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.

How to look for a house

Lumber house with a grass roof

In 1984, shortly before he died, James Hopewell, an American pastor and theologian completed the third draft of his first and only book called simply Congregation. In it he observed that people when chosing to which church and congregation to belong approach the task in a similar way “to the way that a family examines a house … in which [they] might [live]” (Hopewell, Congregation, p. 19).

Typically, he says, when househunters are looking for a new home they look at properties with a mixture of four broad perspectives:

  1. househunters look not only at the house in which they are interested but also the surrounding ENVIRONMENT. They ask questions such as is this house and neighbourhood both suitable and secure? Could we see ourselves living in this area?
  2. houses are also viewed from a FUNCTIONAL (or mechanical) perspective – that is, does this house (or congregation) offer shelter and protection from unexpected external forces? How well does this place do its job?
  3. the third factor is what Hopewell calls the ORGANIC perspective—the househunter tries to tie their family’s story to the property, envisioning how they might use this dwelling. “Will this be a happy home for us?” “Does the story of this place resonate with my story?”
  4. the SYMBOLIC perspective—househunters look at the capacity for a potential house to reflect their character. “What does this place suggest about who we are?”

I suspect that Jane and I are going to be looking for a house in which we might live in much the same way that people look for a congregation.