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Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design Paperback – May 12 2008


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Paperback, May 12 2008
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Amazon.com: 16 reviews
59 of 70 people found the following review helpful
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
Written in geek-style, but for total beginners Sept. 23 2005
By M. Schlosser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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
mediocre, opinionated, and somewhat boring Jan. 12 2007
By S. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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
Beyond the "how" and into the "why"... July 30 2005
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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
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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