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4.1 out of 5 stars
Designing With Web Standards
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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
on November 30, 2003
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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on May 3, 2004
This is the worst technical book I've ever read (and I've read thousands in my career).
It starts with 150 pages of advocacy: why it's a good idea to design with web standards. Mr Zeldman: if I wasn't already convinced that designing with web standards was a good idea, why would I buy a book called "Designing with Web Standards"?
The author is one of those humor-impaired people who think they are witty. Example: "If changing tag fashions were all there was to it, ...this book would be filled with delicious tofu recipes. Like tofu honey pie with blueberries. Yum! It's even better if you use cream cheese instead of tofu. And sugar - lots of sugar. And butter and eggs - don't forget the eggs."
If you enjoy reading drivel like that, you might like this book. Perhaps it should have been titled "Jokes that never made it to the Tonight Show". But if you want to read about designing with CSS and XHTML, don't waste your time on it.
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on October 24, 2003
I bought this book based on some recommendations I saw and was sorely disappointed. It took over 150 (out of 420) pages to actually get to *how* to use CSS. Even then the examples were weak.
The philosophy seemed to be "Always use three paragraphs when one will do." The asides and so-called jokes did nothing but distract from the subject. The "artsy" fonts, expecially for numbers, detracted and hampered comprehension. Every time a chapter was referenced, the whole chapter title was used (and they are very long titles) and this got very tedious.
There are a couple of nuggets of information that are useful in this book, but it takes *way* too much effort to dig them out.
Overall, look other places for solid information on how to actually use CSS.
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on May 1, 2004
Zeldman is revered in web-design circles. In fact, most aspiring web jockeys aspire principally to remain in his good graces. Have a look through the reviews - there are two kinds. The 4 and 5 star reviews are written by the ingratiating suck-ups hoping to win Zeldman's favor. The 1 star reviews are by those with the kahones to tell it like it is - there's no content in this garbage. It is the total abandonment of substance in favor of style - and not the CSS sort you're hoping for. It's all edge, attitude and posturing, giving the suck-ups what they crave.
You need a book that will show you how to do constructive things. You don't need to submit to a cult of personality, which is all Zeldman is.
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on May 10, 2004
Here, Zeldman attempts to translate the cult of Zeldman into some of your hard earned cash. There are two kinds of reviews here. The 4 and 5 star reviews are written by the ingratiating suck-ups hoping to win Zeldman's favor. The 1 star reviews are by those with the kahones to tell it like it is - there's no content in this garbage. It is the total abandonment of substance in favor of style - and not the CSS sort you're hoping for. It's all edge, attitude and posturing, giving the suck-ups what they crave.
You need a book that will show you how to do constructive things. You don't need to submit to a cult of personality, which is all Zeldman is.
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on June 2, 2003
Jeffrey Zeldman has done a lot, probably more than most, to advance the webdesign community. That's a given, and credit is due to him.
That said, I can't honestly recommend this book: it is printed in cheapest imaginable paper and the content is VERY generic: nothing new or interesting. In fact, most of the "information" contained in the book reads more like a bunch or articles freely available on the internet, which Mr Zeldman put together at the last minute to complete his task of writing this book.
Very dissapointing. Mr Zeldman can certainly do better than this.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2004
The title of this book should be "Redesigning with web standards": it only tells how to reimplement existing web pages.
No graphical design is done in the book: the design comes from existing pages. Only implementation (writing HTML and CSS) is covered.
This book spents a lot of text on describing why the old ways of building webpages are no longer good enough. Over and over again you read stuff like:
"During our industry's firs decade, designing for the web was like feeding a roomful of finicky toddlers. To build sites that worked, we dutifully learned to accomodate each browser's unique dietary requirements. Today's browsers all eat the same nutritious stuff, but many professionals haven't grasped this and are still crumbling M&Ms into the souffle."
If Zeldman had told us this only once, the book could have been 20% thinner, and less tiresome to read. And he could have covered stuff that was really needed.
Lots of workarounds to make old browsers happy. But very little on the basis/structure of how things are done the modern way.
The chapter on XML is out of place; this book isn't about XML.
The coverage of CSS is insufficient: only some syntax and just a little about precedence rules is described.
Text in general is imprecise, vague, and leaves you with lots of questions.
The fact that Eric Meyer is a technical reviewer for this book makes you think: maybe Eric Meyer is not such a genius when it comes to book writing.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2003
Based on the positive reviews, I bought the book and read it. The book is an amazing waste of paper. The contents of the book can be summarized as advocating a certain way of coding Web sites, with one partially worked example. The book could have been a 5 page white paper.
The book advocates writing Web sites using XHTML, and using CSS for layout information (styles.) There is some discussion of being careful to write structural tags instead of specific markup. As an example of what this means, if you want to display a list without bullets or numbering, you should tag the list items using li.../li, and write an appropriate CSS style for the list that produces the look you want. This is better than writing individual items separated using br to force formatting. By the way, Zeldman gives this specific example, without bothering to show how to write the appropriate CSS styles.
While the book contains many recommendations, it provides few worked examples, and essentially no reference information. When you read the book, you learn that you should create Web pages in a certain manner, but not how to do it. Chapter 6 contains an actual example of what Zeldman thinks you should write. It begins on page 153 of the book. The preceding 1/3 of the book contains lots of opinions, but little information. Chapter 6 contains useful information, as does chapter 8 (the first part of an example, showing the XHTML of the single worked example in the book), and chapter 10 (which contains the corresponding CSS to chapter 8's XHTML). Most of the remaining chapters have some information.
What I generally expect in a book that explains a topic is a description, a worked example, some references for more extensive information, and discussions of good and bad alternatives.
Zeldman's book instead provides many chapters of opinionated ramblings about his view of the current state of the Web design world, how the world got that way, and what is wrong with it. These ramblings are written assuming that the reader cares or has a reason to care about how the Web design world got to the state that Zeldman thinks it is in, and that the reader fundamentally understands the topic, which Zeldman discusses in obscure references. These ramblings are then followed by one or two partial examples, no reference information, then more ramblings about the topic, now that you have been presented with Zeldman's solution.
If you want to learn how to design with CSS, there are many alternative books, and of course there are the W3C standards themselves. What is good about Zeldman's book is that he addresses the issue of how to design pages using CSS/XHTML, rather than simply how to code the CSS. The problem with the book is that he provides almost no information about how to do this.
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