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CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions [Paperback]

Simon Collison , Andy Budd , Cameron Moll
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 8 2006 1590596145 978-1590596142 1
This book is your indispensable guide to cutting-edge CSS developmentall you need to work your way up to CSS professional. You'll learn how to:
  • Plan, organize, and maintain your stylesheets more effectively
  • Apply the secrets of liquid, elastic, and hybrid layouts
  • Create flickr-style image maps, remote rollovers, and other advanced CSS features
  • Lay out forms using pure CSS
  • Recognize common browser bugs, and how to fix them
While CSS is a relatively simple technology to learn, it is a difficult one to master. When you first start developing sites using CSS, you will come across all kinds of infuriating browser bugs and inconsistencies. It sometimes feels like there are a million and one different techniques to master, spread across a bewildering array of websites. The range of possibilities seems endless and makes for a steep and daunting learning curve. By bringing all of the latest tips, tricks, and techniques together in one handy reference, this book demystifies the secrets of CSS and makes the journey to CSS mastery as simple and painless as possible. While most books concentrate on basic skills, this one is different, assuming that you already know the basics and why you should be using CSS in your work, and concentrating mainly on advanced techniques. It begins with a brief recap of CSS fundamentals such as the importance of meaningful markup, how to structure and maintain your code, and how the CSS layout model really works. With the basics out of the way, each subsequent chapter details a particular aspect of CSS-based design. Through a series of easy-to-follow tutorials, you will learn practical CSS techniques you can immediately start using in your daily work. Browser inconsistencies are the thorn in most CSS developers' sides, so we have dedicated two whole chapters to CSS hacks, filters, and bug fixing, as well as looking at image replacement; professional link, form, and list styling; pure CSS layouts; and much more. All of these techniques are then put into practice in two beautifully designed case studies, written by two of the world's best CSS designers, Simon Collison and Cameron Moll. Summary of Contents:
  • Chapter 1: Setting the Foundations
  • Chapter 2: Visual Formatting Model Recap
  • Chapter 3: Background Images and Image Replacement
  • Chapter 4: Styling Links
  • Chapter 5: Styling Lists and Creating Nav Bars
  • Chapter 6: Styling Forms and Data Tables
  • Chapter 7: Layout
  • Chapter 8: Hacks and Filters
  • Chapter 9: Bugs and Bug Fixing
  • Case Study 1: More Than Doodles
  • Case Study 2: Tuscany Luxury Resorts

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About the Author

In October 2006 Simon started Erskine Design—based in Nottingham, UK—that grew to become an eight-strong team of creative web designers and developers who are afraid of nothing. Some people say they're one of the best agencies out there, and their clients include major magazines, government stuff, software companies—and polar explorers.

Moons ago, he was a successful visual artist, and founded an independent arts org and annual arts festival, putting his degree to some use at least. Then he caught the interwebs bug.

As lead web developer at Agenzia from 2002 to 2006, he worked on numerous web projects for major record labels (such as Poptones, Universal) and bands (including The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, Beta Band), visual artists and illustrators (Jon Burgerman, Paddy Hartley, Lucy Orta, NOW Festival), businesses, community, and voluntary sector orgs, passionately ensuring everything was accessible and complied with current web standards.

He does a bit of public speaking here and there, and will generally do anything for a biscuit and cup of tea, but prefers hard cash.

He has lived in many cities, including London and Reykjavik, but has now settled back in his beloved Nottingham, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. He also drives a 31 year old car, and has a stupid cat called Bearface.

Andy Budd is one of the founding partners at User Experience Design Consultancy, Clearleft. As an interaction design and usability specialist, Andy is a regular speaker at international conferences like Web Directions, An Event Apart, and SXSW. Andy curates dConstruct, one of the UK’s most popular design conferences. He’s also responsible for UX London, the UK’s first dedicated usability, information architecture, and user experience design event.

Andy was an early champion of web standards in the UK and has developed an intimate understanding of the CSS specification and cross-browser support. As an active member of the community, Andy has helped judge several international design awards and currently sits on the advisory board for .Net magazine. Andy is also the driving force behind Silverbackapp, a low-cost usability testing tool for the Mac. Andy is an avid Twitter user and occasionally blogs at andybudd.com.

Never happier than when he’s diving in some remote tropical atoll, Andy is a qualified PADI dive instructor and retired shark wrangler.

Cameron Moll has been designing meaningful web interfaces that harmonize utility and presentation since the late 1990s. His work or advice has been featured by HOW, Print, and Communication Arts magazines, Forrester Research, National Public Radio (NPR), and many others. He speaks on user interface design at conferences nationally and internationally, and he is also the author of Mobile Web Design.

Cameron is the founder and president of Authentic Jobs Inc., a targeted destination for web and creative professionals and the companies seeking to hire them. He is also the proprietor of Cameron Moll LLC, whose products include letterpress typography posters available for purchase at cameronmoll.bigcartel.com. And amid all this craziness, he still finds time to play ball with each of his four boys.

You can also find Cameron online at cameronmoll.com, twitter.com/cameronmoll, flickr.com/photos/authentic, and vimeo.com/cameronmoll.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good tips... Oct. 3 2007
By Eric L.
This book felt incomplete. There are other books on the topic that are more descriptive, complete and that help the reader to master CSS better.
The book is weak on the visual side. Not enough figures.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  148 reviews
193 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best CSS Reference Book in print today! March 12 2006
By Frank Stepanski - Published on Amazon.com
When I heard Andy Budd ([...] [...] writing a CSS book I knew I had to get it. Andy is one of the top UK web designers for past years and anything he has to say you should listen. :)

This book is for anybody who has played around with CSS a little and wondered "what the h*ll can I do with this stuff?". CSS has been around for awhile now, but only recently has the most current browsers been able to support the cool stuff you can do with it. What cool stuff? You need to buy the book to find out, but I'll give you some highlights...

First off, the first chapter explains how to use document types, divs and spans, validation, basics of CSS (selectors, pseudo-classes, child and sibling selectors, attribute selectors, etc), how cascade and specifity works, and how to organize your style sheets. A great primer to the rest of the book.

The 2nd chapter focuses visual formatting with CSS with the Box Model, Positioning and Floating. This is an important topic because creating CSS layouts requires a good understanding of how these topics work (and work together) in creating "real-world layouts.

Chapter 3 talks about using background images and replacement in creating rounded corner effects, drop shadows (4 different kinds), and some cool image replacement for optimizing search engines and screen readers (accessibility).

Chapter 4 has some great examples on styling links to create efficient CSS buttons without the images or the JavaScript for the "roll-over" effect. Yes, CSS can create some cool buttons without you ever having to use Photoshop. :)

Chapter 5 continues with styling links but extends it in showing you how to create button nav bars (horizontal and vertical) and adds a few tricks with using some image placeholders and sections to create some nice looking professional navigation for your website.

Chapter 6 focuses on the right way to use tables: for displaying data (not layout for web sites - no more nested tables). With the use of the very popular border-collapse property and others, Andy shows some very eye-please table layouts.

Chapter 7 in my opinion is the meat-and-potatoes of the book. Its goes over some how to use CSS in creating some standardized layouts. The whole point of CSS is to separate your content and layout and this is the way to go. It is explained in a very easy to follow manner with plenty of screenshots to show you each step.

The rest of the book (Chapter 8 and Chapter 9) review the common and not-so-common CSS hacks that are used to overcome some browser deficiencies. I can't tell you how many website I had to search to find out about these, and its all here in these 2 chapters!.

The last part of the book has 2 Case Studies that show how a website created purely with CSS was created from beginning to end. A great finish to a great book.

Throw out all your other CSS books and just get this one.
107 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful book, but sloppy editing July 21 2006
By JM - Published on Amazon.com
This is quite a useful book, as has been well documented in other reviews. The tips are helpful, the examples are useful, and the typography and layout are easy on the eyes.

However -- and this is a big however -- the book is riddled with technical errors. The errata file, available for download from the publisher as a PDF file, currently runs a whopping 11 pages. While a small handful of errors in a technical book's first edition is inevitable, 11 pages is not a small handful for a book as thin as this. It's really inexcusable that so many errors -- some of them quite obvious -- made it past the editor.
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book but how about checking typos before publishing? April 9 2006
By J.Gustafsson - Published on Amazon.com
Before you buy this book from all the glowing reviews check this link below, & it will show you all the aggravating typos in this book. (10 total pages of corrections.)


It makes it very irritating to use.

The book is good if you are ready to stick with it, but before I buy from these authors again, I am waiting for the errata to be a few months old. It kind of feels like a ripoff to get a book that you have to constantly go back & forth to a pdf (painful) to make sure it isn't a typo on your part when css does not work as expected.

I like friends of ed books in general, but we do pay money for these things as customers & should demand more from authors.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Intermediate CSS Reference I have Found May 23 2006
By J. Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While I don't recommend this book for beginners, it is close to a perfect intermediate text on using CSS well. The book covers the most common tasks a web designer will encounter, and clarifies some of the complexity of CSS. The book also covers cross-browser issues - the most common problem that web developers will encounter.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastering CSS May 2 2006
By Natalie N. Jost - Published on Amazon.com
It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a good technical book. Most of the time they drone on and on about stuff I either already know or more often, stuff I don't know and would take years to know. It's so great when I find a book that matches where I'm at technically and one that really becomes part of my everyday working life. Designing with Web Standards was one, CSS Mastery is now the other.

Andy Budd now lives right next door to Zeldman on my desk. Seriously, CSS Mastery is a great title. It's not beginning CSS, which means you should have some working knoweldge of CSS already before you pick it up. This isn't a book that teaches you to know CSS, it teaches you to master it.

Andy covers the stuff that will supplement your existing knowledge. He doesn't waste time telling you about the difference between a class and an ID, or the value of shorthand. What he does tell you is why some margins collapse in some browsers and not in others, and how to fix the problem. He briefly explains the attribute selector, but goes right into how and when you might want to use it.

The chapter I found the most valuable to me was the section on forms and tables. Being primarily concerned with layout and text, I haven't had to spend a lot of time looking at data, whether it's being input (form) or output (table). Again, Andy doesn't spend too much time talking about the details of creating a form or a table, but he doesn explain how to style each section of data with real-world examples and backup ideas, or alternatives to his style.

I especially love the last two chapters, where Andy let's Cameron Moll and Simon Collison have at it with a couple of design, applying some of the things Andy talks about in the book. It's awesome to get their perspective, and it adds a ton of credibility to what Andy has to say.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a firm grasp of CSS already and wants to take it further. If you're not completely comfortable with CSS, you might want to check out some other resources first. Or... just be aware that you might not get some added explanation to Andy's techniques because he assumes you already know.
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