Years ago, I created my own website from scratch using HTML. It was an extremely simple format with no bells or whistles. Over the years, I have tried to keep up with all the new options in HTML and XHTML. The ability to do more with the code has given me far more options. Now I can use code to do what I envision my website rather than work within strict parameters of what the text will allow.
With this said, I am not a professional website designer by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not sure if I'm following proper HMTL (or XHMTL) protocol or if I'm using a lot of code that is just confusing my viewers' browsers.
The Ultimate HTML Reference can be used in a variety of ways. The first chapter explains the differences and uses of HTML versus XHTML. The rest of the book is separated into intuitive sections so that those new to HTML can learn step by step. Finally, the author has added a variety of extremely useful appendixes: for code that is rarely used anymore (and often no longer supported by common browsers), for non-standard elements, and code in alphabetical order for easy reference.