In the years since Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer began supporting CSS, DHTML, and Ajax, the Web itself has changed significantly. The browser wars, the dot-com explosion (and subsequent crash), and the Web's enormous growth in popularity have led to a shakedown of the technologies that are regularly used to create Web sites. CSS and DHTML remain the standards that are used to create some of the best Web sites around, while Ajax is quickly becoming the technology of choice for providing the best user interaction.
This book's support Web site (webbedenvironments.com/css_dhtml_ajax) includes quick references online for all of the code presented in the book and information in the first three parts of the book, as well as a list of the browser-safe fonts, tools and resources for Web developers.
In this book, I'll show you the best ways to implement CSS, DHTML, and Ajax so that the broadest spectrum of the Web-surfing population can view your Web sites. To help organize the information, I have split this book into four parts:
Part 1 (CSS) details how to use CSS to control the appearance of the content on Web pages. I'll show you some best-practices for controlling the various aspects of how your Web page is displayed.
Part 3 (Ajax) introduces you to Ajax basics, teaching you how to dynamically retrieve data from the server without having to load a new Web page. Ajax concepts have been around for a while, but they have only recently matured to the point where designers are regularly using them to design their pages.
Part 4 (Using CSS, DHTML, and Ajax) is where you can find some of the most common practical applications of the techniques presented in the first three parts of the book. You will learn the best practices for Web layout, content presentation, navigation, and creating controls that put the visitor in charge.
Everyone Is a Web Designer
Forget about your 15 minutes of fame: In the future, everyone will be a Web designer. As the Web continues to expand, a growing number of people are choosing this medium to get their messageswhatever they may beto the rest of the world. Whether they are movie buffs extolling the virtues of The Third Man or multinational corporations extolling the virtues of their companies, everyone regards the Web as one of the best ways to spread the word.
The fact is, just as everyone who uses a word processor is at some level a typographer, as the Web grows in popularity, everyone who uses it to do more than passively view pages will need to know how to design for the Web.
Knowing how to design for the Web isn't always about designing complete Web sites. Many, if not more people these days are using HTML to create simple Web pages for auction sites, such as eBay, their own photo albums, or their own Web logs (blogs). So whether you are planning to redesign your corporate Web site or place your kid's graduation pictures online, learning CSS, DHTML, and Ajax is your next step into the larger world of Web design.