2004 textbook used in my (X)HTML class

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by montanachad, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. montanachad macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2008
    Helena, Montana and Lacey, Washington
    In my class at the community college we are using a 2004 textbook, "New Perspectives, HTML and XHTML", by Carey. It contains lots of inline styles and layout in tables, as well as frames. In 2008 (X)HTML is used for content, CSS for presentation and layout, and Java Script for behavior. Should I design by modern standards, or go by the book for my final project? :confused:

    Also the degree is biased to .Net Web Development with VB. :eek:

    There's not one class in PHP, Rails, or Action Script. I guess I have too learn this on my own. :rolleyes:
  2. joes522 macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2008
    you're right, a whole lot has changed in web dev since 02-04. I would probably check with your prof., but inline styles, and frames (and html tables) are pretty much a no-no these days. You might also want to recommend a new book to your prof ;)
  3. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Yea, I find even modern books still use table layouts and inline CSS. It's a very sad state of affairs. As long as the teacher won't knock you for using CSS layouts I'd definitely go that way. It's one of the reasons I don't put much stock in web books. They tend to be written by people who don't really know their field.
  4. joes522 macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2008
    thats your calling angelwatt...write a textbook! :D
  5. montanachad thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2008
    Helena, Montana and Lacey, Washington
    Here's an example :rolleyes::

       New Perspectives on HTML and XHTML
       Tutorial 3
       Case Problem 3
       ICI Home Page
       Author: Chad Tudor
       Date:   10/09/2008  
       Filename:         crypt.htm
       Supporting files: back1.gif, back2.gif, locks.jpg, logo.gif, scytale.gif
    <title>International Cryptographic Institute</title>
    <body style="background: black url(back1.gif) repeat-y; color: white;
    margin: 0 10 0 100">
    <img src="logo.gif" style="float: left; margin-left: -100" width="95" height="78" alt="ICI" />
    <h1 style="text-align: center; font-family: Courier New, monospace;
    font-size: 1.8em; letter-spacing: 0.3em; line-height: 0.7em; color:
    yellow; font-style: bold; background: url(back2.gif)">
    THE <br />
    SCIENCE<br />
      OF<br />
    <h2 style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">What is Cryptography?</h2>
    <p style="text-indent: 2em"><b>Cryptography</b> is the science of secure communications, 
    formed from the Greek words <i>kryptós</i> meaning "hidden" and <i>lógos</i>, meaning 
    "word". The first recorded use of cryptography was by the Spartans who (as early as 400 BC) 
    employed a cipher device called a "scytale" to send secret communications between military 
    commanders. The scytale consisted of a tapered baton around which was wrapped a piece of parchment 
    inscribed with the message. Once unwrapped the parchment appeared to contain an incomprehensible 
    set of letters, however when wrapped around another baton of identical size the original text 
    <img src="scytale.gif" width="250" height="69" style="float: right" alt="" />
    <p style="text-indent: 2em">Cryptographers developed more and more ingenious systems, 
    but it was in the 20<sup>th</sup>century, that the science of cryptography took off. 
    The first major achievement was the the development of rotor cipher machines. An American, 
    Edward Hebern recognised that by hardwiring alphabetic substitution in the connections from 
    one side of an electrical rotor to those on the other side and cascading a collection of such 
    rotors, alphabetic substitutions of almost any complexity could be produced. Germany engineers 
    independently discovered the rotor concept and designed the precursors to the most famous 
    cipher machine in history - the German Enigma machine which was used during World War 2. The 
    cracking of the Enigma ciphers by British and Polish cryptanalysts during the Second World War 
    is one of the greatest triumphs inthe history of cryptography and played an important role in 
    the Allie victory.</p>
    <hr style="color: yellow" />
    <p style="text-align: center">To learn more cryptography, please tour the site. <br />
       <img src="locks.jpg" width="510" height="110" style="border-width: 0" alt="" usemap="#locks" />
       <map name="locks" id="locks">
         <area shape="circle" coords="52, 52, 43" href="history.htm" alt="History" />
         <area shape="circle" coords="155, 52, 43" href="enigma.htm" alt="Enigma" />
         <area shape="circle" coords="255, 52, 43" href="algo.htm" alt="Algorithms" />
         <area shape="circle" coords="355, 52, 43" href="single.htm" alt="Single Key" />
         <area shape="circle" coords="455, 52, 43" href="public.htm" alt="Public Key" />
    At least I'll be able to edit Web sites written in old school code, and I learned how to do an image map without Dreamweaver. :cool:
  6. ncmason macrumors regular


    Feb 27, 2007
    You can answer yourself :D

    We're in 2008 not 2004.

    Modern standards are key for web development.

    Look at professional websites today and compare them to sites with old standards. You'll see the difference.
  7. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Standards haven't actually changed since 2004 (the relevant ones anyways), just how much browsers are following them. Web 2.0 didn't change the standards, it was simply a different utilization of the existing technologies and a change in understanding of what users wanted.
  8. angelneo macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2004
    Indeed, I cringe every time when someone tells me how AJAX is a new thing, or another person putting AJAX in their resume as one of their acquired programming languages.
  9. memco macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2008
    The fact that your program focusses on .NET isn't a big deal as that can still utilize best practices and standards compliant code. The big thing is to ensure that even if your prof doesn't care, you learn how to design sites using best practices.

    I will recommend though, that if they specifically ask for a table or something, it's best just to give them a table (tables are the right tool sometimes). It's useful to know more than one way to do something even if some of those other ways aren't always good ways to do it.
  10. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    This really is the important point, and one I think isn't driven home hard enough; in 2003-4 (when the book was presumably written), most modern standards were already in place, but most people used IE6, a lot of people still used IE5, and not many people used Mozilla. IE5, in particular, significantly affected what you could trust a browser to do, and only a small fraction of people used a browser with good standards support.

    Today, IE5 has dropped to the <0.1% range where it's functionally dead, depending on who you ask 1/4 to 1/2 of people use FF, Safari, or derivatives, and even within IE, well over half are using IE7, which has at least passable standards support.

    Point being that in 2004 even if you didn't want to, you needed to design for IE5, and truly standards-compliant browsers were uncommon--you could probably still get away with ignoring Mozilla support entirely. Today, IE6 is the "lowest common denominator," and if you aren't designing to support at least FF and Safari, you're turning away half your viewers.

    Factor in that most textbooks take a while to write, and thus lag whatever is current by several months to a few years, and it's why all but a few (X)HTML books I've seen border on useless--they're teaching what's now common as "oh, and there's this new thing..."

    If you're talking about tabular data here, then it's a good point that I hope is obvious whenever anti-table design is preached--tables are awesome for what they were designed for: tables. In fact, some of the newer, cooler features of CSS with tables are surprisingly poorly supported even by the big browsers. Tables just really suck for layout.
  11. montanachad thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2008
    Helena, Montana and Lacey, Washington
    The textbook claims that tables are the modern thing too. Says table are the new thing for layout! :rolleyes:

    I think I should sue the school. I paid 400.00 excepting a modern Web coding class - it's 2008 goddamn it! ;)
  12. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    That is very sad. Tables were the original layout method (early 90s), beyond a standard layout flow (think of a page when CSS is disabled). You should write a review on Amazon or something for the book to warn off others.

    Actually, I just went and read the Amazon reviews and it has about a 3 of 5 (ISBN-10: 061926747X), but the people that went with 5 obviously had no knowledge of HTML prior to the book so are not good judges of the book. There's also a newer version that came out this year, but nothing on Amazon claims any differences in editions, but there certainly are a whole lot of people trying to sell it. The newest version seems to be cheaper than your older version. I think this says a lot of the book.
  13. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I actually started with that same book in my first HTML class. (Granted at the time it was only a year old.) But even so, my recommendation is to "work beyond the book."
    The book (and teacher for that matter) will get you started with the structure, syntax, and general idea of how to make things work. After that you'll have the tools to research online and learn as much as you want.
    For example when I was taking my first XHTML class, the teacher required us to validate our work XHTML 1.0 Transitional. I went beyond that and validated strict. In fact before the semester was over I was validating XHTML 1.1 and the teacher was starting to ask me questions!
    The moral of the story is that with web design and coding, the standards are always evolving. If you can't learn "beyond the book" you'll have problems.

    P.S. My teacher from that class ended up getting me my current job as a PHP web programmer, and I occasionally have to give her pointers on CSS.
  14. montanachad thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2008
    Helena, Montana and Lacey, Washington
    So, I confronted the professor :(

    What I said:
    "Seriously, tables should only be used for tabular data as they were originally intended to do. Layout in 2008 is done in CSS. This book must have been researched in 2002-2003."

    What she said:
    "They may not be used as much as they were, but you can't really have a "thorough" study of HTML without learning to use tables for layout, can you?" :rolleyes:
  15. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I almost agree with that except that the way you have to think about layout is completely different between the two techniques, learning the wrong way first will just confuse people. I started with table layouts way back, and transitioning to CSS took a total relearn of how to think about layout to achieve what I wanted. The table layouts are a hindrance to learning things the proper way. Oh well though, it's only one class.

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