CIT 597 Assignment 1: XHTML and CSS
Fall 2008, David Matuszek

Purposes of this assignment:

General idea of the assignment:

CIT 597 is a course about creating Web sites. Accordingly, it makes sense to ask the question, what distinguishes a good web site from a poor one?

Your assignment is to write up a web page (just one page, not an entire site) to answer this question. Your page should follow your own guidelines!

This assignment falls naturally into three parts:

  1. Content: Decide on what you want to say.
  2. Create an XHTML page (Strict, or 1.1) describing your conclusions.
  3. Create a CSS file to style your XHTML page and make it look attractive.



Your web page should provide general rules for creating a good web site, where "good" means both easy to use and aesthethically pleasing. You don't need to invent these guidelines yourself--there is plenty of information on the web about just this topic. You do, however, have to give credit to your sources (and link to them).

This is a topic about which entire books could be (and have been) written, so don't try to be comprehensive. Instead, decide the half-dozen or dozen things you think are most important, and write about those. Your page shouldn't be longer than about two or possibly three screens full.

In this assignment, work with one or two of your classmates to find sources and discuss with them which are the most generally useful guidelines. (This is part of the assignment, as you are to also link to the pages that they create.) You don't need to agree with your classmates on every single point, but I do want you to share ideas and have a meaningful dialogue.

The remainder of the assignment is to be done by yourself, not as part of a team. You can, however, ask your classmates for help and/or provide help to them, but the bulk of the work should be done by you alone.


Write up your Web page as either XHTML 1.0 Strict, or XHTML 1.1. When you save it, use the .html extension.

Remember that XHTML is all about expressing content, and does not say anything about appearance. One way to think about this is to pretend that your page is going to be read aloud over the radio--anything not relevant to reading your page aloud does not belong in your XHTML. I will provide a page of guidelines for writing correct XHTML.


The third part of this assignment is to make your page look nice. Do this by linking to an external CSS style sheet. (You can look at my style sheet for this course if you want some examples, but of course you need to develop your own.)

Finishing up:

When your XHTML and CSS are finished, and everything looks good, there are three simple finishing steps you should take.


All parts of this assignment are equally important. Points will be taken off if I think you did a really sloppy job on the content, if there are errors or misuses of XHTML, or if I don't think your page looks reasonably nice. Since much of this is subjective, I expect to grade gently and give most people full credit (100 points).

Due date:

Put your page on the World Wide Web, and email me the URl (link) by midnight, September 9. A good Subject: line for this email would be CIT 597 XHTML/CSS assignment .

If you don't already have a web site to which you can add this page, see CETS Answers for instructions on setting one up.