When I started working on the web in 1997, I learned from the hard work and experience of so many people; it would be impossible to list them all here. My respect and thanks go to everyone who shared their knowledge.
Writing this book has been one of the hardest, but at the same time, the most rewarding challenges in my life. I can’t thank the Peachpit/New Riders team enough for their patience and understanding. Karyn Johnson, my editor, and Kim Wimpsett, my copy editor, read every word and heaped on advice and encouragement during difficult times, Kim Scott, Charlene Charles-Will, and Kate Reber turned my designs into reality. My respect also goes to Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel for the faith she showed me. It has been a pleasure working with technical editor Aaron Gustafson and Mark Boulton. Thanks also to César Acebal and the University of Oviedo, Spain, for their work on the CSS3 Advanced Layout Module prototype scripts which round off this book in style.
Finally, to my wife, Sue, for her endless support and for always being there for me.
Andy Clarke, October 2006
I meant it when I said then writing Transcending CSS was one of my hardest challenges, but I haven’t explained why until today. Although I’d maintained a positive public profile, the reality was that in 2006, my business and personal life were in tatters. My business partner in a company we’d founded together was doing his level best to undermine me personally and professionally. Two weeks after signing the contract to write Transcending CSS, I walked away from the business I’d co-founded. At home, my seventeen-year-old marriage was struggling too. My behaviour and mental health were at their worst, so my wife and I separated for a few months. That was a terrible mistake and my biggest regret. It was also the worst time to start writing my first book.
Saying writing Transcending CSS was hard would be an understatement. I had no experience of writing anything longer than a blog post. When a promise of guidance didn’t materialise, the whole project looked like it would fail, adding to the fragility of my already poor mental health.
After moving home—and with only two months before my deadline—I started Transcending CSS from scratch with the help of my editor Karyn Johnson and support from my wife. During the day, Sue helped me structure my thoughts and organise the book’s content. Every evening for two months, Karyn and I worked for hours over video chat, editing the day’s content and planning the next day of writing. By a miracle, we finished the book only a week behind schedule. Rereading Transcending CSS for the first time in almost fifteen years has been challenging too. This book brings back memories of a period I’d rather forget. But unlike in publishing, there are no second editions in life.
Peachpit/New Riders have given me the publishing rights to Transcending CSS, so I felt it was time to revisit this book. Not to update its content or write a second edition, but to examine the approaches we took and the tools we used at the start of the web standards revolution in website design. The content of Transcending CSS Revisited is much the same as it was when published in 2006. I have tightened up my writing, changed the spelling from US to British English, and made minor edits for this new format. I’ve checked every URL and replaced them with Wayback Machine URLs when needed.
It’s important to remember how we worked in the past so we can learn lessons for the future. For historical reasons, I’ve retained all original information and examples of code, even when they’re no longer relevant. In the ebook versions of this book, I’ve also added a commentary where I explain what’s changed since the original Transcending CSS and how we should work today. I hope you enjoy this version of Transcending CSS Revisited.
Andy Clarke, October 2019