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Designing With Web Standards Paperback – May 24, 2003

97 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-2064712015 ISBN-10: 0735712018 Edition: First Edition

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Editorial Reviews Review

Standards, argues Jeffrey Zeldman in Designing With Web Standards, are our only hope for breaking out of the endless cycle of testing that plagues designers hoping to support all possible clients. In this book, he explains how designers can best use standards--primarily XHTML and CSS, plus ECMAScript and the standard Document Object Model (DOM)--to increase their personal productivity and maximize the availability of their creations. Zeldman's approach is detailed, authoritative, and rich with historical context, as he is quick to explain how features of standards evolved. It's a fantastic education that any design professional will appreciate.

Zeldman is an idealist who devotes some of his book to explaining how much easier life would be if browser developers would just support standards properly (he's done a lot toward this goal in real life, as well). He is also a pragmatist, who recognizes that browsers implement standards differently (or partially, or not at all) and that it is the job of the Web designer to make pages work anyway. Thus, his book includes lots of explicit and tightly focused tips (with code) that have to do with bamboozling non-compliant browsers into behaving as they should, without tripping up more compliant browsers. There's lots of coverage of design and testing tools that can aid in the creation of good-looking, standards-abiding documents. --David Wall

Topics covered: Why Web standards (such as XHTML, CSS, ECMAScript, and DOM) are good for everyone, and why site designers and browser makers should move towards standards compliance.

From the Publisher

If ever there were an author who could make web standards exciting, it’s Jeffrey Zeldman. His light and humorous writing style make for such an engaging read. It’s only after you stop reading that you realize how much you’re learning. What’s more, you’re not just learning -- you’re learning from THE ABSOLUTE BEST web standards guy there is.

Daily, Zeldman practices what he preaches, and in this book, he openly shares all he knows. In no time, you’ll be saving time and money by creating faster, leaner, more compatible web pages. Not longer after that, you'll find you have more free time, having been spared the endless cycle of coding and re-coding web pages for every possible browser/system scenario. You might even find you have enough free time to join Zeldman on his never-ending quest to convince others that web standards is THE ONLY WAY to go.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Press; First Edition edition (May 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735712018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735712010
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,252,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
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.
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396 of 496 people found the following review helpful By Rose Levy on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
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.
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306 of 389 people found the following review helpful By Alec Pollak on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
<style type="faux/css">
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;
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Winter on October 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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