Designing with Web Standards, 2nd Edition (Book review)

I think almost every Web professional who uses Web standards knows who Jeffrey Zeldman is. If you happen to be one of the few who don't, he is one of the pioneers of the Web standards movement. Without him and the work he has done, most of us would still be using tables within tables within tables and spacer GIFs to create websites.

This second edition of Jeffrey Zeldman's book Designing with Web Standards is an absolute must read for anybody who has not yet started using Web standards. I'd even say that it is a must read even for those who have, if only because of how well-written and engaging it is. Oh, if I could write like Zeldman.

The first part of the book is spent examining the current state of the Web and what is wrong with it (which, unsurprisingly, is lots). Then, Web standards and the benefits that come with using them are explained. And they are explained very well. If you need arguments for Web standards, pick up this book and read it. Then read it again.

Despite being a worthy read for all Web professionals, much of the practical parts of this book seem targeted mostly at Web designers transitioning from table-tag-soup to CSS-based design. That probably explains why Zeldman has a little more "flexible" attitude in this book towards certain things than I do (transitional doctypes and hybrid layouts to mention two specifics).

I'm surprised that an ancient browser like Netscape 4 is mentioned as frequently as it is. In the first edition, released in 2003, I can understand the need for Netscape 4 workarounds, but in a book released in 2006? I suppose there are still organisations that require websites to display more or less the same in Netscape 4 as in a modern browser, but I haven't been in that situation since early 2002. Still, for those who do need that sort of information, it's good that it is there.

Yes, the practical parts of the book are aimed mostly at Web standards novices, but the first part of Designing with Web Standards makes it a very entertaining read and a must-have for all Web professionals.

Details for Designing with Web Standards (2nd Edition)
Author: Jeffrey Zeldman
ISBN: 0321385551

Posted on January 30, 2007 in Reviews, Web Standards