By Simon Willison

Tips from the master

By Simon Willison

I stumbled across a real gem today: Tips for writers and designers from HTML wizard David Siegel. David is driving forward the boundaries of web design and has a treasure trove of tips for aspiring web developers. Did you know you could use single pixel gifs to achieve perfect control over your layouts?

The companion site for David’s book Creating Killer Web Sites has yet more cutting edge advice. The invisible table trick is particularly impressive – I had only ever thought of tables as boring tools for presenting tabular data, but David turns web design on its head and shows how they can be used to lay out pages in ways I’d never even imagined!

David really shows how to break away from the limitations of HTML as a structural markup language. The web will never be the same again!


  • The cool thing is the single pixel gif gets cached, so this will really speed your site up.

  • LOL…The best part is here:
    Last updated 1998…

  • Reader

    Hey guys, i already knew that cool spacer.gif trick. I also know that if i renamed all my spacer.gif images to spc.gif, i could have saved some bandwidth, but i dont! I prefer the spacer.gif naming, cos it’s more semantically correct.

  • Wow! I had no idea all of his sites were still out there. I’m having some rather unpleasant flashbacks right now.

  • @

    It’s a good thing I saw the date when I read this… :->

  • Mark Dwyer

    Another way which i know is being used on a busy website to help server load and page loading is by using the img tag but missing out the src and make sure the alt=”” is included. And has worked very well. Just take a look at

  • Cory M.

    Last updated in… 1998! It must be bleeding-edge, then… ;)

  • fai

    LOL! Aprils! Tables! Cutting edge indeed!

  • Everyone around here has a severe case of April Fool fever :)

  • nacho

    >> The companion site for David’s book Creating Killer Web Sites has yet more cutting edge advice

    You must be fu**ing kidding us. The first edition of “Creating Killer Web Sites” was published in 1997. I have an edition myself of a couple of years later and back then it was already outdated.

    Designing with pixel images and tables is probably the worst advice you could have ever given.

  • David Thompson

    Check out the “Browser Offsets” section – this is possibly the only place on the Web that I’ve ever seen the phrase:

    “Internet Explorer does it right”

  • barrie

    Happy April Fools to you to Simon :) That was the best one today I think! I was freakin’ for a second ;p

  • Micah

    I think it’s hilarious that you post this. I was looking through some old (c. 1998) Netscape bookmarks of mine and found a link to Siegel’s site. It’s nice to see great minds finally get the respect they are due!

  • Bill Humphries

    I can see David Siegel and David Brooks collaborating: _Killer Websites for Neocons_.

    They’ll make millions.

  • adios

    Personally, I use Photoshop 3.0.
    David Siegel

    Time to downgrade…:)

  • Stan Deen

    Listen SImon, no one, and I mean NO ONE, gets the right to call himself an expert on Dave Siegel, until s/he read G. Beato’s famous “Dave Siegel Guide to Authomythology”, curretn

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