Eric Meyer on CSS - Book Review - WebReference Update - 020725 | WebReference

Eric Meyer on CSS - Book Review - WebReference Update - 020725

((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) July 25, 2002

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As promised, this week we review Eric Meyer's new book "Eric Meyer on CSS" by New Riders. The book is an assemblage of 13 redesign projects using, you guessed it, CSS. Meyer is a master at this, and makes the whole process seem easy showing a bug-free path through the maze we know as CSS. In other voices Digital Web Magazine reviews "The Weblog Handbook," and SURL compares three news formats for usability. In Net news this week Salon and Userland partner, AOL says they can't afford to make their IM compatible, and IBM and Opera will develop a voice-enabled multimode browser.

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New this week on and the Web:

1. BOOK REVIEW: Eric Meyer on CSS 2. OTHER VOICES: * Book Review: The Weblog Handbook * Reading Online News: A Comparison of Three Presentation Formats 3. NET NEWS: * Salon Publish-Your-Own-Weblog Service * AOL: IM Compatibility Too Costly * IBM, Opera To Develop "Multimode" Browser

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. BOOK REVIEW: Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design

Eric Meyer is the acknowledged master of CSS, the new styling mechanism for the Web. His newest book, which completes a CSS book trilogy, reflects this vast experience. On the surface this book is a collection of 13 redesign projects, each illustrating different aspects of CSS layout techniques and HTML. Underneath is a philosophy, a way of thinking, and a collection of ideas. The book makes CSS look relatively easy, when in fact it's not.

The projects illustrate (in full color) how to rework existing designs in CSS, from the simple to the sublime. As you're reading the book, you get the feeling Meyer isn't fighting the medium, he's working with it in almost a Zen-like way. Tables can stay and be styled or go, it doesn't seem to matter to him.

Meyer works within browser bugs and limitations and shows a hack- free path through CSS layout and font styling techniques. Only in the last chapter, where he nearly recreates the layout of the book in CSS, does he resort to voice family hacks to work around browser bugs.

Each of the thirteen projects has the same basic framework. He strips example designs down to pure structural HTML and builds them back up, CSS layer by CSS layer until the design technique is recreated. Everything from hyperlink styles and menu skinning, print style sheets, forms, multicolumn layouts, fixing backgrounds, and recreating the book's own layout in CSS is covered, not an easy task.

Meyer's prose is also easy to take, peppered with pithy quotes and humorous headlines. The net effect feels like you are looking over his shoulder, watching and listening to him redesign web sites that will be "forward compatible" and made to last. Meyer makes learning CSS seem easy. As Jeffrey Zeldman wrote in the foreword, I don't know how he does it. Highly recommended.

Eric Meyer on CSS By Eric Meyer New Riders Publishing, $45 ISBN: 0-7357-1245-X

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. OTHER VOICES: Book Review: The Weblog Handbook, Reading Online News: A Comparison of Three Presentation Formats

* The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog

James McNally reviews the first of an expected flood of books about blogging, by Rebecca Blood. Digital Web Magazine, July 24, 2002

* Reading Online News: A Comparison of Three Presentation Formats

Wichita State SURL compares three news formats for usability. Software Usability Research Lab, 2002

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Salon Publish-Your-Own-Weblog Service, AOL: IM Compatibility Too Costly, IBM, Opera To Develop "Multimode" Browser

* Salon Partners with Userland Software for Publish-Your-Own-Weblog Service

Salon has partnered with Dave Winer's UserLand Software enabling Salon users to publish their own weblogs. Business Wire/, July 24, 2002

* AOL: IM Compatibility Too Costly

America Online is scaling back efforts to make its popular instant messaging system work with rivals, saying the task has proven too difficult and expensive.,1367,54089,00.html, July 24, 2002

* IBM, Opera To Develop "Multimode" Browser

IBM and Opera joined in a chorus of "accessibility", pledging to develop a voice-enabled browser by this fall. The new multimodal browser, to be based on the XHTML+Voice specification, will allow web and voice information access from a single mobile device.,3973,414251,00.asp, July 24, 2002

That's it for this Thursday, see you next time.

Andrew King Newsletter Editor, aking at internet dot com


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