I've been working for almost a year on a design project for Apress — creating a new book product for their line of technology books. Like many projects I work on, I wasn't able to talk about it until recently. But this week, we launched a prototype!
You can go to the page for Pro HTML5 Programming on the Apress website, click the "Interactive content" button, and check out Pro HTML5 Programming for free. (It will prompt you to sign in using an Apress account, if you aren't signed in already. If you don't have an account, you can sign up for one for free.)
The interesting thing about this project, is that this isn't really a website, but yet it is a website. You don't download the book in the same way you download an EPUB version. Why? Because none of the available electronic book formats will do what we wanted to do — at least not yet.
Instead, travel through the Apress store to get to the book where it lives at a URL. As soon as you get there, the entire book will be downloaded into your browser. (This downloading should work on any browser except for IE9 & earlier and Opera mini). Bookmark the URL, perhaps saving it to your tablet or phone's home screen, and return again and again. Even if you are offline, the book will load.
Inside this book, you can not only read the code examples, but edit some of them inline and instantly see the results. This book is an HTML5 application. It uses Application Cache to save itself on your device the moment you open it. It uses Local Storage to save any changes you make to the code examples. It's using the video and audio elements to play screencasts and other media. And in order to teach you about Geolocation, Canvas, SVG, and other APIs, it uses those APIs in the demos.
The book itself is a work in progress, so there are likely glitches and bugs. If you find some, I'd love to hear from you so we can fix them! I'll be continuing to work with Apress to design the world in which these books live, as well as improve some of the details and polish inside the book. I'd love to hear what you think.