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Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide [Paperback]

Eric A. Meyer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 2004 2952143412 978-0596005252 Second Edition

Simply put, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a way to separate a document's structure from its presentation. The benefits of this can be quite profound: CSS allows a much richer document appearance than HTML; CSS saves time--you can create or change the appearance of an entire document in just one place; and its compact file size makes web pages load quickly. Eric Meyer, a member of the CSS&FP Working Group and an internationally known expert on HTML and CSS, tackles the subject with passion and delivers a comprehensive and thorough update to his groundbreaking book.All readers will benefit from both the depth and breadth of his experience and his clear and honest style.Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition is a thorough review of all aspects of CSS2.1 and a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation. The book includes new content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more. It explores in detail each individual CSS property and how it interacts with other properties, and shows how to avoid common mistakes in interpretation.If you're ready to take the next step with your HTML coding and incorporate CSS or are already a CSS code warrior, you'll findCascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition is the book you've been craving.

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From Amazon

Cascading Style Sheets can put a great deal of control and flexibility into the hands of a Web designer--in theory. In reality, however, varying browser support for CSS1 and lack of CSS2 implementation makes CSS a very tricky topic. Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide is a comprehensive text that shows how to take advantage of the benefits of CSS while keeping compatibility issues in mind.

The book is very upfront about the spotty early browser support for CSS1 and the sluggish adoption of CSS2. However, enthusiasm for the technology spills out of the pages, making a strong case for even the most skeptical reader to give CSS a whirl and count on its future. The text covers CSS1 in impressive depth--not only the syntactical conventions but also more general concepts such as specificity and inheritance. Frequent warnings and tips alert the reader to browser-compatibility pitfalls.

Entire chapters are devoted to topics like units and values, visual formatting and positioning, and the usual text, fonts, and colors. This attention to both detail and architecture helps readers build a well-rounded knowledge of CSS and equips readers for a future of real-world debugging. Cascading Style Sheets honestly explains the reasons for avoiding an in-depth discussion of the still immature CSS2, but covers the general changes over CSS1 in a brief chapter near the end of the book.

When successfully implemented, Cascading Style Sheets result in much more elegant HTML that separates form from function. This fine guide delivers on its promise as an indispensable tool for CSS coders. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered:

  • HTML with CSS
  • Selectors and structure
  • Units
  • Text manipulation
  • Colors and backgrounds
  • Boxes and borders
  • Visual formatting principles
  • Positioning
  • CSS2 preview
  • CSS case studies
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although O'Reilly books are not the best place to learn how to use a technology, they are excellent for polishing its finer points. Ethernet and Internet protocols are difficult by nature, but cascading style sheets and MP3s are much more accessible to beginners. All of these books are recommended for university and large public libraries; Cascading Style Sheets and MP3 will also serve well smaller public libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those indispensible web-design books! July 26 2001
These days, with applications such as "Flash" and "Frontpage" being used to put all the bells and whistles on applications, most wouldn't give a second thought to this book. This is unfortunate. This book is without a doubt the most important book anyone who has a background in HTML can pick up. It deals in great depth with the W3C CSS 1.0 standard, which allows the web designer to customize and standardize their pages to the minutest detail. I was surprised at how comprehensive this book was since it showed me how to do everything from creating lists bulleted with custom images to layering text/images on top of one another. The use of external cascading style sheets allowed me to create elaborate "standard" pages that could be updated by merely changing the stylesheet file. This concept is carried further in eXtensible Style Sheet language (XSL) and therefore is probably the best introduction to XML, before actually beginning to read up on XML! One thing in particular (among many!) about this book that I liked was the extensive use of screenshots to illustrate the effects of various scripts, something often missing from O'Reilly books. After reading this excellent tutorial/reference, read "JavaScript, the Definitive Guide", and "Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference" to learn how to create powerful client-side web pages (pop-up images, pop-down menus, etc.). Throw out FrontPage and really begin developing!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource June 28 2004
The subtitle claims this volume is the definitive guide, I believe it. This book provides comprehensive coverage of the current cascading style sheets specification and how it is being of being implemented (or not). The focus is on the CSS2 and CSS2.1 specs. My first impression of the book was that it would be a valuable reference manual, but as I began to read it, I soon realized it would serve as a great instructional source also. The writing style is as if a good friend sat down to explain style sheets. I found the pacing of the material to appropriate and the detail of the explanations to be exhaustive.
The chapter on selectors (chapter 2) was extremely valuable for me. It helped me to understand why some things did not work as I thought they should. Throughout the book, differences between the specification and the implementation in certain products are explained. Additionally, the differences between various levels of CSS are highlighted. The book has numerous examples for the CSS elements and variations.
This is a great book on CSS, but I wish that electronic versions of the examples were available. This is the only shortcoming of the book that I see. This book is a great tutorial and a valuable reference. Regular practice of the techniques contained within this volume can assist the reader in voiding the abuse of the table and fonts tags.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great depth, poor editing May 26 2004
By M. Wood
No doubt about it, Eric Meyer knows CSS inside and out! This book should be a fantastic reference for people who really want to explore the power of CSS.
Unfortunately the editing is so poor in many areas that you have to work through examples on your computer to see the effects being described. Screen shots are used to illustrate coding examples, but details which would help the reader interpret the picture are often left out. For example, when looking at an explanation of overlapping elements, you may be left to figure out whether a space between two lines of text is 20 pixels or 30 pixels wide when there is no reference of scale in the picture. You have to guess or try it out yourself.
When a series of examples are used to illustrate a concept, there is a lack of consistency in the example code. Instead of only changing the one element or parameter being discussed, a similar, but different, example is used so you can't simply look at two successive illustrations to see the effect of the change. In a few cases, whole lines of example code are missing. Probably lost in the shuffle while moving Figures and blocks of text to get the page layout right.
That said, there is a wealth of information here if you are willing to work a little to get it. I would still highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to seriously dive into CSS -- but if all you are looking for is an introduction or a basic reference, there are probably less frustrating sources out there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A solid reference manual... April 14 2004
Target Audience
Web developers who need a comprehensive guide on the use of CSS1 and CSS2 technology.
This book is an extensive guide on cascading style sheet technology, specifically the CSS1 and CSS2 specifications.
The book is divided into the following chapters:
CSS and Documents; Selectors; Structure and the Cascade; Values and Units; Fonts; Text Properties; Basic Visual Formatting; Padding, Borders, and Margins; Colors and Backgrounds; Floating and Positioning; Table Layout; Lists and Generated Content; User Interface Styles; Non-Screen Media; Property Reference; Selector, Pseudo-Class, and Pseudo-Element Reference; Sample HTML 4 Style Sheet; Index
Most of my development work is not concentrated on the user interface. To date, I've been able to live with just a minimal amount of HTML and JavaScript knowledge. But more and more I'm being drawn into web design work, and CSS is playing a significant part in that. In order to have the information I need to do my job, I got a copy of this book and I'm glad I did.
Meyer does a nice job in balancing the material between code examples, reference to cover all the parameters, and example output to show what the code will do. I think the last part is very important, as it allows you to visualize the type of effects a certain command will have, and from there you can start to apply it to your own web site. I am undecided as to whether this would make a good first tutorial for someone just learning CSS. For me, it's a better reference guide once you have some basic CSS understanding.
There is one formatting decision that the author made in the second edition that some might find irritating.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars This is the old edition. It was a 5-star book 4 years ago.
Eric Meyer is the master. This edition is way out of date. Instead, buy Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition. It explains everything about CSS2 in detail. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Clay Mckinney
2.0 out of 5 stars sloppy, useless, incomplete, redundant, conflicting
Working my way through this book, I found that on almost every page I would be scribbling remarks about sloppy, useless, incomplete, redundant, sometimes even conflicting pieces of... Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by Paul van Bemmelen
2.0 out of 5 stars 2nd Edition, March 2004. Stay away from it!
It's the last O'Reilly book I get!
This "guide" does not mention what elements are supported by what browsers. Read more
Published on April 11 2004 by Jose R Suarez (jr_suarez@yahoo.com)
1.0 out of 5 stars completely useless
i work as a programmer and occasionally have to get my hands into the design aspect of things, usually cleaning up templates designers have made in some crap gui tool. Read more
Published on March 31 2004 by R. Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Latest version is now out (Mar, 2004)
Make sure you get the latest version (ISBN#: 0-596-00525-3) which was released in March of 2004.
Some other reviews discuss the fact that this book is out of date. Read more
Published on March 26 2004 by Michael P. Ladd
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Explanation of CSS
Though I had a basic knowledge of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), I did not know the full power of them. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by dpeach
2.0 out of 5 stars Excelent book, but not up to date anymore
As almost all O'Reilly books, this is a great technical book. Great info, great index, and great organization. The author is a CSS guru. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2003 by Paulo Eduardo Neves
5.0 out of 5 stars a great intro to css
If you ever wanted to learn about css this is the place to start. Eric not only covers all of css1 and an intro into css2, he warns you of all the caveats regarding browser... Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2003 by Thomas J. Ba Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I learned CSS from this book. It's probably not the best book for an introduction to CSS, but it worked quite well for me. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2003 by Paul Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good shot at a moving target
Not really a reference, but more than a simple tutorial. This is the best book I've seen about Cascading Style Sheets, and went a long way to convincing me that CSS had finally... Read more
Published on July 10 2003 by P. C. Brown
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