Pro CSS for High Traffic Websites / Edition 1

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Although web standards-based websites can scale effectively—and basic CSS will give you basic results—there are considerations and obstacles that high traffic websites must face to keep your development and hosting costs to a minimum. There are many tips and tricks, as well as down-to-earth best practice information, to make sure that everything runs quickly and efficiently with the minimum amount of fuss or developer intervention. Targeted at "high traffic" websites—those receiving over 10,000 unique visitors a day—Pro CSS for High Traffic Websites gives you inside information from the professionals on how to get the most out of your web development team.

The book covers the development processes required to smoothly set up an easy-to-maintain CSS framework across a large-volume website and to keep the code reusable and modular. It also looks at the business challenges of keeping branding consistent across a major website and sustaining performance at a premium level through traffic spikes and across all browsers. Defensive coding is considered for sites with third-party code or advertising requirements. It also covers keeping CSS accessible for all viewers, and examines some advanced dynamic CSS techniques.

What you’ll learn

  • The value of process
  • Making reusable, robust,and modular CSS
  • How to maximize the performance of your site
  • Integrating with third parties
  • How to keep branding consistent
  • Best practices for cross-browser and accessible CSS
  • Dynamic CSS techniques

Who this book is for

This book is for Web developers building and maintaining premium, successful, high-traffic websites using web standards. This book will also help team leaders responsible for code that will be shared over multiple projects, as well as project managers with a high churn of contract staff.

Table of Contents

  1. The Value of Process
  2. CSS Style Guide
  3. Fundamentals
  4. Frameworks and Integration
  5. Brand Implementation
  6. CSS and Accessibility
  7. Devices
  8. Performance
  9. Dynamic CSS
  10. Testing and Debugging
  11. Creating your CSS
  12. Appendix 1: CSS Standards Guide
  13. Appendix 2: Accessibilitiy Guidelines
  14. Appendix 3: Browser Support Guidelines
  15. Appendix 4: Development Process
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781430232889
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 4/27/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Antony Kennedy is currently describing himself as a lead front-end engineer. That means he makes websites work under the hood with JavaScript and keeps them friendly and functional, with animated Ajax interfaces. He has worked on many high traffic sites for companies such as Apple, the BBC, BSkyB and Channel4. He is an advocate of good processes and agile development and blogs about these and web development on his blog Zeroed and Noughted (

He has been working in web and development technologies for over 13 years and remembers Internet Explorer 3 and Xara 3D fondly. He started his career doing IT support in Hastings, U.K., and has since been involved in the entire software development lifecycle, from design and conception to support and warranty. He particularly enjoys fixing broken processes and demonstrating that you can be agile in a waterfall business environment. He learns by doing things that he doesn t know how to do.

He is the managing director of a small business called Silver Squid ( He lives in a half-finished house in northeast London and complains about it a lot while being taught how to use a Nintendo DS by his daughter, Talia, and his son, Felix. He can t cook (except for sushi and pot noodles) and is very difficult to buy presents for.

Inayaili de Le n is a London-based web designer from Portugal. She loves and lives the Web and her job; she loves that there is no time to learn everything and that she can learn something new every day. Self-taught when it comes to web design, she has a degree in communications design. Working on content-heavy web applications is a challenge and a pleasure that she will happily take on, transforming what could easily look like a mess into user-friendly designs. Clean, semantic and efficient HTML and CSS are a must when converting those designs into the Web, and a subject that she is passionate about.

Sundays are dedicated to reading and writing about design, web standards, CSS and HTML. She speaks at conferences when she can and writes for 24 Ways, Smashing Magazine and .net (where she is also the editor of the CSS gallery) as well as on her own blog, Web Designer Notebook (

Chocolate, cats, shopping, tea, pizza, and pancakes make her days happier.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    You'll be Amazed at What You Don't Know About CSS Optimization

    There are many factors to keeping a high traffic web site fast. Beefed up hardware. Content Delivery Networks. Optimized code and database queries. But don't forget your CSS files. If you thought you've tweaked everything but you're still wondering about how to trim the load time of your home page, optimizing your CSS might be the very thing you're missing.

    Enter "Pro CSS for High Traffic Websites" by Anthony Kennedy and Inayaili de Leon to the rescue. Published by Apress, this book delves deep (very very deep) into keeping your CSS robust, small and efficient.

    You'll learn about devices that consume your site, testing and debugging, dynamic CSS and many others - but before it gets to actual CSS related topics, it starts with a chapter named "The Value of Process". This outlines best practices to organize your development staff in a practical hierarchy, defines the typical job types such as Project Manager, Team Lead and Developer, introduces some tools that can help when the projects and staff grow as well as some additional project management philosophies.

    It makes sense to include this chapter, because when dealing with a high traffic website (upward of 10,000 unique visitors a day - a definition suggested by the authors ), you're probably working for a larger company with considerable bureaucracy which can make changes to your website a slow process. Using the management tools and strategies suggested can help productivity and streamline the process. This chapter covers topics above and beyond CSS that can be used by all types of developers and managers.

    This chapter also is indicative of how the rest of this books info is presented. Authors Kennedy and Leon skip any CSS retrospect or refreshers to get you up to speed with advanced CSS topics before plunging in head first. I wouldn't give this book high marks for ease of readability. There's a certain density that weights it down somewhat. However with that one complaint out of the way, I must emphasize that these two really know their stuff and award it high marks for content.

    I'm not sure where you'd find a more comprehensive look at CSS and its effect on site performance. Nothing goes without thorough examination. You'll get thorough enlightenment on CSS Frameworks such as Blueprint, 960 and YUI. And Object Oriented CSS. Building flexible CSS to accept site expansion. Don't forget Accessibility too. Your high traffic site is probably visited by many impaired visitors and consumed by special devices such as braille printers. What? You've never taken precautions to make sure your site is properly printable for the blind? Yeah. Neither have I. Like I mentioned, this book is scarily comprehensive.

    We developers usually have many books at hand to refer to.  This one may get more dog eared than others on your shelf depending on what sort of developer you are.  Myself, being a C# middle-tier type of coder, CSS isn't foremost in my typical day at the office. This is why my CSS horizon has been blasted wide open during this read - and why I'm glad it'll be at hand as a core CSS reference for me.

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