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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Usable and relevant
Jeffrey Zeldman, godfather (in the non-scary, non-bloodbath sense) of the web design industry, returns to the book-publishing fray with his latest tome, the extremely usable & well-written "Designing with Web Standards".
For quite a long time most web designers have treated standards compliance with the same respect as Microsoft enjoys on Slashdot. They are nagged by...
Published on May 23 2003 by Michael G. Schmidt

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice theories BUT . . .
As a CIW Master Site Designer who genuinely cares about usability, accessibility, and design consistency, I had high expectations when I purchased this book. Alas, after reading this from cover to cover, I found it to be less than satisfactory. While the author's points on usability and accessibility are useful and on the mark, some of his CSS-based design theories...
Published on Aug. 2 2003 by rahurd


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Usable and relevant, May 23 2003
By 
Michael G. Schmidt (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Jeffrey Zeldman, godfather (in the non-scary, non-bloodbath sense) of the web design industry, returns to the book-publishing fray with his latest tome, the extremely usable & well-written "Designing with Web Standards".
For quite a long time most web designers have treated standards compliance with the same respect as Microsoft enjoys on Slashdot. They are nagged by an annoying voice in the back of their heads that scream, "design for the future" - but drown it out with the client's cries of "design for the past" and their own misapprehension that "everything should be pixel-perfect in Netscape 4".
They hack, triple-test, pet every single line of carefully-crafted HTML, spend countless days ironing out every obscure browser bug known to man, and then pull their hair out in large knots when a new browser comes along & everything breaks.
If you are one of those people (I certainly used to be), perhaps it's time to stand back & realize the obvious: standards compliance is the only way of future-proofing your sites. It's the only way of making sure that what you build today won't break tomorrow.
And fortunately for you mr. Zeldman is here to take your hand, show you where you went wrong, and guide you gently into this brave new world.
It's foolish to claim that standards compliance can solve all the problems of web development - but it's equally foolish to continue living in the past when you have an excellent book like this that can make your professional life so much easier.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly one of the best web design books I've ever read..., May 16 2004
By 
Thomas Duff "Duffbert" (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Target Audience
Web designers who want to move towards coding pages according to standards and forward compatibility.
Contents
This book examines the use of CSS and XHTML for web page coding in order to adhere to standards and make pages that are readable on all platforms.
The book is divided into the following chapters:
Part 1 - Houston, We Have a Problem - 99.9% of Websites Are Obsolete; Designing and Building with Standards; The Trouble with Standards; XLM Conquers the World (And Other Web Standards Success Stories)
Part 2 - Designing and Building - Modern Markup; XHTML: Restructuring the Web; Tighter, Firmer Pages Guaranteed: Structure and Meta-Structure in Strict and Hybrid Markup; XHTML by Example: A Hybrid Layout (Part 1); CSS Basics; CSS in Action: A Hybrid Layout (Part 2); Working with Browsers Part 1: DOCTYPE Switching and Standards Mode; Working with Browsers Part 2: Box Models, Bugs, and Workarounds; Working with Browsers Part 3: Typography; Accessibility Basics; Working with DOM-Based Scripts; A CSS Redesign
Part 3 - Back End - Modern Browsers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Index
Review
Even though I'm a developer, I hate books on web design. Simply put, they all seem to be written by "experts" who push their opinions and studies as hard-core truth, and woe to all who don't design based on their recommendations. I really dislike dogmatic ranting in tech books, and I must admit I was not looking forward to this book with much enthusiasm. I knew I needed to read it, but it was going to be one of those things that was "good for me", but not enjoyable. Imagine my surprise when I found myself actually liking the book! There's some really good material in here...
Zeldman approaches the subject of standards-based web design from a pragmatic viewpoint. By using XHTML and CSS correctly, you can design pages that render beautifully in modern browsers, but degrade gracefully when you view them in older browsers or other devices like PDAs. The goal isn't to write pages that render exactly the same in all platforms, but to use XHTML to structure your page content, and allow CSS to control the presentation aspects of the page. By maintaining that structure/content division, other browser devices can adequately display the core content of your site without losing all page visibility. And by using CSS to control the presentation of the site, you can dramatically cut the size of your pages down, thereby reducing your overall bandwidth usage.
What I appreciated most about the book was Zeldman's humor and practicality. For instance, using nested tables to control a unique page design is bad. You can do the same thing with CSS. But rather than absolutely declare tables as being bad, he suggests a hybrid approach that may use a basic table for simple layout that would be difficult to do in pure CSS. Rather than being dogmatic about it, he focuses on what's practical to get the job done. And the writing style is very humorous and enjoyable. He definitely writes "to the reader", and there are plenty of asides and jokes that make the book approachable and "real", the perfect antithesis to other web design standards books written by "experts".
Conclusion
Quite possibly the best web design book I've read, and one that will completely change the way I write web pages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great web design and usability book, May 9 2004
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
'Designing with Web Standards' by Jeffrey Zeldman is a book about the use of standards in creating websites. Jeffrey Zeldman is a very well known web designer that manages the several very popular design websites. He also co-founded the Web Standards Project to persuade browser makers to comply with standards. I've been creating websites using HMTL since the early 90's and wanted to learn more about CSS, XHTML and so I picked up this book.
This is not your traditional tutorial book - In fact, a majority of the book is spent discussing the topic of standards, which gives this book an almost academic feel. In spite of that, I still really like this book and found this book extremely helpful is designing standards compliant websites.
In particular, the chapter on XHTML is well written and does a great job in explaining everything from DOCTYPE, HTML tags case, closing tags, empty tags and encoding valid XML tags such as < > and &. The chapter on structure combines CSS and XHTML to provide a complete solution for websites. I had used DIV's before but never really understood how and what they were and what was the difference between id and class. After reading this chapter, I feel like I have a very good understanding on the principles of layout and CSS.
I love all the examples in the book, especially in the latter part of the book where you work through different layouts using the technologies you just learned about. I also love the section of the book that lays out and documents all the deficiencies and bugs of existing browsers and how to work around those issues.
If you want to create websites that work in every browser, load quickly, consume less bandwidth and still be visually and functionally attractive, you need this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Design with Standards and CSS and you will never go back., March 19 2004
By 
Nicholas Web "Nicholas Web" (Charlotte, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
I knew I had to update my site, but the thought of trying to create an HTML page using the same old methodology was holding me back. Nested tables to build a fluid structure was just to exasperating to think about. As I started looking at more blog's on the www, and seeing how much more creative and elegant the designs were, I also noticed that the designs were primarily CSS driven. Viewing the source only reveled paragraph and div tags. The structure and presentation had been almost completely separated. This is the deal!
I had been using CSS, but incorrectly. I began going through the W3C Specs for CSS and noticed there were a number of help resources. The source I landed on was Jeff's. Although much of the content revolves around the argument for standards, there are great tips and a beginner project to help understand the basics. But if you go to the author's personal website, there is a wealth of information. Also, the author's personal website is very elegant and the CSS that holds it together is free for all. Another excellent source of information is the author's business website, "A List Apart". Thank you very much Jeff!
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5.0 out of 5 stars You've created a monster!, March 12 2004
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
It's a rare experience to come across a book, particularly one on a technical subject, that can't put down. Designing with Web Standards is that good; a wealth of information begging to be read non-stop. I'm now armed with the best tools available -- knowledge & inspiration -- to go back and rework every site I've worked on or administer and comment on every site I use.
While there are technical aspects clearly geared to web designers, site owners, and managers, that's only part of the story. Equally important is how clearly and thoroughly core technologies and fundamentals are addressed making this a valuable resource for end users of web content too! Never again would a user settle for non-standards compliant web sites, nor would they use an obsolete browser! Rather they'd be putting pressure on site owners, designers and browser developers to code to standards - creating a win-win scenario for everyone.
With over 40 book darts marking must have tidbits of information, my copy wore out two new highlighters and has become dog-eared, doodled on, and coffee stained in less than a week! Which is to say New Riders and Jeffrey have hit the right note with Designing with Web Standards.
If you work with, manage, or use the web -- or need to consult with folks who do -- Designing with Web Standards is a must have.
To Jeffrey Zeldman (and the cast of editors) - well done!
You've created a monster - and it is me...
Sincerely
(huc)
Brian Huculak
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a laugh and a start into web standardization., Dec 3 2003
By 
David Gregory (Bay Area, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Let me first state that this will NOT teach you ALL of the workings of CSS. I thought that it would, but I was wrong. This book is all about accessibility and it is an evangelical book more than anything else.
With that said, I really enjoyed the book. It is a very easy read compared to most computer books. The book teaches you some css and then delves right into the problems that each browser has with CSS / XHTML etc.. and shows workarounds. With this book, I was able to get the index page of my personal site to validate with css and XHTML transitional. This is definately a great starter book, but it will leave you hungry for more. (thankfully, Mr. Zeldman has his suggested readings here and there in the book)
Oh and yes, the first two chapters are all about how browsers of the past don't work and the day of "table hacks, 1 pixel gifs" are numbered. Personally, I found it amazing how easy it was to remove all my table layout and use CSS instead! Only took me an hour!
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1.0 out of 5 stars over-hyped, Nov. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
I admit it. I fell for the hype and bought this book after reading the glowing reviews on amazon but never having even glanced through the book. Big mistake.
Short version - very little content, tons of pretty obvious observations on css design. Nothing you can't find better done on one of the many css news sites/blogs.
Perhaps, the best way to describe this book is perhaps to compare it to Bill Gates writing a book about computers. Yeah, Gates is a big name in computers. Do you want to learn about computers from him? Probably not.
Zeldman seems like a good source to learn CSS from but is a poor teacher. The books spends most of it's time on common sense theory of css-design. Very, very little actual implementation.
The writing style is another issue - from early on the author informs that he'll be referring to himself as "we". Well, "we" are very bad at writing easily flowing text. Combine the lack of content with the very poor writing style and I'm sad to say I regret having spent the money on this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read in a long while, Oct. 22 2003
By 
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
I believe that it is a lot easier to read a book that is written in a very conversational style. Jeffrey Zeldman writes this way, and provides a light-hearted yet expert view of Web standards.
Zeldman goes into detail explaining the rise and fall of version 3 and 4 browsers. It's a really interesting look at how HTML exploded from a dozen or so tags in its beginnings to the <BLINK> tag and others that would water down HTML's original purpose.
Now that we have arrived at a point in time where we can write pages that have the hope of looking the same in Netscape/Mozilla, Opera and Internet Explorer, it's great to have a manual describing how to do so. This book is that very manual. If you are new to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), this book will convince you to use CSS. Then the book will educate you.
I think the fact that this book manages to convince people to use CSS and other standard methods will really cause a wave of change across the Web. Call it a return to HTML's purpose. I call it "television is best seen on TV, not in a Web browser". This volume book-ends very nicely with "Eric Meyer on CSS". Buy both books and you'll soon be on the road to being an early adopter of "The Right Way".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Today's Web Designer, Oct. 18 2003
By 
Fred Showker "DTG Magazine" (The Design Bookshelf) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
If you read my "Fear of Styling" CSS Bibliography at design-bookshelf.com, you'll see there's a plethora of CSS guides on the market -- some better than others -- but this one is slated to rise to the top of the heap right next to Schmitt's "Designing CSS Web Pages" and Meyer's "Mastering the Language of Web Design."
Zeldman sends us on a slightly different track, mixing hard-core CSS with a bit of humanity. Since so many of us 'old timers' are worried about browser compatibility, his guidance in building CSS driven web pages that "compromise" and "complement" structures for older browsers is well worth the price alone. I've now tested four of his suggested CSS layouts and all four work well and offer 'almost' W3 validation. And, don't let those W3 people push you around. They're so retentive about their specs few web pages get through unscathed.
Aside from that cover, I think you'll find Zeldman's "Designing with Web Standards" insightful, and inspiring as a desk-side companion. I also highly recommend the book to trainers and professors teaching web design at university level BEFORE teaching the likes of Dreamweaver and GoLive. I've interviewed too many new college graduates who don't know their attributes from their padding. This is important stuff. The stuff that will make your web pages work -- and keep working in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - but SHUT UP already!, Oct. 10 2003
By 
Bryan Winter (Madison, WI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
First of all, this is an excellent book. It is well thought out, well written and provides lots of great instruction and examples. Zeldman does a wonderful job making his case for Web standards and the evolution of the WWW. But that is also the biggest problem with this book. Zeldman makes his case - and it is a great one. I'm convinced. But then he makes it again. And again. AND AGAIN. We're fully 150 pages into the book before we actually start learing HOW to develop with standards. Now, I understand that a case needs to be made. I'm one of those "old school" designers that has been in this biz for years and years now. I'm a master of all those HTML tricks that are now taboo in StandardsLand. He was preaching right to me and I for one needed to be preached at. My methods are out of date, my skills need to be honed. No problem, happy to convert. I'm sold. So cut to the chase! Zeldman's passion is clear and his wit is sharp. It really is an excellent read. But I also think he doesn't trust his reader enough to understand his points quickly enough. The initial 150 pages could probably be boiled down to 50 or 75 with the same result, leaving more room for instruction and how-to. Still, highly recommended!
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Designing With Web Standards
Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman (Paperback - May 24 2003)
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