Summary: use with intelligence
★★★☆☆ Michael Bowers wrote this book (Apress, 2007) to provide design patterns in web designs that the book cover states will “increase creavitiy and productivity.” While design patterns can indeed save you time and effort, I both love and hate the way the book goes about providing the patterns.
First I’ll tell you about how the book works, and then explain why I have mixed feelings about it.
There are over 350 patterns in the book. Included are such patterns as creating conditional stylesheets, right-alignment of elements, treating block elements as inline elements, creating equal sized content columns, making drop caps, displaying callouts and over 300 other patterns. For each pattern, you get suggested HTML and the CSS to create the pattern from the provided HTML.
The author suggests that you take the reusable patterns and “simply drop them into your code.” While I think that the patterns are a valuable aid in helping web designers solve specific design problems, I have a problem with the idea of just dropping the book’s code directing into your page.
My problem is that almost every pattern uses a class. That class is assigned to every HTML element involved. A major erruption of classitis would result if some intelligence wasn’t used to adapt the patterns.
A reader with a background in CSS, who could see how to use the CSS needed to create the design element with intelligence would make best use of this book. With appropriate CSS savvy, a user could adapt the CSS pattern so that it could be applied to a page using descendent selectors instead of with an omnipresent application of classes.