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Everything You Know About CSS Is Wrong- Book Review

3 February 2009 No Comment

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That can’t be true, everything I know about CSS is wrong? Lies! Sitepoint.com it is all lies! Well maybe not all lies but I guess you would have to read the book to find out and thus I will give a review about what this book is about and see if the title of this book is correct or not.

Chapter #1

The problem with CSS is that CSS is too hard.

Now that is a interesting quote now how are these authors thinking about that statement, they referring to how some website designers set up a website or how the coding is setting up the layout? They talk about web designers using grids in order to set up websites, now we all know designing a website has various stages, pre-layout, graphics, coding technologies, layout, debugging and providing content.

Thought they go into some more details with grids and tables I thought the most interesting part of chapter one is the browser wars and that is because thanks to the browser wars we designers have to develop websites for various browsers in order for them to render properly. The problem lies in Internet explorer and Microsoft doing its own thing when it comes to standards, but now with Internet Explorer coming out this year, everyone hopes and prays that all the problems we have suffered since Internet Explorer 6 will finally go away.

Of course, we all know the problems Internet Explorer 7 caused and so many people did not really switch over right away, but with Internet Explorer 8 showing good promise in the rendering aspect it could be the saving grace for Microsoft.

Chapter #2

Now the authors go right into the meat of things and I think they are encouraging people to bring back table designs even though the last few years have told design no, stay away from table designs. The reason again was Internet Explorer 6 and 7 doing them injustice when it comes to using CSS to design those tables. However, the interesting part to this chapter is that they talk about two popular techniques in CSS design, absolute positioning and using floating to set up your computer.

Obviously the point that there are trying to make is that they fail in certain aspects and that you add more into the coding in order to use them properly. Granted they are right to a certain aspect, but I would think it would have to depend on how you design your layout and if it requires them or not. That is where their examples are flawed because they expect most everyone to set up a website like so.

Now if you read their section of CSS Tables you know I called this so right about them wanting to bring tables back into mainstream design and the example coding and pictures show obviously that. Do not get me wrong they are right that it will work and with the help of Web 2.0 and AJAX displaying dynamic content it tables that would be the best solution for websites who want to incorporate data with a lot less coding to set up. The reason I say that is there will be a lot less code to deal with, a lot less divs to be used and a lot less CSS as well.

The question is can you still use tables for layout design without compromising a lot stuff to make elegant designs or today’s world of blogging a blog layout. Another problem I see is those who design layout in Photoshop and slice them apart and then put them back together again. How will the table CSS structure solve that problem especially with repeating images and trying not to break the images like years past? I would think the authors would need to look at that perspective in order to bring both groups of designers back into table design instead of just half the designers out there.

Chapter #3

Now if you read most of the book you might have notice they been using fixed layouts, and they make that point right in the beginning. That is another problem designers had with tables and that was with fluid design and the fact it was impossible because of the separate parts in a websites (header, content, footer). Now the example they show that is possible to do this now, but I think it is one aspect that still needs to be look at in the near future.

In the rest of the chapter, they cover a few more ways to work with tables and of course talk about a few more CSS table syntax that can be used in order to make table more useful again. But I have to say that they are making a convincing argument about tables being more useful now especially Internet Explorer 8 being more web standard friendly.

Chapter #4

This chapter pretty much covers what to do with users and their older browsers and from the table provided pretty much Firefox 2 and up, Opera 9.5 and up and safari 3. I would assume google chrome would use CSS tables coding as well but due to the lack of users and interesting I doubt to many will care about it since IE, FF and Opera are the top 3 browsers on the market.

Chapter #5

Chapter 5 focus is about CSS3 and although CSS3 getting to 100% will take a couple of years, give or take. Most of the major browsers have begun to implement many CSS3 tags with the exception of Internet Explorer 8. Although I do not know percentages of how much is being accepted it will be at least another version of Internet Explorer before it be on equal playing grounds.

Still with the multi-column module they use for an example in this chapter a lot of new paper websites and maybe word press template designers might enjoy using the 3 column layout for blogs in order to display their content and treat it like a real newspaper without needed to print it on paper. Of course, that is wishful thinking on my part but one can hope though.

Overall Opinion

This book is a great read especially for those who are big backers of using tables and of course going over some CSS that I doubt many people don’t use, especially the table CSS syntax to create great table designs once again. they give a good background history of browser trends and tables and of course talk about the current trends as well. So I would recommend picking up this book to give it a good once over for some great info and maybe relearn how to code tables once again.

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