Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)

Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)

  • ISBN13: 9780321616951
  • Condition: New
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Best-selling author, designer, and web standards evangelist Jeffrey Zeldman has revisited his classic, industry-shaking guidebook. Updated in collaboration with co-author Ethan Marcotte, this third edition covers improvements and challenges in the changing environment of standards-based design.

Written in the same engaging and witty style, making even the most complex information easy to digest, Designing with Web Standards remains your essential guide to creating sites that load faster,

Rating: (out of 137 reviews)

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5 thoughts on “Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition) ”

  1. Review by for Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)
    New Rider’s slogan “Voices That Matter” is one that I generally take with a large pinch of salt. In Zeldman’s case, that’s true. If Tim Berners-Lee is the father of the internet, Zeldman and the team at the Web Standards Project are the net’s midwives. The W3C wrote the standards (or recommendations as they apologetically and coyly them), whilst Zeldman and his gang set about the hard, political and (until now) thankless task of bullying (browser-beating?) Netscape and Microsoft to conform to the standards that they’d helped set. Having brokered the end of the Browser Wars, they turned their attentions to the WYSIWYG tools like Dreamweaver, GoLive and (ahem) FrontPage, actually advising Macromedia on how to make DMX conform to Web Standards.And now, this time, it’s personal. Zeldman and the WaSP warriors are coming for you.”Though today’s browsers support standards, tens of thousands of professional designers and developers continue to use outdated methods that yoke structure to presentation”.This book is part of the campaign to educate us, the Web Professionals. It’s part polemic, and part tutorial. Polemic because so many of us are yet a-standard (or even anti-standards), and tutorial because there’s so much talk of why standards that a lot of us are saying “We know they’re important. We know it’s evil and wrong to use tables, and we know every time we use a deprecated tag a fairy dies somewhere – but how do we sew the DOM, XHTML, CSS and Accessibility all together?”This book tells you how, and – because Zeldman is a real-life designer, just like us, he isn’t pontificating from an ivory tower. This reader has read enough standards-fascists shouting “Ignore the real world!” and wonders if those authors actually do the stuff they’re frothing about. Zeldman tells us that “My bias [is] toward getting work done under present conditions – a bias I believe most of this book’s readers share”. (page 3). Inevitably, there’s a forest of three-letter acronyms, and a lot of frankly rather dull stuff to get through, but Zeldman is (to this reader) as much a writer as he is Standards Samurai. There’s a lot of jokes in the book. This reader is the first to admit that Accessibility, CSS, XHTML isn’t the most fertile ground for thigh-slappin’ gags, but there’s enough wry smiles and flashes of personality to keep you turning the pages.That’s enough of the tone; what’s the structure? Well, the first half of the book is the polemic. If you aren’t a standards convert, this will make you one. If you’re already a convert, but your boss/ client isn’t, strategically leaving this book on the corner of their desk could result in your professional relationship with that boss suddenly becoming a whole lot easier. Like many polemic computer books, though, there’s the danger of the first half of the book preaching to the choir.The second half of the book is where the meat is. We go step-by-step through hybrid XHTML layouts, DOCTYPEs Standards Mode, Typography and Accessibility, leaning by doing it. This is not theoretical. The only depressing chapter is the one titled, “Box models, bugs and Workarounds”, on how to accommodate the nasty gremlins of today’s browsers. Unlike legacy browser-sniffing that we used to do, however, the Workarounds here are not wasted effort. Standards-compliance is not perfect in today’s technology, but it’s not going away; the WaSP have generated an unstoppable momentum.What’s bad about the book? Very little, really. It was `fast-tracked’ through production, so the occasional page has a slight layout weirdness. Like many recent New Riders books, there’s a typographical prissiness (the numerals `2′ and `7′ in the body of the text are the worst offenders). These are tiny points, from a publishing pedant, that I’ve only really included because the rest of the review is so glowing!Wholeheartedly recommended.
    Bruce Lawson,

  2. Review by Revelee for Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)

    review {
    information: priceless
    format: real-world, example-based;
    clarity: crystal;
    history: eye-opening;
    audience: essential reading for ALL web profesionals;
    humor: witty and wise as always;
    timing: perfect – now is the time for standards and accessibility – zeldman explains why and how;
    why: save money, time and do the right thing;
    how: tons of techniques and proven tactics with real world examples;
    bottom-line: actively using dwws as a tool to move my agency and my clients towards standard compliant practices;

  3. Review by Leah Hicks for Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)
    During the prehistoric era of the internet, there was no real guideline for making a website. It was done how one pleased: put a table here and there and viola, you have your layout. But tables were not meant for layout, they were meant for tabular data. Examples such as these are seen in “Designing with Web Standards,” and how they can lead to the detriment of the webmaster.

    While “Designing with Web Standards” is not necessarily code-intensive, it provides plenty of real-life situations where web standards are important. It is not a guide to creating your website; rather, it is a guide to improve upon it. Jeffrey Zeldman demonstrates that web standards will, in the long run, save you a lot of trouble.

    This book is a good read for those who wish to clean their websites and overall make the website less time-consuming and easier to manage.

  4. Review by Rose Levy for Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)
    I came upon this book via glowing reviews on amazon, citations on websites, and exalted praise from cutting-edge web developers. This was THE book to read if you want to build websites that didn’t rely on spaghetti code and deeply nested tables, I was told.

    I was greatly disappointed. While I appreciate the overall message of this book and some of the techniques are helpful, not only is it exasperating in its lack of information, but it actually commits the very sins that it relentlessly cites as the scourge of 99.9% of websites – redundancy, verbosity, and lack of clean, clear structure of what little information it imparts.


    The book really doesn’t even get started until Chapter 6 on page 153 (and even that is being generous), after mind-numbing repetition in the form of exposition, bulleted lists, and executive summaries about why one should design and build websites using web standards. There’s even a sentence on page 137 that proclaims, “Now let’s stop exulting and get down to work.” Well, guess what? It’s just a tease – and there will be plenty more — because the proselytizing never really stops.

    When the author finally comes around to showing examples and their accompanying markup, it is sadly deficient. CSS that works with the markup is not even shown alongside it, although we are promised to be shown in another chapter. I learned very little about how to actually employ the techniques that Zeldman advocates so strenuously.

    The meaningless subheads drove me nuts! Here’s a taste: “CSS: The First Bag is Free; The F Word; How Suite it is; Not a Panacea, But Plays One on TV; Inherit the Wind; Miss Behavior to You.” I know this might seem like a petty criticism, and maybe people are used to this style from the Dummies books, but 1. They’re stupid 2. They impart absolutely no meaning, so if the book is used for a reference, they are less than helpful and 3. The subsections are constantly referred to in all of their absurd and useless glory. This constant reference to other sections by Chapter Number, Chapter Name, Subsection Name smacked of gratuitous page lengthening to me. (If you must refer, why not just use page numbers? Takes up about 1/10th of the space (LIKE GOOD WEB CODE), or better yet, use footnotes!)


    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I don’t get this stuff. I bought a serious, technical book about the new age of coding websites. It cost $35 and at 415 pages, that’s about 8.4 cents per page. I don’t need breaks for mindless digressions about blueberry tofu pie, what title you were thinking of for chapter 6, or for that matter why you want to write in the first person plural. At times, Mr. Zeldman seems to almost flaunt it in our face that he’s wasting our time, e.g., on pg. 214 (after a discussion of how this isn’t a CSS manual, and how he’s introducing us to the “thighs” and “drumsticks” of CSS), he writes: “On the other hand, how many full-blown CSS reference manuals use the word “thighs” three times in one paragraph? You’re right none of them do. Your money was well spent on this book.”

    And when he does actually explain something, it’s like being hit over the head with a jackhammer. It took more than half of page 159 to explain this XHTML rule: “write all tags in lowercase”.


    The book is also sprinkled with pointless putdowns like “none of this is rocket science” (pg. 164), but the most egregious teaching technique occurs on page 196, when, mind you, very little actual teaching has even taken place. The author gives an example of markup from the Microsoft homepage (eek!) of what he calls “toilet debris” code and then goes on to say:

    “Because redundancy is as bad in books as it is in code, we’ll avoid explaining what’s wrong with this markup. If you don’t know by now, one of us hasn’t done our job.”

    Should the phrase “we’ll avoid explaining” ever be part an educational text? With all due respect Mr.Zeldman, I think it’s you who didn’t do your job.

  5. Review by Bryan Winter for Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition)
    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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