- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: New Riders; 2 edition (August 19, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0321509021
- ISBN-13: 978-0321509024
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,649,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with XHTML and CSS (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition
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No matter how visually appealing or content-packed a Web site may be, if it's not adaptable to a variety of situations and reaching the widest possible audience, it isn't really succeeding. In Bulletproof Web Desing, author and Web designer extraordinaire, Dan Cederholm outlines standards-based strategies for building designs that provide flexibility, readability, and user control--key components of every sucessful site. Each chapter starts out with an example of an unbulletproof site one that employs a traditional HTML-based approach which Dan then deconstructs, pointing out its limitations. He then gives the site a make-over using XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), so you can see how to replace bloated code with lean markup and CSS for fast-loading sites that are accessible to all users. Finally, he covers several popular fluid and elastic-width layout techniques and pieces together all of the page components discussed in prior chapters into a single-page template.
Guest Reviewer: Jeffrey Zeldman
Modern web design is user-centered, accessible, and standards-based. In other words, it's completely different from the stuff we did in the 1990s. There are two vital aspects to designing with web standards:
(1) understanding why
(2) knowing how
Know-how is what Dan Cederholm has in spades, and in this updated edition of his essential text, he shares that knowledge with humor and clarity.
Dan's is one of the smartest minds in CSS and HTML. He is internationally known as a deep and innovative coder. But his background is in design and production, working on real-world sites for no-nonsense businesses like Google, ESPN, and Fast Company, Inc.
This grounding in practical user interface design and daily production issues makes Dan a great teacher of CSS, because he never loses sight of the things designers want to do (not to mention the things designers' clients and bosses demand of them).
From multi-column layouts that stay crispy in milk, to maintaining fine control of web fonts and sizes without alienating users: just about every problem a modern web designer faces is examined, with solutions ranging from good to better to best.
This second edition includes everything you need to know about taking Internet Explorer 7 into account. Little else has changed. And that's as it should be, for this book is a classic. It belongs on every web designer's shelf.
-- Jeffrey Zeldman, author, Designing With Web Standards 2nd Edition
About the Author
Dan Cederholm is a Web designer and author living in Massachusetts. He's the founder of SimpleBits, a tiny design studio. A recognized expert in the field of standards-based Web design, Dan has worked with Google, MTV, ESPN, Fast Company, Blogger, Odeo, and others. He embraces flexible, adaptable design using Web standards through his design work, writing, and speaking. Dan is the author of two best-selling books: Bulletproof Web Design (New Riders) and Web Standards Solutions (Friends of ED). Dan also runs the popular weblog SimpleBits, where he writes articles and commentary on the Web, technology, and life. He also plays a mean ukulele and occasionally wears a baseball cap.
From the Back Cover
No matter how visually appealing or packed with content your Web site is, it isn’t succeeding if it’s not reaching the widest possible audience. If you get this guide, you can be assured it will! By deconstructing a series of real-world Web sites, author and Web designer extraordinaire Dan Cederholm outlines 10 strategies for creating standards-based designs that provide flexibility, readability, and user control—key components of every successful Web site. Each chapter starts out with an example of what Dan refers to as an “unbulletproof” concept—an existing site that employs a traditional approach and its associated pitfalls. Dan then deconstructs that approach, noting its downsides and then making the site over using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). By the end of each chapter, you’ll have replaced traditional, bloated, inaccessible page components with lean markup and CSS. The guide culminates with a chapter that pieces together all of the page components discussed in prior chapters into a single page template. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The thing I liked most about this book is that it wasn't preaching web standards - It was simply walking you through each chapter - with each chapter building on the last - and showing you techniques that WORK. The book itself does an incredible job of keeping your attention through the use of images, highlighting, and full code listing. For those who can't quite grasp CSS (especially positioning and the like), this book is extremely helpful through its thorough explanations and visuals. Screenshots are provided each step of the way to let you see your progress.
Each chapter introduces you to new ways of handling things like text display, link display, navigation, list elements, layouts, floating, positioning, and a few others. Each chapter first take an example of a website (or aspect of a website) that is NOT bulletproof, then re-constructs that example with semantic XHTML and CSS to show you the results. The last chapter of the book brings it all together and shows you how it could be used in a production environment, with each piece of the puzzle being put together. The author doesn't dwell on the array of hacks and filters - but simply lists the ones that he uses and how they get the job done (and why they are needed).
Using proper XHTML and CSS is sometimes misunderstood. This is where many will start with a bad case of classitis and divitis and start going crazy adding extra markup. The author does a great job of creating very lean, structured, semantic XHTML. This is the XHTML that is friendly to browsers and other devices alike, as well as rich in meaning. Using proper elements to get the job done is vitally important to the meaning of the website itself. He focuses on this aspect, and with each chapter discusses the importance of the structure and not adding unnecessary presentational markup to your pages. It is this separation of presentation and content that ultimately makes using proper CSS a wise choice.
Quite frankly, this is one of the best CSS books I have read - and would recommend it to both the beginner and advanced CSS developer. This review doesn't even do the book justice - mainly because you need to buy it and read it to really enjoy the context as a whole. There are many things I could explain in more detail, and there are many different things that I learned through reading this book (some of which were things that were needed immediately). This is a no-fluff CSS book that brings everything together nicely, and a must have for any web developers bookshelf!
Throughout the text, the emphasis is placed in creating an XHTML/CSS page that does not break, when the user environment and/or the browser setting are not what the site designer expect or anticipated. At first I was a little skeptical of the author's rather strict adherence to the design that does not break in situations such as, say, a user uses a very large font setting for better readability; such a consideration may be of little importance nowadays, since even Firefox 3 now "zooms" in and out the entire page contents by default, not just text fonts. Furthermore, for many web developers under pressure to produce web sites that just work "well enough" for most reasonable cases, it does seem like the practices that are recommended in this book seem to take a little more care and time than desired.
However, all the design ideas presented in this book are very well thought out, and it actually does not take much extra effort to implement, once a designer gets used to them. I am in the process of updating my web design skills from what I knew as a table monkey, and I assure that this book offers plenty of enlightenment to those in similar situations as I am. Good thing is that once I learned the techniques presented in the book, I can come up with other effective ways to use CSS to fine tune layouts. Using HTML tables still offer some advantage if you need to support older nonstandard-compliant (Microsoft) browsers, but the flexibility of CSS just cannot be beaten if the site designs require extreme attention to detail.
The only drawback is that the presentation of the XHTML/CSS codes is slightly too meticulous and verbose for someone who is already very proficient in reading them. It is also not a cheap book for the amount of contents. Highly recommended, especially considering that the good CSS support in most modern browsers has started allow us to transform ourselves from table supermonkeys to CSS subhuman.
His ideas allow users (site visitors) to resize their text without distorting page layout - bottom line. I've tested that as well. Remember the days of table based layout. If a user chose to increase his font size, tables would stretch and the integrity of the layout would be severly compromised. Not with Dan's approach. Your text stays contained within it's elements, because the elements adjust to the font size of the text they contain... pretty nifty.
More importantly, his layouts display properly in text based browsers because of proper use of semantic markup. Same goes for palm pilots, and other non-traditional methods of viewing web pages. In simple terms, his ideas meet the standards of the Web Accessibility Initiative.
OK, that's should probably do it.