Designing With Web Standards (Second Edition)

Spot the difference:

Designing With Web Standards (First Edition) Designing With Web Standards (Second Edition)

In the three years since Jeffrey Zeldman wrote his first edition of Designing With Web Standards his book cover has now turned green, the content has been printed in full technicolour and it appears (from the cover photo at least) that he now looks like Bob Carolgees in a beanie hat!

My copy of the new edition arrived last Saturday and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to get into it. Not literally, I mean “read it”. I took the first edition on holiday with me, a few years back, to Tenerife. While Jane and her parents explored the island I sat on a balcony reading about the importance of Web standards. It’s not as sad as it sounds.

Well, okay, maybe it is but I certainly learned a HUGE amount from that book. I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that that one book turned my life around entirely and helped to make me a completely different person.

Well, okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but that book gave me a new insight into what was possible with Web design. It gave me an insight into the importance of writing good, logically structured documents which are then displayed using Cascading Style Sheets. I’d read alot about both before but no-one had explained it to me quite so clearly and entertainingly as Mr Zeldman did on that balcony in the Canaries.

If you already have the first edition you probably don’t need this one (except for completeness) as you’re probably aware of the importance of standards and are keeping up with what’s going on (at places like A List Apart, for example). But this edition has been brought completely up to date. It even talks about Internet Explorer 7.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone vaguely interested in Web design and standards, and particularly if you are the kind of person who thinks that it’s okay to write Web pages with a class or div for everything and who uses H1, H3 and H4 tags without H2.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

2 thoughts on “Designing With Web Standards (Second Edition)”

  1. *shakes head*

    The answer is a most definite and resounding no. The heading tags (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5 and h6) are used to help define the structure of a document and not simply because h1 makes the text look bigger than h3.

    It may be useful to think of it in the terms of a book with h1 being the book title (the most important piece of information — used only once at the start of the book), h2 being the chapter headings, and h3 being sub-headings within each chapter (h4 to h6 can be further sub-divisions of chapter information). That way you can see the relative importance of each heading because of the hierarchy assigned to them with the relevant h-tags.

    So h-tags are there to give structure to a document — how they actually look and are sized can be manipulated with CSS. This afternoon I wrote code that made an h1 title look smaller than h2, for example.

    Microsoft Word allows you to do the same with different styles — I’ll blog about this sometime, because it’s really quite useful.

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