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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 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 April 15, 2004
Zeldman is a great writer and the book is a page-turner. He tells you that everything you've been doing is bad, but it's OK because that's just the way things develop. Instead of crying on the past, he helps you get excited about the future. The only thing (and I mean only thing) I wanted but didn't get from the book was: more technical details on CSS. I suppose that's what a pocket-reference is for, though. After opening the doors to the incredible power of the XHTML/CSS design, I was going nuts trying to find out how to tell CSS what I wanted.
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on April 14, 2004
A great "Starter-Kit" for XHTML, CSS, light-weight coding and web standard! However, it's a pitty that Jeffrey decided to waste ink on practically 150 pages on the history of browsers, web standards and why you should use them. Honestly - I bought this book because I KNOW I should use standards, no need to convince me again ;-)
I would gladly trade in those 150 pages for a more in-depth coverage of CSS.
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on March 21, 2004
If you could convince Amazon to rip the first 146 pages out of this book before shipping it, it would save a lot of wasted time, annoyance (as well as the some shipping costs). The author has some great insights but also, unfortunately, the gift of the gab, and he's not afraid of using it.
Although I learned a lot from this book I wish that there had been much less of it. The first 146 pages are rambling, redundant and unecessary throat-clearing excercise in which the author tells you again and again how happy you will be once he gets around to telling you what he's planning on telling you. You can skip this without loss. I would recommend this book to a friend but I'd tell them to start near the top of page 147, right after where it says "So let's delve in, shall we?"
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on March 19, 2004
Weighing in a three-quarters of an inch and actually four hundred and fifty-four pages long (456 if you count the inside cover), this impressively-named apologia for CSS-based design greets you with a smile! Or is it a smile? One can't tell, because the mysterious blue-chapeau'ed elf on the front cover does not deign to reveal his expression. Consequently, au courant web designers refer to this paperback as "the Mysterious Blue Elf Book," for the cheeky woodland creature who peeks out at you. Perhaps he had some hand in writing this book, along with Eric A. Myer and Zeldman's facial hair.
The book itself fits nicely with other technical books, neither too tall nor too wide, unlike other lesser works that aggressively jar the harmony and aesthetics of a carefully-trimmed bookshelf. That is not to say the book is not without its faults. Many a fastidious web designer has complained about the cover, presented in bold tangerine, arguing for the conventions of technical blue. Being somewhat stingy with my stars, I am compelled to subtract one, marring an otherwise faultless execution.
There's always hope for the second edition.
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on March 19, 2004
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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on March 12, 2004
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...
Brian Huculak
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on March 9, 2004
Jeffrey Zeldman presents a thorough, concise, witty and practical treatise on the value of incorporating standards into web design. If you are still marking up web documents with tables, invisible spacer images, bloated browser detection and OS-dependant scripts, this book is guaranteed to change your perspectve. You will be shown a clear path to creating lean, attractive content that is both backwards-compatible and forward-looking.
Highly recommended!
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on March 9, 2004
This is an amazing read! If you don't know much about web standards, this is the book for you. Zeldman tells why and how designing with web standards will benefit your sites. From browser compatibility to saving bandwidth, it explains it all.
If you're still nesting your tables, pick this book up. It will do wonders for you. I know, it did for me.
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