Book Review - Web Standards Solutions - The Markup and Style Handbook by Dan Cederholm
I've mentioned in the past that books on web standards and markup tend to irritate me due to their "I'm an expert and my opinion is always right" attitude. But never one to give up, I had the chance to review Web Standards Solutions - The Markup and Style Handbook by Dan Cederhold (Apress). Much like the book Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman, this is a refreshing change and extremely practical. I really like it!
The chapter breakdown: Lists; Headings; Tables Are Evil?; Quotations; Forms; <strong>, <em>, and Other Phrase Elements; Anchors; More Lists; Minimizing Markup; Applying CSS; Print Styles; CSS Layouts; Styling Text; Image Replacement; Styling <body>; Next Steps; Index
The chapters follow a common format... A topic is introduced, and three or four different methods are shown on how to accomplish the task (like lists). Each method is explored for pros and cons, with the goal of finding a solution that puts emphasis on semantic meaning and clean markup. This is followed by an "extra credit" section that pushes past the basic topic and starts to show some more unique ways to use CSS for appealing page images.
For one, the tone is conversational in nature. You're not being lectured to or scolded for not adhering to perfect and exact standards (or opinions). The book is also not a reference manual as such. It's a practical guide on how to use CSS to get the job done and give yourself a solid design that will work for multiple types of browsers. Throw in a little humor along the way, and this book becomes one which you find yourself picking up repeatedly.
The sign of a good book for me is one where I'm using the book either before or during my review. Based on a project I'm currently coding, I've already started to memorize certain page numbers I keep going back to. This book will definitely secure a spot on the bookshelf at work, and will be closely guarded to make sure it doesn't disappear.