- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (Sept. 20 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735712638
- ISBN-13: 978-0735712638
- Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 662 g
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,172,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Designing CSS Web Pages Paperback – Sep 20 2002
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From the Back Cover
Go beyond the mechanics of CSS to how to think in the language of web design, and avoid the common pitfalls. Full of examples and deconstruction's to aid in understanding CSS and its application. The ability to use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is fast becoming a vital tool in the web professional's toolkit. But understanding how to use CSS is not intuitive--it requires a new way of thinking when it comes to building web pages. This book encourages web designers to look at the perceived limitations of the web as a new challenge to their design skills--without relying on HTML for presentation of pages. The overall theme is to instruct readers to build pages by using relative design techniques: understanding the relationship within the dynamic space of the web rather than the fixed-design "old-school" notions that have been in use for so long. The web site will include all of the files needed for the exercises and additional information of interest to web professionals including, but not limited to, recommended readings (suggested books, web sites and online articles), full-length interviews and a listing of CSS tools. christopher
About the Author
Christopher Schmitt, project manager and idea generator for the new media publishing company, Heatvision.com, Inc., has been a web designer and developer since 1993. He interned for both David Siegel and Lynda Weinman in the mid-90s. He has written several site reviews, interviews, and articles for print and online publications and managed a web magazine dedicated to excellence in site design (www.highfive.com). He addressed the problem of web safe colors for designers by creating and producing the Web Design Pad, that was widely sold throughout the US and abroad. He contributed four chapters to the recently published XML, HTML, XHTML Magic (0735711399) by Molly E. Holzschlag.
Top customer reviews
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This book covers a lot of the same ground as the Glasshaus title but I found it particularly useful due to its slightly more graphic design bent. The code samples in the book are not merely basic utility layouts (2 columns, 3 columns, vertical centering etc), but more aesthetically 'designed' examples of using CSS -- a feature clearly missing in a lot of books aimed at the 'web developer' community. I'd venture to say I am not one of those to get so enamoured with the technology itself that they fail to see it as a handy means to an end. I really value Schmitt's efforts in this sense.
There are many CSS techniques in the W3C specifications that are poorly, inconsistently, or not supported at all, in even the latest browsers. As a practising designer, and not just an academic, Christopher is only too happy to point out the limitations of browsers and explains some of the many pitfalls that await the unwary if you try to push the envelope too far.
The projects, again downloadable from the publisher's Web site, focus on publishing - in business, personal and 'underground' styles. The typography is a lot fancier than any other book I've seen and the attention to detail, even for 'web' typography, is highly commendable.
An earlier review on this website said this book is not well technically edited. I am not sure why that was said, but I work with Opera 6 (and 7 beta), Mozilla 0.9 and above, netscape 6 and above and IE 4 and above. All samples I have tried have impressed me.
In sum, if you want to separate your content from design and give your 'styles' some, er, style, AND if you are fairly familiar with the basic CSS lingo (i.e., you dont need to know box models or glish but should understand what a link rel is), then this is probably a very useful book for you. If you are looking for a very basic introduction to CSS, I'd strongly recommend the Glasshaus book. If you are serious about your work, get both.
People who are heavily into "slicing and dicing" graphics and creating complex table structures may have a hard time with this book, because it puts the *content* first, not the visual effects. But, the future of the living web needs us to get out of that mode and to start thinking about communication of ideas and written content. Schmitt's book does a good job of presenting the information and the appendices in the back of the book are a great resource, too.
My only "quibble" with the book is the large section on SVG which really isn't too helpful, at least not yet. However, before reading this book, I only had a dim idea of what SVG even meant, so I did learn something and will be looking for the advancement of this graphics format in the future.
You will also need to read other books on this topic. My recommendations are for Eric Meyer's books (all of them, but especially "Eric Meyer on CSS") and if you use Dreamweaver MX, Project Seven has a wonderful eBook,"Foundations," that is terrific for putting CSS to work while teaching you best practices of working with Dreamweaver.
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.
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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The moment I saw Christopher's tutorial "Web Page Reconstruction with CSS"...Read more