (mySQL, XML, ...)
  Chip's JavaScript Resource List
  Chip's JavaScript Tutorial
  Menu Generation Tools
  Other PHP Tools

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

Netscape HTML Tag Reference
This Netscape Developers' document is easy to use, and one of the first places I look.
W3C HTML 4.01 Specification (December 24, 1999)
Straight from the source.  Must-read for any picky points, and a gold mine of info regarding the transition to CSS.
Microsoft MSDN Library
Use the Table of Contents to go the Web Development Section. In June 2001 Microsoft merged their old Web Workshop into their MSDN Library The original workship index is still available here.
An HTML reference site maintained by Brian Wilson. Features include an alphabetic index of HTML elements with descriptions of their attributes, along with a key which indicates which browsers support each element and attribute. Also includes a handy list of character entities, an element tree, and historical notes. HTML Tag Reference
This feature at the Web Design Library has replaced the old ZDNet Developer HTML Tag Library. It's brief and useless. I'm leaving the entry here as a reminder to me to check the other features.
NCSA (at UIUC) Beginner's Guide to HTML
Dated, but still a useful guide to all sorts of basic HTML.
Univ of Kansas HTML Quick Reference
Just what it says, a very terse quick reference. Can be hard to find what you want.
The comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html FAQ
There is good info on some arcane stuff here, including "how to preset the Subject in a 'mailto:'".
W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (May 5, 1999)
Useful advice for making pages more accessible to people with visual impairments.

Dave Raggett's HTML/CSS Tutorials

Getting Started With HTML
Adding a Touch of Style (using CSS)
Advanced HTML
These three docs fit together nicely and would make a nice tutorial presentation at a conference (that's my bet for where they came from).  The first is very basic, and the "Advanced" doc is spotty in its coverage, but I found the CSS doc quite helpful.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

W3C CSS 2 Specification (May 12, 1998)
This is the reference where all CSS attributes are actually defined.
Dynamic HTML in Netscape Communicator
Part 1 of this document is devoted to CSS. Part 2 is about positioning HTML content using style sheets and Layers.
Microsoft's MSDN Library
Use the Table of Contents to go the Web Development Section. In June 2001 Microsoft merged their old Web Workshop into their MSDN Library The original workship index is still available here.
Style Sheet Reference Guide from
The biggest problem in using CSS is keeping track of what works and what does not work on a given platform & browswer. The article by Eric Meyer includes a Master Compatibility Chart, a matrix showing which CSS features are not supported or are buggy in various browser/platform versions. Other features here include a brief CSS FAQ and my favorite, the Overview of the CSS Specification, a handy reference summary.


I maintain a separate page of JavaScript references, as well as a series of tutorials:

Chip's JavaScript Resources & References
My own set of links for JavaScript.
Chip's JavaScript Tutorial Examples
My own collection of tutorials and examples. It really needs updating.

PHP Hypertext Preprocessor

I highly recommend the use of PHP for server-side preprocessing of your HTML files. It is widely supported and very easy to use. PHP is free software, distributed under the GPL.

Chip's Survey of PHP Dynamic Menu Tools
This is my survey of a number of menu generation tools, with a particular eye toward PHP tools for generating DHTML menus.
Chip's HTML_TreeMenuXL Package
My own adaptation of the Pear package HTML_TreeMenu.
Chip's Survey of Other PHP Tools
A survey of various PHP tools including authorization, templates, and more.
Chip's ccBrowserInfo Package
ccBrowserInfo is my PHP tool for server-side browser analysis.
The primary PHP community site, including the essential annotated on-line reference manual, and an important set of PHP links.
PHP Annotated Reference Manual
The annotated on-line reference at is a vital tool and deserves it's own link.
Zend Home Page
Zend is "Where PHP meets ebusiness", it is the commercial effort of some key PHP developers. The site includes a large number of PHP resources, including the Code Gallery.
Zend Intro to PHP
This introduction is one of many PHP articles and resources on the Zend site. It's a good starting point.
PHP Classes Repository
A good-sized repository of various user-built PHP source components. This collection of useful stuff should be consulted before one starts to code on their own.
Pear Package Library
Pear is affiliated with and is an effort to produced a standardized library of classes. Some of these are quite useful.
The SourceForge site includes a vast number of PHP projects.
Community site by the authors of the book Web Application Development with PHP 4.0. offers a variety of PHP tutorials and tools. However, there do not appear to have been any updates since August 2000, and some articles are inaccessible. is the home for PHPFast Templates and other tools.
PHPFast Templates Tutorial
Tutorial by Joshua Curtis on how to use PHPFast Templates.

Apache Web Server

Apache is the most widely used web server, available for just about any platform you want. Even if you don't manage your site's web server, most of us eventually find it essential to learn certain things about server configuration. I run a private Apache server just for testing and it has been a huge help. Apache is Free Software, distributed under the GPL.

Some of the links cited here (e.g. on user authentication) would apply to other web servers as well.

Apache Software Foundation:
Umbrella site for the Apache Software Foundation. Includes news and links to various projects (including Apache, of course).
Apache HTTP Server:
Home for Apache server. Includes links for downloading the source code, making contributions and bug reports, FAQ and general documentation on all current versions.
Apache Server Docs
Reference manual, tutorials, and release notes for the current released version.
Apache Server-Side Includes (SSI) Tutorial
If you don't use server-side scripting, then SSI can be one of the most important Apache features from the standpoint of a web page developer. This is what all those ".shtml" pages are using...

User Authentication

Apache Week Article: Using User Authentication
Standard reference for Apache users, covering use of the htpasswd program, the content of .htaccess files, and server configuration.
Apache Week Article: DBM User Authentication
An advanced sequel to Using User Authentication, this article describes how to use a DBM database instead of plain text file for userid/passwd storage.
Tutorial on User Authentication by Justin Miller
This easy-to-read tutorial covers the basics of password protection and allow/deny using .htaccess.
Apache Today's "Apache Guide" Series on Authentication
A four-part series by Rich Bowen. Unless you're interested in the specific topics of Parts 2-4, you won't find much new here. Part1 introduces .htaccess, discusses password protection and using allow and deny. Part2 is about making Apache use DBM databases for password authentication. Part3 is the same, only for mySQL. Part4 shows some techniques for managing password lists using Perl.
NCSA httpd Mosaic User Authentication Tutorial
Early reference in this area, equally applicable to Apache and other servers.

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

When we do server-side processing, eventually we have to learn more details about HTTP. Want to generate a POST message using PHP? Well here you go...

Jim Marshall's HTTP Made Really Easy
I searched for a long time before I found this one. Marshall's doc is the only one I've seen so far that actually provides readable explanations of how to generate the headers of the various request types. This is probably all you'll need.
RFC2616: HTTP/1.1 Specification (at W3C)
Latest official HTTP spec, but very formal and hard to read. Want to know about headers? This is the place... For lots more information see W3C's HTTP index page. Another useful source is a description of the 1992 HTTP "spec", a more readable (if less authoritative) reference.
LibWWW (at W3C)
W3C's library of C code for implementing the HTTP 1.1 protocol. Even if you don't want the code itself, it makes a good reference for how things are supposed to work.
Netscape Spec: HTTP Cookies
Netscape's preliminary specification, "Persistent Client State: HTTP Cookies" provides a simple and readable introduction to the client-server protocol required by cookies. It is referenced, for example, by the PHP manual.
PHP Cookie Test
My version of a test by Sean McLean. Useful for diagnosing client problems.
RFC 2965 -- "HTTP State Management Mechanism"
The October 2000 internet standard for HTTP cookies.
Microsoft's Description of Cookies
An overview document with links to various resources, including relevant Microsoft support issues and external standards.

CGI, Perl and Forms

NCSA Common Gateway Interface 1.1 Specification
The official spec for CGI/1.1. Especially useful are the reference sections on environment variables and on standard output (which discusses the header protocol).
UIUC's The Common Gateway Interface
Another standard reference for CGI. Now a bit dated.
University of Kansas: An instantaneous introduction to CGI scripts and HTML forms and
University of Kansas: Building blocks for CGI scripts in Perl
Both of these UKansas documents are very helpful, both as a reference and as a tutorial. - a Perl5 CGI Library
This is the library that I've been using recently (e.g. for the Cinnimon Haze guestbook).  Besides decent documentation here, you can also download it.
Official Guide to Programming with
Links to Wiley's website for Lincoln Stein's published book.  Not as useful as the other link above.. - Documentation
Useful resource, but it's slow so you're often better off using the man pages on a Unix system.


Netscape Developer's Site
Netscape's center for all sorts of developer resources, including HTML, JavaScript, Java, and lots more.
MySQL Documentation
MySQL is the leading open source relational DBMS.
Frequently Asked Questions About XML
Microsoft has put together a really helpful reference about XML.  It's sufficiently technical to be useful.  There's probably more good stuff accessible off this link.
W3C Markup homepage (HTML and XHTML)
W3C really owns the HTML and XML standards, and their homepage not only has useful info but also has useful links.
W3C Web Style Sheets homepage
Many handy links covering CSS, DSSSL, XSL and more.
The IRT (Internet Related Technologies) site has a huge amount of resource material for JavaScript and many other web technologies such as HTML and XML.
Newsgroup comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html
Primary newsgroup for WWW authoring info.
Posix 1003.2 Regular Expressions
An HTML copy of the man page for Posix re's.


D.J. Delorie's Lynx Viewer
What do your web pages look like using Lynx? DJ provides this valuable public service.
Muquit's "Count" homepage
Most popular "counters" package for use in web pages.  Extremely versatile.
W3C HTML Validator
Validate the HTML syntax of your web pages through this service.
W3C Link Validator
Validate all the links on your web pages through this service.
HTML Tidy Utility
A great HTML prettyprinter from Dave Raggett. I use this all the time, via the HTML-Kit plug-in.
Chami's HTML-Kit Editor
A very nice non-WYSIWYG editor with many helpful features.  Includes built-in preview pane, TIDY interface, FTP interface, and much more. This is the editor that I've been using since abandoning Netscape Composer.
EVRSoft's Editor (formerly 1st Page 2000)
NoteTab Editor
TopStyle CSS Editor
A reduced version called TopStyle Lite is included with Chami's HTML-Kit editor.
HTML Reference Library

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Updated Friday November 15, 2002 15:18:56 PST