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CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions Paperback – Oct 29 2009
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About the Author
In October 2006, Simon Collision started Erskine Design based in Nottingham, U.K. which grew to become an eight-strong team of creative web designers and developers who are afraid of nothing. Some people say they're one of the best agencies out there, and their clients include major magazines, government stuff, software companies and polar explorers. Moons ago, he was a successful visual artist, and founded an independent arts org and annual arts festival, putting his degree to some use at least. Then he caught the interwebs bug. As lead web developer at Agenzia from 2002 to 2006, he worked on numerous web projects for major record labels (such as Poptones, Universal) and bands (including The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, Beta Band), visual artists and illustrators (Jon Burgerman, Paddy Hartley, Lucy Orta, NOW Festival), businesses, community, and voluntary sector orgs, passionately ensuring everything was accessible and complied with current web standards. He does a bit of public speaking here and there, and will generally do anything for a biscuit and cup of tea, but prefers hard cash. He has lived in many cities, including London and Reykjavik, but has now settled back in his beloved Nottingham, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. He also drives a 31-year-old car, and has a stupid cat called Bearface.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book offered plenty more tips and I especially took to heart the tip about 'writing meaningful code'.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is for anybody who has played around with CSS a little and wondered "what the h*ll can I do with this stuff?". CSS has been around for awhile now, but only recently has the most current browsers been able to support the cool stuff you can do with it. What cool stuff? You need to buy the book to find out, but I'll give you some highlights...
First off, the first chapter explains how to use document types, divs and spans, validation, basics of CSS (selectors, pseudo-classes, child and sibling selectors, attribute selectors, etc), how cascade and specifity works, and how to organize your style sheets. A great primer to the rest of the book.
The 2nd chapter focuses visual formatting with CSS with the Box Model, Positioning and Floating. This is an important topic because creating CSS layouts requires a good understanding of how these topics work (and work together) in creating "real-world layouts.
Chapter 3 talks about using background images and replacement in creating rounded corner effects, drop shadows (4 different kinds), and some cool image replacement for optimizing search engines and screen readers (accessibility).
Chapter 5 continues with styling links but extends it in showing you how to create button nav bars (horizontal and vertical) and adds a few tricks with using some image placeholders and sections to create some nice looking professional navigation for your website.
Chapter 6 focuses on the right way to use tables: for displaying data (not layout for web sites - no more nested tables). With the use of the very popular border-collapse property and others, Andy shows some very eye-please table layouts.
Chapter 7 in my opinion is the meat-and-potatoes of the book. Its goes over some how to use CSS in creating some standardized layouts. The whole point of CSS is to separate your content and layout and this is the way to go. It is explained in a very easy to follow manner with plenty of screenshots to show you each step.
The rest of the book (Chapter 8 and Chapter 9) review the common and not-so-common CSS hacks that are used to overcome some browser deficiencies. I can't tell you how many website I had to search to find out about these, and its all here in these 2 chapters!.
The last part of the book has 2 Case Studies that show how a website created purely with CSS was created from beginning to end. A great finish to a great book.
Throw out all your other CSS books and just get this one.
However -- and this is a big however -- the book is riddled with technical errors. The errata file, available for download from the publisher as a PDF file, currently runs a whopping 11 pages. While a small handful of errors in a technical book's first edition is inevitable, 11 pages is not a small handful for a book as thin as this. It's really inexcusable that so many errors -- some of them quite obvious -- made it past the editor.
It makes it very irritating to use.
The book is good if you are ready to stick with it, but before I buy from these authors again, I am waiting for the errata to be a few months old. It kind of feels like a ripoff to get a book that you have to constantly go back & forth to a pdf (painful) to make sure it isn't a typo on your part when css does not work as expected.
I like friends of ed books in general, but we do pay money for these things as customers & should demand more from authors.
Andy Budd now lives right next door to Zeldman on my desk. Seriously, CSS Mastery is a great title. It's not beginning CSS, which means you should have some working knoweldge of CSS already before you pick it up. This isn't a book that teaches you to know CSS, it teaches you to master it.
Andy covers the stuff that will supplement your existing knowledge. He doesn't waste time telling you about the difference between a class and an ID, or the value of shorthand. What he does tell you is why some margins collapse in some browsers and not in others, and how to fix the problem. He briefly explains the attribute selector, but goes right into how and when you might want to use it.
The chapter I found the most valuable to me was the section on forms and tables. Being primarily concerned with layout and text, I haven't had to spend a lot of time looking at data, whether it's being input (form) or output (table). Again, Andy doesn't spend too much time talking about the details of creating a form or a table, but he doesn explain how to style each section of data with real-world examples and backup ideas, or alternatives to his style.
I especially love the last two chapters, where Andy let's Cameron Moll and Simon Collison have at it with a couple of design, applying some of the things Andy talks about in the book. It's awesome to get their perspective, and it adds a ton of credibility to what Andy has to say.
I recommend this book to anyone who has a firm grasp of CSS already and wants to take it further. If you're not completely comfortable with CSS, you might want to check out some other resources first. Or... just be aware that you might not get some added explanation to Andy's techniques because he assumes you already know.
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