Book Review – Web Standards Solutions

About two years ago, we were just getting going with web standards and cascading style sheet (CSS) based layout. We were struggling to make some of our pages look and feel the way we wanted them to, and with inconsistencies between different client machines and browsers. It seemed like we were spending a lot of time with the CSS, and I was questioning to myself whether it was worth the trouble. I just didn’t “get it”.

Matt Heerema, our web designer at the time, sensed that I was struggling, so he loaned me his copy of “Web Standards Solutions” by Dan Cederholm. He told me it was an easy read, and that it would help me in understanding why complying with web standards was something we should strive to accomplish. He was right.

Sometimes technical books are somewhat dry, with a lot of theory, and you need to force yourself to read though the tough parts. Not this book. After starting reading, it was hard to put down. The chapters are short, informative, and interesting. I read the book in about 3 sittings.

Each chapter in the book takes a topic, and shows 3 or 4 methods of implementing that functionality in your web page. For example, the chapter on headings shows how you can make text stand out as headings on your page using a span tag with embedded styles, paragraph tags with bold text, or heading (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) tags. It explains the advantages of using the the heading tags, which is the web standards compliant method. It then goes on with some “Extra Credit” of how to apply some styles to your heading tags to make them really stand out.

This book will give you an appreciation for why web standards are important, and will give you an introduction to CSS. It will not give you a complete understanding of CSS, but will hopefully leave you hungry for more. You can then pick up another book that does more advanced CSS techniques, such as the followup book “CSS Mastery, Advanced Web Standards Solutions”.

I liked this book so much, I purchased a copy to have on my book shelf. Whenever someone says they are interested in learning more about web standards or CSS, it’s the first book I recommend. It is a must read for anyone doing web development. More information can be found from the publisher’s web page.

The Markup and Style Handbook Cover Image

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1 comment so far

  1. […] Book Review – CSS Mastery “CSS Mastery (Advanced Web Standards Solutions)” by Andy Budd, Cameron Moll, and Simon Collison, is a good resource for how to use web standards and CSS in designing and laying out web sites. Although it’s by different authors, it is a good followup to the book “Web Standards Solutions“. […]


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