on June 8, 2004
Overall, this was a useful and comprehensive book. Eric Meyer has a simple way of presenting the lessons. None of the ten lessons he covers should take longer than one hour. He is obviously extremely knowledgeable in this field. His praise is well deserved. I personally plan on implementing these lessons on my personal site and those of future clients. The only flaw I found with this book was chapter 10's missing lesson file from the books website, this was alright, as a similar html file was supplied. It was definitely not enough to lower my perfect rating though.
on May 3, 2004
Eric Meyer has done it again. His self-titled sequel More Eric Meyer on CSS is a collection of ten conversion projects that teaches CSS by example. A practical alternative to his other new book, Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2d ed., More is more inspired how-to than dry reference. Meyer says that the ultimate goal is to "lure you into using more CSS" with tempting visual effects, improved accessibility, design flexibility, and reduced page weight. I asked Eric Meyer why he wrote this book:
"There was such positive response to 'Eric Meyer on CSS' that New Riders and I decided it would be fun to create a sequel. Both books share the same project-oriented, practical philosophy, which is what people really seemed to like - that and the full color printing! The hope is that the book will help more designers get to know and love CSS, and inspire them to take the concepts presented and do something really awesome."
As you progress from project 1 through 10 Meyer takes you through more difficult CSS conversions. The first two chapters show you how to use CSS layout to convert conventional table-based designs into CSS-based layouts. Tables still have their uses however, and Meyer is not above styling table-based financial reports with CSS in project 3. Chapter 4 shows how to create translucency with positioned backgrounds. While the technique does a nice job of simulating the problematic semi-opaque PNG, Meyer points out the additional graphic overhead required for this technique.
Chapters 5 through 7 are the heart of the book, styling lists to create rollover, drop-down, and tab-based menus. Some of these techniques you may have seen before, documented by foreword writer Douglas Bowman and the aforementioned Zeldman. Meyer is the first to gather them all into one place and update them for CSS 2.1 and modern browsers (most version 5+ browsers). He takes you step by step through transforming simple unordered lists into line-straddling rollover menus, lightweight CSS-only drop-down menus, and variants of Bowman's "sliding doors" technique to create rounded tabs.
Chapters 8 through 10 take it up a notch, styling a weblog, a home page with weblog, and the CSS Zen Garden site. The Zen Garden project actually uses a PNG file that works with a full alpha channel in IE6/Win as well as IE5/Mac, Mozilla, Safari, and Opera. Chapter 10 in particular will be of interest to graphic artists who convert graphics comps into XHTML and CSS.
Starting with purely structural XHTML, Meyer shows you how to gradually build up your style sheets, adding effects with each iteration. Full color screenshots, notes, warnings, and websites annotate each tutorial with alternative methods, browser workarounds, and further reading. The net effect is like having a CSS master look over your shoulder as you convert existing web sites. You can take many of these techniques directly from the book and companion site (more.ericmeyeroncss.com) and put them directly into your sites, with some minor caveats.
Eric Meyer has arguably done more than anyone to help promote the use of CSS, and for that we applaud him. CSS is not just for styling text anymore.
on May 3, 2004
This is an excellent follow-up to "Eric Meyer on CSS." Meyer starts us in the same place as the original - turning an old-style table-based layout with font tags galore and showing how to trim the page size down using CSS for layout and formatting. The next 2 projects (Styling a Photo Collection and Styling a Financial Report) again hearken back to the original in that you are trying to complete a specific task. Along the way you are introduced to progressively more difficult concepts.
The gravy starts with Project 4 and continues through the rest of the book. Meyer leads us through some of the cutting-edge uses of CSS today and makes them work across today's popular browsers. When there is a problem rendering an effect in a particular browser, Meyer explains the pros and cons of using the technique.
This book is rated Intermediate-Advanced (same as the first book). Take that to heart. The projects in this book are harder than the corresponding project in the original. Neither teaches the basics. They make a great 1-2 punch and reading them in succession is a great idea. Make sure you follow along at the computer and do the projects - just reading them is helpful, but practice, practice, practice is absolutely necessary to really "get it".
Meyer again mentions that if you have read his previous books and don't like his writing tone, pass on this book. I find his writing style engaging. If you don't, consider getting the book anyhow - what you will learn from it should exceed any cringing you do at the style.
on November 9, 2004
This book far surpasses any CSS book that I've used so far. Eric provides fun, easy projects that teach important concepts applicable to REAL WORLD development.
I am an advanced HTML hand-coder, but I hadn't mastered CSS fully because existing references were not intuitive and did not illustrate how to use CSS in any practical sense.
I give this book my highest recommendation.