In This Chapter
Understanding Web design and layout options
Exploring HTML and XHTML
Styling Web pages with CSS
In the early days of the Web, designers were limited to a few simple page layout options — you could center your text and images, or leave it all aligned to the left. As HTML evolved, creating great, more complex Web designs became possible, but finding the best solution became a lot more confusing.
If you've done any Web design in the past, you may have used tables, frames, or layers to create page layouts. Today, all those options are considered outdated and are generally no longer recommended except in very special cases.
Today, most professional designers agree that the best way to create a Web page design is to use XHTML (eXtensible HyperText Markup Language, a strict form of HTML) with Cascading Style Sheets (better known by the acronym CSS).
If you're starting to worry that this book is getting a lot more technical than you expected, relax. I assure you, you don't need to learn any advanced programming to create a Web site with the templates included with this book. That said, I find that many people like to know more about how all this works, and that's what this chapter is about — helping you better understand the choices, why CSS is better than almost any other design option and how CSS and XTHML work together.
If you're ready to dive in and start building your Web site right away, feel free to jump ahead to the chapter and templates ...