CSS Book Review – In search of the One True Layout

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Using CSS to layout and design an entire website can be frustrating if you don’t know all the quirks and hacks for all the different browsers, needed to format your pages in a specific way. In addition to this, there is usually a plethora of ways to solve any given CSS problem, not all of which are the most efficient.

For the most part, websites follow fairly basic guidelines when it comes to design. This is partly due to the nature and limitations of a browser screen and partly due to the way in which people naturally read a screen or page. As such, it would make sense that a general set of guidelines for the design of a site could be found. Unfortunately, as standardized CSS is a relatively new technology, the guidelines and best practices in it’s use have not yet been completely set. There are many ways to use CSS in the design of a page, to achieve the same results.

An even greater problem is the fact that CSS still has some shortcomings when it comes to the separation of design and content. While working with CSS for the layout of a site, one must still work within the confines of the HTML code of the page and that is where the problem exists.

Solutions to this problem do exist, and one of the best found so far is entitled In search of the One True Layout. This article lays out in detail, the best ways in which to get around the problems of Total Layout Flexibility, Equal Height Columns and Vertical placement of elements across grids/columns.

Written in 1995 by Alex Robinson and regularly updated since then, the online book is complete with CSS Coding Examples, CSS Best Practices and numerous solutions to design related CSS problems. This is recommended reading for ANY designer or developer, interested in understanding some of the better ways in which to build sites using CSS.

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