The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks Paperback – Aug 7 2009
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About the Author
Rachel Andrew is the Director of edgeofmyseat.com, a Web solutions company based in the UK. She is a member of the Web Standards project, serving on the Dreamweaver Task Force.
Rachel's writing credits include: Dreamweaver MX Design Projects (Apress), Fundamental Web Design and Development Skills (glasshaus) and HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS, 2nd Edition (SitePoint).
Top Customer Reviews
The CSS Anthology sets out a question and answer type of resource. Most people using this book will be browsing the topics for solutions to particular problems. However, if worked through from start to finish, this book would even serve beginners well.
The CSS Anthology is complete with full code and illustrations. I find this aspect is particularly useful for trying out different approaches. The book also contains a lot of good tips about compatibility and when CSS is not the best choice.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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 - [...]
This is a very nice book to transition to CSS and current web standards-compliant code.
There are a lot of CSS books on the market. This book stands out in the field because of it's real world examples and practical advice. So many books have esoteric examples of pages you would never find in the wild. This book has elegant examples that show you not only what you can do, but also guide you towards what you should do.
Well written with lots of example code and screenshots. You will need to know CSS before you pick this book up.
I am a developer by trade, and while I've had some experience with web design through various past projects, I've done very little with CSS. Laying web pages out in tables was what I knew, and so that's how I did it. Occasionally, I would use CSS to pull some of the markup out of the HTML so I didn't have to reuse it, but I never really leveraged (or understood) the power of CSS. This book changed a lot of that.
Within days of receiving this book, I started a couple new web projects. The first was a new website, and I got the opportunity to put a lot of the fantastic recipes to work, modifying them to suit my needs. The second web project involved taking a pre-existing web module (built with heavy CSS usage) and using it as a template for a new web system. The two systems were very different (the first was a news/content site and the system being built was a web application), so there were a lot of modifications that needed to be made, while keeping the general look and feel of the original site.
If this book was just recipes, I would have had a hard time with the second task. But because book goes into explanations of why the recipies work, breaking each recipe out into a series of steps with exposition of each, I was able to reuse concepts rather than just recipes.
As I mentioned before, I had a little CSS experience before reading this book. I was familiar with HTML, but I have never been a designer, and it has been a few years since I've really built a website. I feel this book got me back up to speed quickly, and I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to familiarize themselves with CSS.
I have been writing web applications since the mid nineties, so I am very familiar with HTML. Until recently, I have been using CSS mostly for text formatting. Positioning and layout has been left to tables. We are starting a new project so I started looking into CSS more closely so we could create XHTML 1.1 compliant pages. I started with a few CSS reference books, but they didn't help. Then I tried CSS Zen Garden. While the book contains interesting web design information, it does really help someone looking for how-to information. The CSS Anthology was my third try and it was just what I was looking for.
Rachel's book is also a very easy read with a lot of screen captures. I was able to finish the book in a few hours, and I tend not to be a fast reader.
By way of illustration, my CSS library already contains a so-called "definitive guide" that provides excellent, albeit somewhat spare and dry, descriptions of every single CSS selector and property. The problem is that while this definitive guide is a useful reference, it seldom illustrates how to use CSS to achieve many common formatting effects. I'm thus obliged to wade through the descriptions of several CSS selectors and properties in a search for the ones that will allow me to achieve my rather simple presentational goals.
This is where the CSS Anthology's example-driven format excels. The vast majority of the book's sections are titled "How do I...?", followed by a straightforward illustration of how to use CSS to achieve a specific sort of output; the examples include some sophisticated and advanced effects that go well beyond my simple requirements.
The CSS Anthology also provides an extremely understandable description of how and why various types and versions of browsers do or do not process standards-based CSS properly. Having gone numb trying to assimilate the information contained in the sprawling browser compatibility tables found in other more comprehensive reference books, I found the CSS Anthology to be refreshing in its straightforward, understandable summation of browser compatibility issues and possible workarounds.
In summary, I would recommend the CSS Anthology as one of the members of your CSS reference library. Note, however, that you'll most likely also want to obtain a complementary reference book for a more definitive guide to the nits and bits of all the CSS selector and property elements; the CSS Anthology does not pretend to be a definitive reference guide.