A practical criterion for a bookís appreciation is through the way one reads it. Reading from cover to cover or because itís a commonly accepted " must " is just one form of its expression. Both certainly add to the authorís satisfaction but it might be something else that evokes his curiosity and stimulates for further writing. A book might have some implication on the readerís actions, influence his behaviour or push towards certain activity. Though filling the gap with reading is an option a tiny hope remains that the unconscious mind will do you a favour and memorise the unexpected.
Three books that I selected and read thereafter were not only an object of my intellectual curiosity. There was a design in it: to take advantage of the othersí knowledge and experience in order to create my own page. A page that will attract a reader.
Contents, containers and resources are three concepts behind a page creation. Contents is about a message that you send to a reader. Container is about the layout and the format of presentation that help you to transfer that message to a reader. Resources is about the means by which contents and container are conceived.
Use of a style guide is necessary to translate your ideas into phrases and to excel in clarity. The technical literature that covers multiple domains of our professional activities abounds in not to follow examples. Not only sentences but the entire chapters are often unintelligible. Much effort is wasted on wading through them and the risk of misunderstanding and time wasting increase. It leads to an accumulation of documents that hide an information. In the worst scenario possible they resemble to garbage collectors. They keep on piling up and nobody takes a risk of discarding them. We leave them to the data mining experts and search engines for key words excavating.
Demagogy and metaphysics apart letís be practical and show a way that I applied to construct this page.
"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is my style guide. As no willing soul will accept upgrading my phrases I decided to find a guide and keep a tab open on very line that I write. Itís not a bulletproof approach but just a framework to which I confine myself. From a methodological point of view a review by a second pair of eyes is necessary. "Style" as exposed by William Strunk has many elements that apply to any language in use. His common sense rules and hints go far beyond the English speaking world.
The presentation is as important as its contents. Dan Cederholmís "Bulletproof Web design" is what I found the best suited for my design purposes. You do not need a computer to follow the Danís way of constructing and designing web pages. To accomplish it heís using the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) concept. Staying away from the computerís keyboard while reading the book liberates the mind from all technical constraints. We follow the design and do not start the construction phase before the plan is ready.
That approach is not strictly followed by all Information Technology (IT) experts. Shortcuts are used for simple cases where a plan looks like a hindrance. Construction achieved we rapidly realise that to justify why itís still standing without crumbling into pieces becomes a hard enterprise. Some readers of "Bulletproof Web design" use Danís book as a permanent look-up guide when designing web pages. Pageís contents is more appetising when presented on a beautifully designed plate.
"Figure de style" by Axelle Beth and Elsa Marpeau complements William Strunkís "The Elements of Style". Though itís more encyclopaedic compared to Strunkís guide and the provided examples lift you off the grounds to sacrosanct literary levels itís still a reminder of how things are and how they should be.
Resources used depend on your ingeniousness. Books, dictionaries, web search engines, a computer and a basic text editor are sufficient to create your own page.
All we need now is to explain, as suggested in the pageís subtitle, where the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are.
Wardrobe is like an entry point to some mysterious world. Cascading Style Sheet is one of its potential candidates. The witch is anything that tries to spoil the big picture. It could be us with our negligence in formulating our ideas or any element of the system that deforms our state of the art pages. The story goes that the Lion will save us. Here he is. Itís YOU. Isnít that simple ?
So take your time and donít be in a hurry to edit your first and any other page that follows. Being a second in the race could make you a winner.