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Foreword

 
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Foreword

CSS is realized. CSS has proven itself beyond imagination. Cascading Style Sheets have unquestionably revolutionized the Web. Without CSS, we would most certainly be limited by presentation-laden documents, tables for layout, and impossibly messy markup.

The movement toward standardizing styles, design, and layout is now firmly in place, and CSS is playing an enormous role in that. CSS gives us more control over our layouts; more options to manage and control color, images, and text sizing; and greater ability to maintain numerous documents, provide accessibility, and serve multiple devices much more easily.

Are we still challenged by browser implementations of CSS? Well, sure, and that's a reality we have to work with. But even as we're encumbered by the lack of updates for Microsoft IE 6.0, there are encouraging advancements in other web browsers. Safari, Opera, Mozilla, and Mozilla Firefox all stand as evidence that a majority of implementers are concerned about standards within browsers. We're finally seeing terrific support for CSS emerge in a wide range of developer tools including Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, Adobe GoLive CS, and many of the weblogging tools in use around the Web today.

That this book—Version 2.0 of Eric Meyer's seminal work on CSS—should grace the shelves at such a transitional time in the Web's evolution is extremely encouraging. CSS is making itself felt in almost every spectrum of web design.

For inspiration and motivation, designers have the CSS Zen Garden, a magnificent site that demonstrates the use of structured markup with CSS. Each designer who submits a design to the CSS Zen Garden must use the same markup and content but create his or her own CSS design. The CSS Zen Garden proves CSS designs can be not only beautiful but also more innovative and interesting than anything that's come before.

CSS is proving to be cost-effective, too. Sales and marketing folks looking for proof can turn to a growing list of impressive case studies that drive home the bottom-line savings of moving toward web standards and CSS. Each time a major site such as ESPN, Sprint, or AOL makes a move toward CSS and web standards, a leadership phenomenon begins; other companies realize they can save costs and improve quality, too.

As CSS' value becomes more apparent to designers, important to the economic choices companies make, and better integrated with the tools that designers and technologist use, CSS will finally earn the permanent recognition it deserves within the technological realm.

As we implement CSS from the ground up, we find that we have a great deal yet to learn. Those of us who have developed sites for a long time must actually unlearn bad habits born of convention. As for young designers and developers entering the fold, we need to help them avoid our mistakes and encourage them toward better practices. This book will be a great help to both audiences.

As a web standards evangelist and student of markup and CSS, it's easy for me to say that Eric Meyer has changed my life. Many readers of his first edition (and, I hope, this book) will readily agree. As with so many readers, I use Eric's books, I follow his web site, and I subscribe to CSS-D, the email list that Eric chaperones and offers discussion and solutions for list members facing real-world CSS challenges. I pay attention to Eric and will continue to do so because it's just so damned nutritious.

Because the Web is as much of a social construct as a technical one, designing it effectively demands that we seek an understanding of the art and science of living, as well as how to use structured markup and CSS. There's no one I've met who has ever demonstrated how to think, how to live, how to do the right thing more clearly to me than Eric Meyer. He's worked tirelessly as a CSS evangelist—from his early days with the W3C CSS Working Group to his groundbreaking support charts, books, resources, and time at Netscape. Eric continues to lead us, through his own web site and conference sessions, and he's more than justified the variety of witty monikers he's earned, such as "The Pope of CSS."

As public a person as Eric's come to be—as much of a rock star within the Web world—he remains one of the most down-to-earth people I know, and a true-blue friend to boot. I have grieved deeply with him for the premature loss of his mother Carol, and danced in true joy in my office when I received the news that Eric and his wife Kat brought their daughter Carolyn home just eight months later.

I'm certain that after any opportunity you have to spend time with Eric—whether at a class, by visiting his web site regularly, or via this book—you will walk away with more than just a greater understanding of CSS. You will laugh, you will be uplifted, and you will ultimately be inspired to put the best of yourself forward in all of life's situations.

—Molly E. Holzschlag

Tucson, Arizona 2004

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