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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

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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Book Changed My Life, Sept. 11 2003
By 
Joaquin Menchaca (San José, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
For the record, I seldom give any book 5 stars period. However, this book is very well organized, witty, and is simply a well written piece of work. Be warned, if you are looking for a dry boring tech book to get you to sleep, this book won't do it, because you'll be laughing from every page.
Jokes aside, underlying the creative and humorous words, there is a very serious message about how web standards saves time, money, energy, grief, and makes web sites more accessible to a bigger audience as well as those with impairments.
In this book, there are practical methodologies on how to migrate into web standards using many of the little know techniques like two style sheets (one for bad browsers, one for good browsers), how to trick IE5/6 into really doing correct CSS-P, and more fun stuff. Additionally, there are many examples and references to many other excellent resources out there on the net that can help you successfully use web standards in an inspiring non-constrictive way.
Admittingly though, there are a few subtle mistakes, and some of the latest and bleeding edge techniques aren't in the book, but these I discovered through the many good links Zeldman sprinkles throughout the book for us to explore.
In conclusion, this book is a must have, even if you aren't interested in web standards. It's a fun read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Correct Web Design, Aug. 15 2003
By 
"tchurch88" (Bloomington, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
One thing I really admire is when someone learns something correctly. And by correctly I mean that they lay a thorough foundation by taking the time necessary to learn the key concepts and the ramifications of applying those concepts. This is not "learning" as most of us are accustomed to. In today's quick fix world, much learning has been reduced to "ten-minute" books designed to teach "all you need to know".
Zeldman, in "Designing with web Standards" has provided web designers (and others) with an excellent resource for learning web design in a way that is arguably the most "correct" way. At least if we want to take advantage of the tremendous benefit of standards and come as close as possible to future compatibility, Zeldman's way is the correct way.
By reminding us that non standards-based web design methods are a train wreck in progress (he says 99% of web sites are obsolete), he lays the foundation for the numerous benefits of standards-based design that he will extol throughout the book.
The meat of the book impressively walks a thin line between surveying the concepts and exploring details of XHTML, CSS, DOCTYPES, browsers, DOM, and accessibility basics. Along the way the reader gets a couple of very good tutorials in implementing these concepts.
The chapters are packed with sound thinking, inspiring ideas, simple techniques and terribly funny humor. The subject is timely and important. This is an excellent book. If you want to learn to correct web design, start here.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice theories BUT . . ., Aug. 2 2003
By 
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
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 sound nicer in print than they look in practice.
This is not entirely the author's fault; the real culprits, as we know it, are the browser manufacturers, as their insistence on "market differentiation" thwarts any efforts of the designer to develop a usable, accessible, and attractive Web site - and to do so in a time- and cost-effective manner.
However, the author seems to want to be the standard-bearer for a set of "standards" that do not - and, under current conditions, cannot - exist. This makes the book come across at times as contradictory and confusing - and diminishes the credibility of otherwise sound principles. I think the author - and his readers - would have been better served if he would use the term "best practices" rather than the misleading "standards."
Furthermore, the author's dismissal of those who say these methods take more time (and money) is more than a bit unfair, considering that this man runs his own company, and does not have to answer to non-technical bosses who want their Web content "yesterday." He's simply not living in the real world in this regard.
In sum, the book has some value - but some of the "standard" design ideas are simply dreams at this point - and will continue to be so until the browser companies are forced by US regulation to get in line.
Finally, though this may sound picky, I think it's relevant - I really have a problem with a man who claims to be a seasoned veteran of the Web trade, yet who uses the incorrect term "website" instead of "Web site . . . "
Buy the book - but buy it used; it's not worth the full price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Congrats to Zeldman, July 29 2003
By 
Theo Skye (Rockville, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
This is absolutely one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of web design. Well-deserved accolades go to Zeldman and the rest of the publishing team that assembled this gem.
In this book the author comments that a different book by another author is "among the most compellingly written web design books ever: witty, opinionated, and truthful." Jeffrey Zeldman: are you sure you were describing that other book and not your own?
To the few other reviewers looking for tons of "quick-fix" code samples, the reason Jeffrey Zeldman does not provide (very many of) such things in this book (although there are quite a few code-samples in my opinion) is because there is no such thing in this complex, ever-changing quagmire of Web Standards. He tells it like it is - providing concise, entertaining, and applicable "ammunition" for debunking widely held incorrect opinions about browser inconsistencies, accessibility, and a multitude of other issues. Simultaneously, he bestows upon the reader his own core knowledge and common-sense approach to designing standards-compliant web sites. This means that the reader comes away from this book with the ability to immediately apply this knowledge to their own work, without falling back on "cut and paste" fixes that they don't necessarily even comprehend. This is not one of those books that walks the reader through tutorials and then leaves her wondering how to apply any of the tactics employed in the tutorials to her own work.
I could keep singing this book's praises for quite a few paragraphs, but if you are a professional web designer, or just aspiring to be one, you will be much better off reading this book than perusing additional compliments towards it.
Absolutely, buy this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The only book you need to get you started on web standards, July 14 2003
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Jeffrey Zeldman has been at the forefront of pushing web standards for several years now, and with his involvement with webstandards.org he has helped put and end to the 'browser wars'. Now is the time to take advantage of how standards compliant new browsers are becoming...
If you have always been meaning to get serious about designing with web standards, but have never found the time or right project to do it, then this book is the kickstart you need!
From beginning to end Jeffrey's writing style is accessible (a lot like the code he's talking about most of the time!), humourous, and technical when it needs to be, but still maintaining a human touch to it all - drawing you in and keeping you captivated.
This will suit you very well if you have no idea about what standards are and you're looking for a place to start, but those who have been using CSS for a couple of years now will also find the book informative, useful, and insightful.
The book is peppered with interesting and practical examples of how css and xhtml can be used to better your website - making it accessible across all browsers and platforms - minimising code and cost - but maximising impact for the client.
I really can't reccomend this book enough.
If you are a web designer and you want to keep web designing to the standard - then you need this - because it won't be too long before everything that Jeffrey teaches in this book becomes common practice for us all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A nice teacher, July 12 2003
By 
Robert Jan Verkade (Utrecht, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Jeffrey Zeldman is always a pleasure to read, and this book is not an exception. The first part will help you convince your clients that they should make the move to standards compliant websites - and why. Zeldman gives you plenty of ammunition to show the advantages of building futureproof, accessible and easy to maintain websites. He doesn't tell you what to do, he shows how you can do it. To me this non-judgmental, constructive tone is very motivating.
In the second part of the book Jeffrey holds your hand while leading you into structural markup and building a transitional site that complies with web standards. It is always about the best result. The best result for you as a web designer (you'll absolutely become smarter), the best result for your clients (they will get a site that is built and can be maintained in less time - so they will have to pay you less), and - above all - the best results for the audience who will come to enjoy your websites. All while ensuring that the site looks pleasing, too. Your sites will load a lot faster and will be accessible for everybody!
Does this book teach you many new things if you are ahead of the curve in webdesign? The only true answer is no (I'm sorry). Zeldman does teach you a lot if you are willing to make the shift to standards compliant webdesign. He also shows that standards compliant design is not the enemy of good graphic design. And he is a pleasant teacher as well, so it will not be hard to stay attentive. If you are not new to the subject this book will still be most useful - reminding you how wonderful our job is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tomorrow's Web, Today, July 11 2003
By 
Dave Shea "Designer" (Vancouver, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Jeffrey Zeldman is a man who knows what he's talking about. His latest book, DWWS, is no exception.
Starting from the Why (as in, why you'd want to design with web standards), he carefully outlines in the first few chapters the ridiculous state web design is in. Moving to the How, the second half of the book is an excellent introduction to the methods that will free us from junk markup and inaccessible sites.
Web design is about bringing your message to the largest possible audience. Only by following the methods in DWWS can one truly start to achieve this goal. Ask yourself what's more important: catering to the dwindling 1% of users using outdated browsers, or designing for the growing 99% using modern browsers and alternative browsing environments like PDAs.
DWWS can be somewhat redundant in spots, and touches on some very boring (but important) information - Zeldman graciously acknowledges the dryness of the material, and his writing style ecourages plodding along despite it all.
If you read zeldman.com daily, there will likely not be much new to see in DWWS. Pick up a copy anyway, and pass it around the office. Everyone working on today's web should read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than a Candy Bar, July 11 2003
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Designing With Web Standards has a softy chewy inside and a hard crunchy outside, which I really like, the two things together, as opposed to just one or the other alone.
Wait, sorry, I'm thinking of a candy bar.
Seriously, this review is like the millionth one down, so why are you even reading it? Is it that you're looking for the truth? Okay, here's the truth, as I see it. The first hundred pages of this book will be no help to those already sold on the need for designing with web standards. In Zeldman's defense, though, there are at least hundred pages' worth of reasons for doing this, so if you're not hip to it yet, or are only partly hip, or are on-the-fence hip, these pages are for you.
The remaining three hundred pages are like the best candy bar in the world, assuming that what tastes good to you is making web sites that work for everyone: budget-conscious clients; the full range of users; and also for you you you, the sharp designer/developer aiming to deliver faster load times, greater accessibility, higher search engine placements, and full separation of presentation and structure, among other goodies.
Also, as you no doubt already know, Zeldman is, like, good at writing and stuff, so it all goes down with a certain dark chocolate smoothness.
And even better than an actual candy bar, which you eat once and is gone, Designing With Web Standards can be returned to again and again, whenever you want to remember the deal about doctypes or that Fahrner Image Replacement trick or just admire the genius of descendant selectors one more time before calling it a day.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Web Standards: Is This Anyway To Run An Airline?, July 5 2003
By 
Gregory K. Harris "GeekMee" (Atlanta, GA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
Should have been the title of this book...Or "Web Standards - What we have here is a failure to communicate"
Jeffery Zeldman can communicate and he gets to the heart of the matter with clarity. Vendors have mangled Web standards...Jeffery is pissed off and is not taking it anymore (from vendor versions) and has done something about it, and makes a compelling case that you should do something about it to... code to embrace the future, not the present.
After reading Zeldman, commonsense tells you it doesn't make sense to blindly keep coding down the path you have been. He does more than explain how these technologies work, but the history and confusion behind the developments that brought us to this point.
You can't help but think differently after reading the first 10 pages... or at least by page 38 under the subject heading "The Road to Stupidsville"where after explaining how Web standards got so messed up asks the question "...Is this anyway to run an airline?"
Zeldman's entertaining writing style may border on chatty for some, but his desire to communicate with clarity outshines his style. And it's always sincere and down to earth.
Zeldman doesn't claim to have all the answers, but he asks the right questions to challenge, educate, entertain and transform your thinking about building web sites.
And transform your thinking he does.
This book definitely brings something sorely needed in Web development... Perspective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, June 28 2003
By 
Sylvan Wallach (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing With Web Standards (Paperback)
This is the book I have been waiting for! The reams of pages which I have printed from various lists can mostly be discarded because Zeldman's book contains or refers to just about everything needed. Zeldman remarks that 99.9 % of web sites are obsolete. (More recently stated to be about 99.4%!) This book is for the designers of those sites.
First let me say that Zeldman writes in an engaging, humorous style. And thankfully he takes an easygoing approach to the use of standards and accessibility. As he points out, there is a continuum from no standards and no accessibility to rigid adherence to standards and complete accessibility. We are free to place ourselves where appropriate on this continuum. Yet Zeldman makes a compelling case for standards.
A 436 page book cannot be a treatise on everything. Yet Zeldman manages to give enough coverage to enable one to create web sites which use CSS, meet standards, are accessible, and can be viewed in all common browsers.
Throughout the book there are historical materials and references to sources and fuller discussions. Among the topics covered are XHTML, CSS basics, the DTD, the Dom and doc type switching. There is extensive discussion of browser problems and how to overcome them. Especially useful is a rather full discussion of font sizing. And a good chapter on accessibility.
This is a practical book and Zeldman takes you step by step through the process of developing a site from a given design-a site which makes full use of CSS, meets standards and is accessible. Chapter 9 contains a brief introduction to CSS. Chapters 8 and 10 which describe the construction of a the aforementioned web site in detail is worth careful study.
To Zeldman's credit, the page uses one table for basic layout; Zeldman is no purist and supports use of the best tools available considering the present state of browsers.
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Designing With Web Standards
Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman (Paperback - May 24 2003)
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