Few Web designers are experienced programmers, and as a result, working with semantic markup and CSS can create roadblocks to achieving truly beautiful designs using all the resources available. Add to this the pres Add to this the pressures of presenting exceptional design to clients and employers, without compromising efficient workflow, and the challenge deepens for those working in a fast-paced environment. As someone who understands these complexities firsthand, author and designer Andy Clarke offers visual designers a progressive approach to creating artistic, usable, and accessible sites using transcendent CSS. He is a visual web designer based in the UK and started his design consultancy Stuff and Nonsense in
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I picked up this book in part because it really is a beautiful book: rich, elegant, luxurious. How to explain? The book reads like a typical book, nothing new here. Normally, a sidebar is placed near the main text to which it is connected. In Transcending CSS, the detour is on the right page alright, but the left facing page is not text, but images. I found this more than a little confusing. Zach is god. Zach is having you do microformats.
Aside from the design glitch I noted above, the book is very useful to anyone who comes at CSS and standards-based design from a designers perspective.
If you have a lot of standards-based design work under your belt, have been doing this for a few years, etc. Consider the imaginary Cookr site Clarke uses to walk readers through semantic-based development principles and processes.
The page is a recipe page, with the recipe on the left. On the right is a box containing suggestions for related recipes. I would never have looked at the block of related items -- photo, title, description -- and seen it as a list item in an unordered list -- until I read this book.
I would have looked at it in terms of a design problem and thought about it in terms of how to mark up the page to get the visual effects I wanted.
Hence, I would have seen two columns, one containing photo of the dish, and the other containing text-based information -- which would have comprised a table row in the old table-based design days. By the way, he also points out that these are not "strictly definition terms and descriptions, so using a definition list would be stretching the semantic use of the element.
When combined, the elements create a more precise meaning together than they do separately. Work to be done. Ah well.
Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design
For example: I would be hard-pressed to think of another book that has been as influential on my career as Transcending CSS. The semantically structured code I write every day contains the fingerprints that came from the inspiring examples in this work. The skills I learned at the time put me well ahead of others in the field, and helped kickstart my career. Chris Lackey Left: cover. Right: A new cover for When I wrote the acknowledgements in , I said: Writing this book has been one of the hardest, but at the same time, the most rewarding challenges in my life.
Producing Transcending CSS Revisited
I picked up this book in part because it really is a beautiful book: rich, elegant, luxurious. How to explain? The book reads like a typical book, nothing new here. Normally, a sidebar is placed near the main text to which it is connected. In Transcending CSS, the detour is on the right page alright, but the left facing page is not text, but images. I found this more than a little confusing.