Review: Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook, Special Edition

May 25, 2010 Virginia DeBolt

A Community Member Book Review — 3.5 stars

Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook, Special EditionA review by Virginia DeBolt of Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook, Special Edition

Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook, Special Edition by Dan Cedarholm is from Friends of ED (2009). This is an updated edition of Cedarholm's 2004 book by the same name. When I reviewed the 2004 book, this is what I said:

The book grew out of Cederholm’s practice of asking his simplebits.com users to offer ideas on markup by asking questions such as, "What is the best way to markup such-and-such a page element with XHTML?" The responses were interesting and so is the book, which explores standards-based structural markup and CSS in a way that is fast and easy reading and provides very useful content.

Cederholm covers topics such as markup for lists, headings, tables, forms, and anchors. He looks at CSS for all those elements, plus print styles, CSS layouts, image replacement techniques, and body styles. He examines possible ways to do all these things and brings you gently to understand the way that best uses standards and semantic markup to accomplish the job.

Although this is not a book for beginners, students with basic knowledge of XHTML and CSS will like this book. It is quick to use, provides good examples and resources, and is written in an engaging and light-hearted style that is fun to read. Definitely recommended.

That review still tells the story of what this book is about. Much of the content is unchanged. A small amount of new content has been added. For example, in the chapter "Applying CSS" there is now a section on "Reset Styles." With the 2009 edition, there are bonus materials available online from Friends of ED. These include the examples files from the book, a couple of extra chapters (one by Ian Lloyd) and several appendix-type reference chapters.

Although the bonus materials are excellent, they may not be enough of an incentive to buy the new edition if you own the 2004 edition. If you don't own the 2004 edition, this is a terrific book for anyone interested in semantic markup to own. It's worth buying. You will learn much about the best markup solutions to most text formatting questions.

Cross posted at Web Teacher.

Summary: An updated classic about semantic markup and CSS.

Annotated review posted on Amazon.