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on February 9, 2005
I learned HTML back in 1994. I barely updated my HTML skills until a couple years ago where I picked up very basic CSS but all my HTML was still table based, font tags, etc.. everything you could do that's bad according to XHTML. I decided that now is the time to update my skills. I hear from many people and reviews that this is -THE- book to buy to learn web standards. 150 pages into the book, he is STILL trying to sell me on the idea to use web standards! Jesus, I bought the book already! I bought this book expecting to learn the latest XHTML tags and some CSS. Instead it was a lot of hot air and wasted time. Sure I learned a bit, but I'm sure I would have gotten more out of some other book. After reading it, I don't feel much further ahead than I was before. Time to buy another book.
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on June 30, 2004
Being still in the beginning of my webdesign endeavour, I do appreciate the updated and especially the unbiased view Jeffrey Zeldman provides in his book. Respecting Flash as an emerging standard (though proprietary), and more up-to-date than Jacob Nielsen's Web Usability one might settle just for Jeffrey Zeldman.
Standards sound dry and boring but Jeff manages to keep the reader motivated with lots of wit and an excellent writing style, complemented by a very good structure of this book. (There are not too many text books out there that can be read from beginning to end without getting bored or wandering off topic.)
This book continues and updates the attempts by Nielsen and McLellan and deserves a spot right next to them in your library. In fact, you should keep it upfront since it's probably the best advice you can get these days.
Printing quality and overall design and craftsmanship are very high.
more detail ... [...]
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on June 11, 2004
I purchased this book as a recommendation from a client I do web development for and it ended up being the best tech book I have read in a long time. I jumped in head first by implementing web standards design before I finished the book. The examples are very helpful and the code sniplets are very usefull. By using the princples of this book, I am designing and coding pages much faster and with fewer cross-browser hickups than with old-school markup and nasty table nests. Get this book and get an edge on your competition now!
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on June 8, 2004
this is the book i've been waiting for. a book that could revolutionalize web design as we know it. a book that will pull me from the crowd and put me on the cutting edge of web design. how crushingly disappointing, then, that the author is so full of himself (or shall i say, "themselves," since he makes a point of referring to himself as "we"), that he can't stay off of his soapbox long enough to provide actual directions on how to implement these standards. oh, the directions are there, but you have to dig to find them. i'm just starting chapter seven, and so far i've learned how to declare the proper doctype and encoding. that's it.
on the other hand, if you have been out of the loop on the web design trends, like i have, this book provides some very informative background. i enjoyed the first few chapters at first, then perservered through the next few to get past the redundancy and into the directions.
if you are looking for an xhtml how-to, this is not it. if you already know html and design and are interested in a new philosophy on web design, you may enjoy this book. buy it used. or on sale. it's not really worth the thirty-five bucks, but it is worth reading.
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on June 3, 2004
This is a very good book if:
a) you dont mind starting on page 141
b) you can get past trite attempts at humor such as "Not a Panacea, but Plays One on TV" (page 107) or "Poop in the Soup" (page 134)
The first 140-ish pages involve the author trying to convince you that you need to use standards, where the standards come from, the history of web design etc. The real meat for me started in Part II.
I was not really into the author's sense of humor, but hey, maybe that's just me.
There are many tasty nuggets in this one - you just have to do a lot of chewing.
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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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on May 26, 2004
Jeffrey Zeldman is an authority on the topic. You should read this if you develop Web sites...but be prepared for a Frodo-like journey through Middle Earth to find the tokens of wisdom in Zeldman's circular, cliché-per-minute writing style.
Don't get me wrong, it's better than boring, but it could have used a wave of the wand by a concise-thinking (redundancy-slashing) editor. After reading the book, you'll know your stuff, understand the history, and be prepared for productive future-minded, accessible, and tidy XHTML coding.
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Target Audience
Web designers who want to move towards coding pages according to standards and forward compatibility.
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
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".
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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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 May 9, 2004
'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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