My guess is that there are many hundreds, if not thousands, of web designers who continue to build sites and web applications using "old-fashioned" tables and HTML layout formatting instead of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). I'm one of them. The problem is that the modern trend is away from HTML table and layout formatting and towards newer standards-compliant means. The protocols and standards of the World Wide Web are evolving towards "cleaner" code, more standardized code, and more capable code, generally guided by principles and standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium, known as W3C.
In the book, "The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks, and Hacks", author Rachel Andrew provides an easy way for hold-outs to ease into CSS design. This is not a treatise or concept-minded book, but a practical introduction and guide to putting CSS to immediate use in real-world contexts that every web designer is already familiar with. The author shows how to use CSS to style text, format headings and images, create navigation, style forms and user interfaces, and work with browser-compatibility issues.
Andrew is a working web designer and applications designer and presents the material in a very straightforward practical manner - almost as if the reader was following along at a workshop. The writing is clear, all examples are illustrated with relevant code samples, and she offers the insights of an experienced professional regarding everyday problems and solutions.
The book is composed of a preface, nine chapters, and an index. Chapter 1 is an introduction to CSS showing why it is replacing HTML table and layout formatting, and the basic concepts of CSS. The other chapters are set up in a "problem/solution" format where various design issues - text styling, image layout, etc. - are presented and solved by adept usage of CSS.
Even readers who have never paid much attention to CSS will quickly get a useful, working sense of how it is used and how to use it immediately themselves. Although CSS is yet another language to learn, Andrew presents it in such a way that it seems like it is an easy learn. And it demonstrably is, as here, easy to use.
The best parts of the book are the designer tips from an experienced code-writer on how to work with code across different browsers and platforms, and how to understand that browsers have two modes of parsing - a compliant mode and a "quirks" mode. Some browsers, she shows, just have "quirks", especially Microsoft's Internet Explorer. (Surprise!). Although all the CSS tags necessary to illustrate the solutions presented here are shown, a list or chart of most commonly used CSS tags would have been helpful here. Downloadable code for all of the book's examples are available at the publisher's website - www.sitepoint.com/books/cssant1.
This is a very nice book to transition to CSS and current web standards-compliant code.