Reviewed by John Wetherbie, November 2003
(8 of 10)
Designing with Web Standards by Jeffery Zeldman has two main points: 1) using web standards will save you and your clients time and money and; 2) you can achieve great effects by using web standards. The author takes the practical view that using web standards is a good thing but isn't dogmatic about it. The majority of examples in the book focus on a "hybrid" strategy that makes web sites compatible with older browsers by using tables to provide some of the layout structure in conjunction with CSS.
The first four chapters provide an overview of where web design has been and where it is currently with the advent of XML. Even if you aren't into history I highly recommend reading the latter part of chapter four for the pointers to resources on the web.
The second section focuses on constructing the design of a web site using the "hybrid" approach mentioned above. The reader is introduced to the differences between HTML and XHTML, to CSS, problems you will run into with various browsers and their solutions, accessibility, and the DOM. Designing a site only using CSS for controlling the presentation is the topic of the last chapter in this section.
I found the book an enjoyable read. This book is more for web designers who don't have much experience with CSS. I would also have liked the book to have more on "pure" CSS approaches but can understand the author's pragmatic viewpoint.