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Transcending CSS The Fine Art of Web Design by Andy Clarke



Authors: Andy Clarke
ISBN: 0321410971
Publisher: New Riders Press
384 pages
Published: Nov 2006

One of the major decisions one needs to make when starting a website project is how “cutting edge” your site design will be. Will you use only basic HTML or will you also use CSS, JavaScript, Ajax and more? If you do decide to use these other web languages, how much will you use and how will you use them? For a long time, there was only one answer to this question. Those features that were supported by the most popular web browsers represented the limited amount of advanced features that you could add to your site and still be assured that most people would be able to access your site.

In this book the author, Andy Clarke, presents the argument that website design should not be limited in this way. Written from the designer’s point of view, this book has beautiful photography, plentiful screenshots and real-world examples of the author’s approach to web design. The purpose of this book is not to teach you web standards or the popular web languages such as XHTML, CSS and JavaScript but to teach you how to use these tools to create effective and cutting edge websites.

In the first part of the book, Clarke discusses the Graded Browser Support approach to web design introduced by YahooR and the seven principles of Transcendent CSS. The author's goal is to expand your design options beyond the commonly used table-based layouts and toward a content-based approach where the website structure is based on the meaning and purpose of the content on the page.

The next part of the book teaches how to build a web standards compliant and content-based website with XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. Again, it is not the author’s desire to teach these languages and he does assume a working knowledge of them. Instead, Clarke shows you how to replace the table-based layout with a grid-based positioning of the elements on the webpage. Once you are not constrained by the table-based layout, your options are far less limited to the common two and three column design. Clarke walks you through several sample websites to demonstrate the use of alternative positioning and layout techniques. Finally, he discusses the advantages of the CSS3 advanced layout module and designing websites for different media types.

Andy Clarke is a ten year veteran of the web and is lead designer and creative director for his design consultancy. He is a member of the Web Standards Project and has worked with the W3C’s CSS Working Group.




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