Jeffrey Zeldman posted an interesting reader letter, called Letter of the Month.
The author wrote Jeffrey to explain that his Designing With Web Standards book had changed his entire career.
I remember what I now refer to as a pivotal moment in my web career. I was sitting in bed reading your book. I knew nothing really about CSS (other than for setting fonts/colours and I couldn’t see what was wrong with the old way of doing things). However as I read, it was like a slow realisation. I remember vividly turning to my wife and saying “This book is amazing. I am going to have to relearn everything I know about building websites”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. On one hand the enormity of what you were suggesting was overwhelming but on the other hand it was just the injection I needed in my own career.
I reached the end of the book and made a decision. I was going to move the whole of Headscape across to standards based design. Not only that was I was going to do it as soon as possible. By 2005 we had made the transition and have never looked back.
It reminded me that I had the opposite reaction with Jeffrey.
When I've talked to people recently about working on several projects with Jeffrey when Happy Cog was a one-man shop, I've said something like "I was a designer and Zeldman was a designer. But he had a book, so I did the server-side work." That's an oversimplification of course. Front-end web design work in the days of Netscape 4 and the Great Browser Wars was a nightmare. Working in SQL stored procedures and ASP and VB Script was harder than HTML in many ways, but 100 times easier than dealing with browser compatibility. All the code I wrote was guaranteed to run the same way over and over, regardless of the visiting browser.
So thanks in part to working with Jeffrey, I quit doing web design and never looked back.