Anyone who gets to know me as a web designer/developer will soon realize that I’m a bit of a zealot when it comes to clean design. I’m a programming “purist” who believes that real rewards come from doing things right the first time. I try religiously to follow the K.I.S.S. (“Keep It Simple, Stupid!”) Principle, eshewing the newest and fanciest trends unless they involve simplification.
I like to write HTML code by hand, carefully thinking about whether a tag should be given a DOM id or class, and whether that adds semantic meaning or not. I think the ultimate web site should operate in Lynx beautifully, and that the markup of graphical web pages in tables—teaching a generation of graphic designers to design-and-slice in Photoshop—was a horrible practice.
There were two books that, three-to-four years ago, really inspired me and made it possible for me to use careful XHTML+CSS design in my web work. I know that four years is like two decades in “web years” but these books are still timely, and one is just about to receive an update!