CSS Cookbook

Tables have long been the layout tool of choice for designing sites since the 90's. Although it's semantically incorrect, many web designers have been keeping this practice and doing almost nothing to correct it.

CSS Cookbook from O'Reilly presents developers with quick 180 degree turn to CSS. The good thing about this book is that it shows how CSS can do the typical table-based layouts. For example, the customary 2-column layout is given adequate attention. One very nice chapter demonstrates how CSS can create semanitcally correct code for web form layout.

But the book also explores the workarounds (or "hacks") in dealing with the quirks you have to deal with (Hint: it involves browsers).

Web developers looking for a quick fix of standards-compliant layout and techniques will really appreciate CSS Cookbook.

CSS Cookbook

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No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP

The book stays true to its title with a very direct approach to learning XML integration with PHP. XML beginners will appreciate the introduction of concepts such as DTD, XSLT among others.

Building a Content Management System (CMS) with XML and PHP is the main project of the book. It has a brief introduction of what a CMS is and goes directly in to code. Some of the topics that are touched are RSS, Web Services and Javascript (Although AJAX is not discussed entirely).

Newbies may be frustrated with seeng a lot of code in a book– Almost every other page has code blocks , but like any other Sitepoint title, all code is available online.

PHP Developers will definitely have a field day with Thomas Myer's No Nonsense XML Web Development With PHP; it almost instantly gives the reader/developer to try out the concepts and code and avoids the 'nonsense.'

Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP and MySQL

Kevin Yank's take on the very popular combo of PHP and MySQL presents an easy to follow blueprint in building a dynamic website– It spends the first few chapters dealing with the ground work (installation of servers, basics of database design, etc.) and then proceeds to building a fully functional content management system.

The book also takes time to deal with nitty-gritty functions like error-handling and file operations in the code, a nice touch for server-side newbies.

The simplistic step-by-step approach is perfect for web designers wanting to move into web development, but may disappoint advanced users. The book also offers little reference to PHP functions. All code in the book can be downloaded online.

Build Your Own Database Driven Website Using PHP and MySQL is recommended for developers with working knowledge of HTML who would like to have hands-on PHP-MySQL experience on the get-go.

First Look: Yahoo Mail Beta

December 9, 2005

I just tried out Yahoo Mail's new interface. It's chock-full of AJAX components and functionality: It tries to emulate the traditional desktop application, particularly an email client in the mold of Outlook or Mozilla Tunderbird.

Here are some features I got to use:

  • Keyboard short-cuts/functionality
  • Dynamic frame/window resizing
  • Item selection similar to a desk-top application

I'm sure there are more functions left to be discovered and dy only beef is the big advert a the right side of the interface.

Thus far, Yahoo Mail and its competitor, Google's Gmail, are the some of the few web applications that are showing the way in terms of providing a fluid web experience. (Although from a visual design perspective, Yahoo Mail gets the nod.)

I've recently had a chance to get a beta copy of IE7 (don't ask me how :D) and it promises a lot but also gives a big caveat to developers and designers, especially the web standards kind.

The Good: tabbed browsing, which seems to be the darling feature right now in web browsers. The interface is tweaked a bit (it's sleeker and actually looks like Firefox) and the anti-phising feature seems to target novice net browsers.

Another improvement is the corrected CSS box model rendering (AT LAST!) This is probably the feature that may alter the course of web design history.

The Bad: Despite the big improvements, IE7 fails miserably WaSP's ACID 2 test. This test checks whether the browser can display key CSS features. The final output of the test is a smiley face. The screenshot below is how IE7 renders the test:

Hmmm… Doesn't look like a smiley face to me.