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My name is Rob Cherny and I'm a professional Web Developer with 16 years of experience creating Web sites and Web-based applications. This site is where I write about my work, and random other things...

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Web Development

Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites

Earlier in the year I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to contribute to a book. I never thought this kind of opportunity would come, so I jumped at the chance. That being the case, I would like to sincerely thank the lead author, Christopher Schmitt, and the others who helped out so much on this project. Also, particularly the totally cool Kimberly Blessing who introduced me to Christopher.

Finally, especially, my wonderful wife, and her endless patience for the long nights and weekends spent on it.

After months of waiting I finally got some copies of the book, and seeing it for real and in person is pretty cool. I am tremendously pleased with the way it came together, especially considering how complicated the editing process was. Christopher assured me it was pretty tame compared to some others he’s worked on… in the end it’s full color, glossy, and quite pretty I think. Everyone should stop what they’re doing and go buy it right now. LOL, that wasn’t blatant, was it?

Regardless, this was exceptionally hard work, and I gotta say I’ve got tremendous amounts of respect for authors of any books, particularly those authors that seem to churn out book after book (like Christopher and our tech editor, Molly), since I can now say: it ain’t easy.

So what’s all this, then?

So the book starts with the challenges a Web team might encounter while making the switch to a “Web Standards”-based Web development approach. If you don’t know what that means, then you are probably not the intended audience for the book. It’s not a beginner’s book, but it does address things every team, particularly those in complicated or large scale environments, might need to know.

We tackled some “best practices” (Christopher hates the term ;-) for markup (HTML/XHTML), presentation (CSS), and the behavior layer (JavaScript). It covers how the changes in markup can impact existing documents on sites, how to potentially structure CSS files, and how JavaScript frameworks and modern, unobtrusive techniques can benefit an organization.

It also discusses pitfalls and modern techniques for Web Application development, including separation of presentation information from back-end code and some notes about ASP.NET development (nothing too hardcore though). Then, some process issues are addressed in the context of standards within an organization. The second half of the book dives into several case studies including a tremendous set of interviews and a discussion of the development of the AOL.com portal, from the excellent Kevin Lawver. There’s a tremendous amount of information included, even around performance considerations and the like. It’s all great stuff.

In the end, I didn’t really feel qualified as I participated in the the creation of the book to determine if I thought this was a good book. My wife asked me, “well, would you buy it?”.

Well, all I can say is I’m learning a lot from the chapters I didn’t write, and plan on using things in there on a project I’m starting next week.

So there. Take that for what it’s worth.

Dec 31, 02:51 AM in Web Development (filed under Web-Standards, Reviews)

  1. Hooney    Dec 31, 07:58 AM    #

    WOW~ Thanks your present!

    This book will be a present for my Happy new year~. :)

  2. Scott Mendenhall    Jan 2, 02:11 PM    #

    Congratulations, Rob!

  3. Milan Negovan    Jan 2, 03:08 PM    #

    This is intriguing! Congratulations, Rob. Any reviewer copies lying around? :)

  4. rob    Jan 2, 09:38 PM    #

    @Scott – thanks man!

    @Milan – well, you know it’s a long story but I haven’t gotten all my copies yet ;-) Working on it …

  5. Lynn Cherny    Jan 12, 07:52 PM    #

    I think I might need to get this…. I see fixing someone’s CSS in my future this year, if one of my jobs goes as expected. Congrats, btw!

  6. rob    Jan 14, 12:15 PM    #

    Hey Lynn! Thanks! Hope you enjoy your copy!

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