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Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with XHTML and CSS (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321509024
ISBN-10: 0321509021
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Book Description
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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Product Details

  • 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert S. Truesdell on September 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are just coming over the the standards-compliant light, this book is the best for showing real, working techniques. Great examples that work. A cookbook. Cederholm won my heart and my mind with "Web Standards Solutions" and this book builds on that theme. The man is a good writer, easy to understand, and he makes compelling and lucid points.

Cederholm's presentation is great: he states a problem or goal, then examines several different ways of solving it. The examinations are just a paragraph or two long -- short and to the point. He points out the strengths and weaknesses of the various solutions, then concludes with a "best practices" solution. Finally, he builds on and refines the best practices solution to deliver a finished piece. When there is no clear-cut best way, he lays the cards on the table and let's you decide what is best for your specific application. He talks about the compromises between pixel-perfect layouts and fluid layouts and how each effects design and useability issues.

It is not stand-alone because a good reference is still useful to have by your side.
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I'm a Web designer for one of the big three office supply chains in the US. This book is never more than an arm's reach away from my workstation, and I consult it almost daily. Unlike other XHTML/CSS books that examine what's theoretically possible, Cederholm's book focuses on foolproof solutions to common Web design issues. It is engagingly written and beautifully lain out. With this book and a basic knowledge of CSS, you'll be creating pages that not only look great, but make the Web a better place. This is the new Web bible. Buy it, read it, live it.
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Bulletproof Web Design does an incredible job of teaching, step-by-step, how to make your website `Bulletproof.' The author introduced the book by defining what it means to have a bulletproof website. He used the example of a police officer wearing a bulletproof vest. No, it is not 100% protection against a bullet - but it decreases the chances and is extra protection. When applied to a website, this means that your website can handle the `bullets' being thrown at it. These are things like text resizing, use of assistive devices, no CSS, no images, and a few other examples.

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.
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I've read a lot of good about this book and a lot of good from Dan Cederholm so I had my hopes up when I got this book. I have to admit I was a bit let down.

Don't get me wrong, it does a fantastic job in exposing how easy it is to convert old and clumsy design to new, slick, CSS based design with very little effort.

It feels short though and, at times, repetative. The entire last chapter, while meant to be a recap of all the previous chapters, feels unnecessary as the entire book is only 260 pages. There's very little need for a recap when you read the entire book in a couple of hours.

It's not a great reference book either. While you can look up the chapter about indestructible boxes in order to check how Dan actually anchors all the corners, it's not laid out in a manner that encourages this (and I don't think that was the idea with the book to begin with either).

I did get a lot of inspiration and the section about floats was quite informative, though I would like some more information about what we're doing instead of just enough to solve the specific problem.

At times Dan hints to how to use certain tricks to achieve a certain result that's not part of the current design but most of the time the book points to various (mostly excellent) resources on the net where you need to continue your research on your own.

One thing the book does great is pointing out how important it is to have "logical" and intelligent markup before you start applying CSS and that CSS isn't the solution to every single design problem on the Internet.

I think the book is pricey considering that it's short and you will probably not use it as a reference guide once you get the hang of the ideas and tricks Dan teaches out.

If you on the other hand need to get a kickstart as far as designing with CSS goes then it's invaluable. I'm never going to use tables the same way as I used to, for instance.
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