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27 Reviews
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3 star:
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5.0 out of 5 stars a lot more than CSS
Christopher Schmitt has taken it upon himself to write a book that not only covers CSS, but the idea of designing websites with sanity in mind. Throughout the book, Schmitt distinguishes between good and bad things to do while you're designing a website. He talks a lot about what clients expect and that kind of things, something teachers need to go over more. He also...
Published on May 16 2004 by Tym

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3.0 out of 5 stars Falls Short on Practical Examples of CSS
Designing CSS Web Pages has very good chapters on the planning and structuring of content as well as designing web page layouts using liquid designs and suspension designs. The book falls short in my opinion in the actual examples using CSS. The author doesn't take the time to discuss the how and why of using various CSS rules so that the reader gains a full...
Published on May 17 2003 by Sean Smith


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2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating, Oct. 31 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
While there are some useful concepts in here, they are usually completely glossed over or refer you elsewhere with a link to someone elses web site.
The first 2 chapters are especially frustrating. There are so many errors i found myself actually shouting out loud. He makes statements without backing them up (I thought this was going to be an oppinionated book by a master in his field). The sidebars and captions are so unhelpful and seem to refer to diagrams and screenshots that are not even there (figures 2.4 and 2.5 are identical with different descriptions and captions).
I thought - ok this is a terribly inconsistent error-laden book and the technical reviewers are obviously not really paying any attention here... but it will be ok because the errata will correct it all online ... WRONG!!! All the errata serves to do is correct minor typos (spaces that should be removed in urls etc) and doesn't address any of the technical errors in the book. Mine is the reprinted 2003 version so they had a second chance but clearly didn't use it.
The css code used is incredibly inconsistent, and he makes changes to it from one step to the next, often without a mention as to why.
listing 4.17 (partial)
.sidecol {
padding: 0 22px 0 22px3%;
}
where does the 3% come from? clearly a typo - but in the errata it reinforces this typo. The code that you can download is correct but what confidence can you have when the errata is wrong.
I am reading this book to learn something - i'm not going to use the code for every example because some of it is too simplistic and I dont need to, but when the book is incorrect it just slows you down so much.
Just simply frustrating. This might seem like a simplistic example, and it is. You may be saying - see past it, it's only a typo. But they are everywhere and it's just maddening. He clearly knows his stuff, I just don't necessarily think he writes about it in a good way.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written and confusing, July 1 2004
By 
David Powers (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
I bought this book because of Christopher Schmitt's high reputation, and because I'd heard so many positive reports about it. Christopher Schmitt does have a good sense of design, and he uses CSS in an imaginative way, but he's no writer or teacher. The book would be more aptly renamed "Random Thoughts about Web Design". The first two chapters burble on about design principles - important issues, but others have written about the subject far more cogently. Then a chapter about style rules that is likely to confuse the hell out of anyone not already well-versed in CSS. After a few designs, you're then plunged into the mysteries of handling PNG and SVG with CSS. (Yes, those graphics formats that are not supported by the vast majority of browsers in current use.) And where are the basic rules about creating borders, styling text, and other useful things? In an appendix, that's where. Unless Christopher Schmitt can get a better editor to knock some sense of coherence into his thoughts, he should stick to design, and stay well clear of writing. Sorry, this is one of the worst computer books I've read in a long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a lot more than CSS, May 16 2004
By 
Tym (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
Christopher Schmitt has taken it upon himself to write a book that not only covers CSS, but the idea of designing websites with sanity in mind. Throughout the book, Schmitt distinguishes between good and bad things to do while you're designing a website. He talks a lot about what clients expect and that kind of things, something teachers need to go over more. He also provides coding for both CSS and Javascript, along with touching on print, audio, and more forms of media CSS can be utilized for. I read this book from cover to cover without becoming bored; Schmitt has found a way to approach a technical subject and make it interesting, as opposed to most tech books which are just straight code and very drull. I definitely recommend this for any web designer, beginning or advanced.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, low on content, April 25 2004
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This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
I wish I'd paid more attention to the negative reviews of this book because I am very disappointed in it. To begin with, this book is poorly written ("Like I mentioned earlier..." for gosh sakes!), poorly edited and full of errors.
As for what the book is *not*:
- It is not a good introduction to CSS.
- It is not a good explanation of why to adopt CSS. (Zeldman's Designing with Web Standards is infinitely better.)
- It is not a good resource for best practices and dealing with real-world shortcomings in the implementation of CSS. (Among others, Zeldman is much better on that too.)
- It is not a good source of CSS examples. The examples in the book are trivial and pooly explained. There are better examples on lots of free CSS sites and Meyer's Eric Meyer on CSS is a much better book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Makes CSS "Click", March 7 2004
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This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
I had picked up several other CSS books that were basically CSS Language References. I got the impression that CSS was basically a more complicated way to accomplish what "font" and similar tags already did. Who needs that? Turns out, I was doing CSS all wrong and just making my life harder.
This book, however, was the first book I read that really showed how CSS is supposed to be done to make your web design life easier. In the middle of reading this book, it suddenly "clicked" in my head... Mr. Schmitt shows how you can take a plain vanilla page with no formatting whatsoever and turn it into a beautiful layout and design using CSS -- and then reformat it with a few keystrokes. The most valuable parts of the book are the ones in which he demonstrates how to mark up various portions of a page using structural div tags, and then format those portions with CSS style sheets. And there are pages and pages of samples at the end of the book that basically show you how duplicate things you see in printed brochures and ads.
I've read some of the negative comments from other reviewers, and in my opinion, what they are complaining about is CSS itself -- this stuff is really HARD to learn to do well! But this book is a very good place to begin. It's not the only book you'll need on the subject, but it'll train you to think of CSS in the right way and get you ready to use those CSS language reference books effectively.
Get this book first.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money, Feb. 27 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (Sedona, Arizona USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
I've been working in the computer business since 1984 and can honestly say this is the worst computer book I have ever seen. As you all know this is really saying something, as there are multitudes of poorly written book in our industry. The prose of this book approaches childishness at times. More to the point, the book is poorly edited with numerous errors and mistakes throughout. Many of the errors are inconsistencies between progressive code examples that often extend to the associated text. A full chapter is dedicated to technologies that are not yet available to any browsers. The book is simply not ready for publication. Save your money. I wish I could get mine back from Mr. Bezos.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ideal choice for visual designers, Feb. 16 2004
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
I'm a graphic designer and have gathered some solid background in web design through the years.
The moment I saw Christopher's tutorial "Web Page Reconstruction with CSS" [the website] on Digital Web Magazine mentioning the upcoming book, I immediately knew that this was the book for me.
It turned out to be an eye-opening experience starting with the structured content and moving towards the "styled" end result purely with the implementation of css. I have looked at several other books on css and while many of them provided valuable in-depth knowledge none of them created a spark for me like "Designing CSS Web Pages" did. Like no other author Christopher shows in simple examples how CSS can be used to actually work on the look of pages, accompanied by the underlying code. That makes it the perfect companion for the visual designers out there.
Even the so-called appendix has a lot to offer: the 50 formatting exercises show you how to create variations of a headline followed by a paragraph: headlines separated by various line styles, headlines left-, right- and centre-aligned, headlines residing in their own, coloured box tucked into the text block, headlines spiced up by background images... you name it!
I admit, as others have mentioned, that some chapters require an understanding of other, related techniques like JavaScript, so the book would not seem an ideal choice for beginners. However the examples are clearly presented to be as comprehensive as possible and certainly sparked my interest to deepen my knowledge where it was lacking.
For those that have a basic background the book opens up a bunch of new possibilities - it really is that good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Designing CSS Web Pages, Feb. 16 2004
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This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
As a webmaster, I can highly recommend Christopher Schmitt's book . Along with Dan Schafer's "HTML Utopia," it will give you all the information you need to build a new site from scratch or to revamp your website to make it more professional, easier to maintain and conform to W3 standards. I found "Designing CSS Web Pages" invaluable in redesigning my site.
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2.0 out of 5 stars started off good but then failed to bring in the home run., Feb. 12 2004
By 
Aaron "aagnv" (GAINESVILLE, FL, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
Part one of the book starts off good, giving good advice on how to develop an all CSS page/site. Part two is a good introduction where he walks you through writing bits of CSS, and applying the css bit by bit to see the page take form. Part three through five was a big disappointment. From out of no where, the author delves into somewhat advanced javascipt and starts throwing up css w/out any additional walk throughs or explanations - he just refers you to buying some other book by another author. Very frustrating! I unfortunately don't fee I completely got my money's worth on this one :-(
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place to Start, Dec 12 2003
By 
DH "D Hood" (SOUTHFIELD, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Designing CSS Web Pages (Paperback)
As a person with 8 years of web design experience, I know all too well that things are constantly changing. The vast majority of those years were spent creating table-based layouts. I needed something to jump start me and help me make the switch from table-based to CSS layouts. This book served as the perfect tool.
In reading other reviews, where people complained about errors, I didn't run into this problem. I guess that's because of the way I use books. I simply took the code that Mr. Schmitt has in the book, downloaded the great examples on the book's site, and played with the code enough to gain a solid understanding of the principles that he presented.
Coupling the book's topics with other info readily available on the web and via CSS mailing lists, creating sites with CSS has been (for the most part) a pain-free experience.
My advice? I definitely recommend this book. Just take it with a grain of salt (like any other book or product) and do all you can to get the most out of it. The author definitely knows his stuff, so overall, you can't go wrong.
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Designing CSS Web Pages
Designing CSS Web Pages by Christopher Schmitt (Paperback - Sept. 20 2002)
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