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Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design [Paperback]

Christopher Schmitt

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Book Description

May 12 2008 047017708X 978-0470177082 2
Updated and revised to reflect changes to cascading style sheets (CSS) development procedures since the first edition was published, Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design, 2nd Edition offers a hands-on look at designing standards-based, large-scale, professional-level CSS web sites. Understand designers’ processes from start to finish and gain insight into how designers overcome a site’s unique set of challenges and obstacles. Become comfortable with solving common problems, learn the best practices for using XHMTL with CSS, orchestrate a new look for a blog, tackle browser-compatibility issues and develop functional navigational structures.

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Product Details

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design, 2nd Edition

Focusing on the best-practices aspect of web development, this full-color book is revised to reflect the changes to cascading style sheets (CSS) development procedures since the first edition was published. Featuring examples from real-world web sites, each chapter provides easily digestible CSS tips and techniques that were used for a specific site. The chapters document the designer's process from start to finish and provide insight as to how the designers overcame each site's unique set of challenges as well as ways they would have done things differently.

Offering a hands-on look into designing standards-based, large-scale, professional-level CSS web sites, this unique book presents understandable solutions to common problems and offers an intelligible approach to effectively developing CSS-enabled designs at a professional level.

What you will learn from this book

  • Best practices for using XHMTL with CSS

  • How to orchestrate a new look and feel for a blog

  • The ins and outs of designing a site that is relied upon by millions of users

  • Techniques for including drop shadows, drop-down menus, and embedded Flash® content into a web site

  • Tips for tackling browser-compatibility issues as well as developing functional navigational structures

  • Ways to customize a web site through CSS coding

  • How to create HTML e-mail templates, basic HTML table layouts, and how CSS plays a role in both

  • The importance of grids and layouts in design

Who this book is for

This book is for web developers who are looking for a clear understanding of how to use CSS to create professional-level web sites.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

Christopher Schmitt is the principal of Heatvision.com, Inc., a new media publishing and design firm based in Tallahassee, Florida. An award-winning Web designer who has been working with the Web since 1993, he interned for both David Siegel and Lynda Weinman in the mid-1990s while an undergraduate at Florida State University pursuing a Fine Arts degree with emphasis on graphic design. He is the author of The CSS Cookbook (O’Reilly, 2004) and Designing CSS Web Pages (New Riders Press, 2002). He is also the co-author (with Micah Laaker) of Photoshop CS in 10 Simple Steps or Less (Wiley, 2004) and contributed four chapters to XML, HTML, & XHTML Magic by Molly Holzschlag (New Riders Press, 2001). Christopher has also written for New Architect magazine, A List Apart, Digital Web, and Web Reference. In 2000, he led a team to victory in the “Cool Site in a Day” competition, wherein he and five other talented developers built a fully functional, well-designed Web site for a non-profit organization in eight hours. Speaking at conferences such as The Other Dreamweaver Conference and SXSW, he has given talks demonstrating the use and benefits of practical CSS-enabled designs. Also helping to spread the word about Web design, he is the list mom for Babble (www.babblelist.com), a mailing list community devoted to advanced Web design and development topics. On his personal Web site, www.christopherschmitt.com, he shows his true colors and most recent activities. He is 6'7" tall and does not play professional basketball, but he wouldn’t mind a good game of chess.

Mark Trammell of Gainesville, Florida, directs the Web presence at the University of Florida.

Ethan Marcotte of Boston co-founded Vertua Studios (vertua.com), a Web design shop focused on creating beautiful, user-focused sites. A steering committee member of the Web Standards Project, he is a leading industry voice on standards-based Web design. Ethan is also the curator of sidesh0w.com, a popular Web log that is equal parts design, coding, and blather.

Dunstan Orchard of Dorset, UK, and San Francisco is Senior UI Engineer at Apple’s online store. He is a member of The Web Standards Project, a silent developer for the popular open source blogging platform Wordpress, and an occasional contributor to his own site at http://1976design.com/.

Todd Dominey of Atlanta founded Dominey Design (domineydesign.com), an interactive Web development and design studio that has produced original work for Budweiser, The Washington Post, Google, Winterfresh Gum, and others. He is also a Senior Interactive Designer at Turner Sports Interactive, designing and developing Web destinations for major PGA tournaments (including the PGA Championship and The Ryder Cup). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
59 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There are better books on CSS... Sept. 2 2005
By Adrienne Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a bit disappointed with this book. There are two rather glaring shortcomings here:

1. There's a distinct lack of focus. While the content is based on real-world CSS solutions, the authors can't really seem to get in the groove. The first chapter is devoted to "Planning and Development of Your Site". While that is certainly important information, it really is a subject that has been treated better and more thoroughly elsewhere (Goto & Cotler's "Web Redesign 2.0" comes to mind). Later chapters sort of ramble through the subject matter, not really succeeding at being thorough case studies of the sites. (For example, the chapter in ESPN was truly disapointing for its lack of content.) I really got the impression that the authors were trying to "pad" the content so as to make the book seem bigger than it really is.

2. Poor reproduction of graphics. In some cases, it's difficult to see what the authors are trying to represent. Several errors in Chapter 3 ("Blogger: Rollovers and Design Improvements") make the examples very confusing. The book's editing left much to be desired--I found quite a few errors throughout the book.

Given these two shortcomings, there is still valuable information in the book. With better editing, and tighter focus on the subject matter, this would be a good choice for a reference book on applying CSS to real-world projects. As it is, it's not a bad book to have in your collection, though I wouldn't put it on my "must-have" list.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Written in geek-style, but for total beginners Sept. 23 2005
By M. Schlosser - Published on Amazon.com
I don't really know which book the other reviews are talking about, but I do not have much good to say about this book. Couple of reasons: it's incredibly talkative without actually providing any valuable information above very basic knowledge and tips'n'tricks. For example, although shooting at "designers who understand CSS at an intermediate to advanced level", it spends about five pages on (re-)introducing the box model (you know, what exactly padding and margin refer to). The pace of the book is just painstakingly slow: in the chapter where a three-column layout is introduced, it literally builds the three-column layout from a simple text page up, depicting over and over again how the simplest code change affects the browser rendering - only to stop at a stripped-down three-column layout that has achieved nothing (and where you can find much better examples by just typing "three-column layout CSS" into Google).

Now you may say: that sounds great for beginners. It's not at all - since the book doesn't really follow any logic, it just introduces random websites (e.g., fastcompany.com) and uses these websites as an example on how to layout with CSS (then again, without really showing how for example fastcompany.com does it in practice). So there's absolutely no learning curriculum that is being followed.

And lastly, here's my favorite quote: A chapter talking about how to design round boxes with CSS is kicked off by "We also touch upon issues these solutions have with Internet Explorer and provide workarounds (if possible) for this troublesome browser." Yeah guys, too bad that 90% of the world IS using IE. I don't like it either, but it's not my choice, so please give me something I and 90% of the world can work with, and not some geek's elaboration on how great Firefox can render CSS. The chapter goes on to dwell for pages and pages about how to do it, only to conclude that the solution basically doesn't work for IE.

Conclusion: I can't really see who should buy this book - not interesting as a tutorial on CSS (since it doesn't follow any logic and introduces topics as it hums along), not interesting as a resource on coding how-tos (since it's way to shallow on real coding content - see three-column layout), not interesting as a study on how real websites are built based on CSS (because in the end it doesn't really disect these websites or the design choices made, they seem to be used only as an alibi to get on certain topics).
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mediocre, opinionated, and somewhat boring Jan. 12 2007
By S. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
This is not a reference book nor a how to book. It describes web sites & how those sites tackled their display problems. If you have to buy 3 css books, I'd recommend this order:

1. OReilly - CSS The Definitive Guide by Eric Meyer (great reference)
2. Any good CSS cookbook

And, if you really need a 3rd book after the 2 above... consider this book along with any of the several others out there.

PS: I am not a fan of MS either, but if I'm paying good money for a book, I don't want to be continually reminded by the authors of how poor of a product ms puts out. The poor quality of MS Web technologies is well known.
40 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the "how" and into the "why"... July 30 2005
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Often it's hard to find a good book to take you beyond the "how" of technology and get into the "why". This one does... Professional CSS - Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design by Christopher Schmitt, Mark Trammell, Eathan Marcotte, Dunstan Orchard, and Todd Dominey (Wrox).

Content: The Planning and Development of Your Site; Best Practices for XHTML and CSS; Blogger: Rollovers and Design Improvements; The PGA Championship; The University of Florida; ESPN.com: Powerful Layout Changes; FastCompany.com: Building a Flexible Three-Column Layout; Stuff and Nonsense: Strategies for CSS Switching; Bringing It All Together; HTML 4.01 Elements; Rules for HTML-to-XHTML Conversion; CSS 2.1 Properties; Troubleshooting CSS Guide; Index

I've spent the last year or so getting into CSS for some site development I've done. Most of it has been learn as you go, and do whatever works. But a book like this forces me to take a step back and examine the "why" of site development with CSS. Each of the authors are seasoned professionals at web site design, and have worked on some of the largest websites out there. They are well qualified to take an aspect of design (like Blogger's "rounded box corner" look) and go into detail about how it's accomplished. Along the way, you pick up insights as to how high-end designers think about their craft and how you can start using the same techniques.

I find books like this extremely valuable as I'm more mechanical than artistic when it comes to programming. I can do a lot when it comes to building functionality, but I'm extremely weak when it comes to designing aesthetically pleasing visual effects. But I can copy real well. :-) Perusing through these pages give me a number of ideas I can implement right away, and I start to look like I know what I'm doing.

Definitely a book that earns a spot on my shelf at work under close watch and guard against "borrowers"...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Picture Jan. 29 2007
By Smart4 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had learned CSS back in 98, when everything was new, and most of what CSS was MEANT to do just didn't work yet. Move forward 9 years and guess what? It still doesn't! However, this book helped me to expand my CSS understanding and do a lot more cool stuff than I used to be able to do. This is an industry that is ever changing and it pays to keep learning.

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