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HTML & CSS: The Good Parts

Cover of HTML & CSS: The Good Parts by Ben Henick Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. HTML & CSS: The Good Parts
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Preface
      1. The Who and What of This Book
      2. Objectives of This Book
      3. Conventions Used in This Book
      4. Using Code Examples
      5. Safari® Books Online
      6. How to Contact O’Reilly
      7. Acknowledgments
    3. 1. Hypertext at the Core
      1. The Web Without Links
      2. URIs
    4. 2. Working with HTML Markup
      1. HTML Syntax
      2. Rendering Modes, Flavors of HTML, and Document Type Declarations
      3. Beautiful Parts: Universal Attributes
      4. Separating Content, Structure, Presentation, and Behavior
      5. Browsers, Parsing, and Rendering
    5. 3. CSS Overview
      1. Connecting Stylesheets to HTML Documents
      2. Choosing the Elements You Want to Style: Writing Selectors
      3. Rule Conflicts, Priority, and Precedence
      4. CSS Property and Value Survey
      5. CSS Units
      6. Key CSS Layout Properties
    6. 4. Developing a Healthy Relationship with Standards
      1. The Broad Landscape of Web-Related Standards
      2. Why Web Standards?
      3. Taking the Middle Road: Standards-Friendliness
    7. 5. Effective Style and Structure
      1. The Four Habits of Effective Stylists
      2. CSS Zen and the Stylist’s Experience
      3. Information Architecture and Web Usability
    8. 6. Solving the Puzzle of CSS Layout
      1. The CSS Box Model and Element Size Control
      2. Quirks Mode and Strict Mode
      3. auto Values
      4. Margins, Borders, and Padding
      5. Element Flow
      6. Using the display Property to Change an Element’s Flow
      7. The float and clear Properties
      8. Implementing Multicolumn Layouts
      9. CSS Positioning Properties
      10. The visibility and z-index Properties
      11. Obtaining Precise Navigation Source Order and Layout
      12. Layout Types and Canvas Grids
    9. 7. Working with Lists
      1. Ordered and Unordered Lists
      2. Other Uses for Lists
      3. Styling Navigation Elements
      4. Definition Lists
    10. 8. Headings, Hyperlinks, Inline Elements, and Quotations
      1. Headings and Good Writing
      2. Styling Heading Elements
      3. Link Markup
      4. Styling Links
      5. Adding Semantic Value with Inline Elements
      6. Quotations
    11. 9. Colors and Backgrounds
      1. Color Theory and Web Color Practice
      2. CSS Backgrounds
      3. Composing Background Images
      4. Bitmapped Copy and Fahrner Image Replacement
      5. Reducing Server Load with Sprites
    12. 10. (Data) Tables
      1. The Disadvantages of Layout Tables
      2. The Parts of a Data Table
      3. Composing Cells
      4. Table Headers, Footers, and Heading Cells
    13. 11. Images and Multimedia
      1. Replaced Elements
      2. Preparing Images for Production
      3. Image Production
      4. Working with Color Profiles
      5. Image Optimization
      6. Publishing Images
      7. Styling Images and Plug-in Content
      8. Adding Motion and Sound: Using SWFObject to Insert Flash Videos and Presentations
      9. Inserting Unwrapped Multimedia
    14. 12. Web Typography
      1. A Brief History of Letterforms
      2. A Visual Glossary of Typography
      3. Aliasing and Anti-Aliasing
      4. Type Styles, Readability, and Legibility
      5. Sizing Type
      6. Working with Typefaces and Fonts
      7. Character Encoding in Brief
      8. Creating Balanced Type Treatments
      9. Typographical Miscellany in CSS
      10. The Practice of Good Web Typography
    15. 13. Clean and Accessible Forms
      1. Building Effective Forms
      2. Assessment and Structure
      3. Basic Form Structure, Presentation, and Behavior
      4. Prototyping and Layout
      5. Required Fields and Other Submission Constraints
      6. Creating Accessible Forms
      7. Form Features in HTML5
    16. 14. The Bad Parts
      1. The Numbing Nature of Internet Explorer (Especially IE 6)
      2. Systemic Ugliness
      3. HTML’s Bad Neighborhoods and Cul-de-Sacs
      4. CSS Travesties
      5. The Awful Parts
      6. Picking Up the Pieces
    17. A. URIs, Client-Server Architecture, and HTTP
      1. The Underlying Client-Server Architecture
      2. What Every Web Developer Should Know About HTTP
      3. MIME Types, in Brief
      4. Controlling Request Volume
    18. Glossary
    19. Index
    20. About the Author
    21. Colophon
    22. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly

Chapter 5. Effective Style and Structure

One can read markup like music and gain an appreciation for a document as a complete product—but when the presentation is completely removed into its own dedicated scope, the only way to make sense of the result is to ride two trains of thought in parallel. For most people, that kind of perfectly balanced multitasking takes practice.

However, there are tools and habits that make it easier. Among the tools are the developer interfaces provided with every major browser, all designed to display related markup and stylesheet rules in context.

Habits are a different matter. Remember that the Web is a multidimensional space: if you see markup or CSS and your thought process is still constrained to only two (or even three) dimensions, you’re not seeing the whole picture.


Most of this section deals with presentation-layer development practice on a theoretical level. If you want to skip to the “climax” of this material, you should read Taxonomy and Nomenclature.

The Four Habits of Effective Stylists

The Web has no beginning and no end. Individual pages might be bounded, but even those usually contain links to other sources of information, and visitors could have arrived from any context. Even when a document ends, the user experience doesn’t.

Working in this unbounded environment requires a tight focus on information in preference to any notion of the finished site. Everything else takes lower priority: designers’ hangups, branding guidelines, even ...

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