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Book Reviews

Designing with Web Standards (second edition)

Jeffrey Zeldman, Peachpit Press, 2006, $44.99, ISBN: 0321385551.

Jeffrey Zeldman has written an excellent update of his critically acclaimed book. This second edition covers the changes to Web browsers, Web development techniques, and the Web community�s acceptance of Web standards in the four years since the first edition. One of the most significant changes has been improved support for CSS (cascading style sheets) layout among all browsers.

Part 1 of the book addresses the importance of Web standards. Anyone who is already convinced of the value of using Web standards, and who doesn�t need the information to convince others, can skip part 1 and go directly to part 2, the how-to of designing with Web standards.

Part 2 begins with a discussion about modern markup. XHTML is a reformulation of HTML using XML. The next chapter covers simple rules for converting from HTML to XHTML. The following chapter begins by walking the reader through an example of building a Web page using a hybrid layout. The example demonstrates how to use CSS to incorporate accessibility into the page, and by extension into the Web site as a whole.

Development of the example Web page is interrupted to cover CSS basics, after which Zeldman picks up with the example, using CSS to display the Web page without having to make changes to the page code.

A discussion of typography follows; it controls how text looks on the screen. Zeldman debunks many of the myths surrounding Web accessibility and provides tips for making Web sites more accessible. The final chapter brings together concepts learned earlier in the book and adds a few new techniques to create a CSS design. In the first edition of the book, many of the techniques were cutting edge. In the years between editions, many of these techniques have become part of Web development best practices.

I highly recommend this book for all Web professionals. Those just beginning their careers can learn the right way to build standards-compliant Web sites. Those who have been in the field for decades can learn current best practices that will make their jobs easier, while still meeting the requirements of their clients. —Will Wallace

Reprinted from Computing Reviews, © 2007 ACM,


Originally published in Queue vol. 5, no. 4
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