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Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web [Paperback]

Hakon Wium Lie , Bert Bos
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

For readers looking for a one-stop read for all they need to know about cascading style sheets (CSS), Cascading Style Sheets, Second Edition: Designing for the Web really hits the nail on the head. One of the authors--Hakon Wium Lie--was the originator of CSS and is in charge of the technology in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). His writing partner for this work is Bert Bos--another key member of the W3C currently focusing on style sheets and the Extensible Markup Language (XML). Together, they deliver a truly educational guide to the subject.

This book wisely includes numerous colour screen shots and diagrams, as well as many typographic examples, to augment the discussion of the inherently visual topic of CSS. The authors' graphical expertise comes through clearly with visuals that clarify topics without cluttering the presentation.

The coverage goes beyond--or shall we say behind--that found in many other CSS books that focus primarily on the technical features of browsers. For example, the authors take the time to discuss typesetting terminology and font families in order to build a well- rounded knowledge. Despite the presentation of the precise details of the CSS1 and CSS2 specifications, the writing is quite easy to read and intriguing to follow. Even if you are familiar with CSS--this is an excellent title to own. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered: CSS (level 1 and 2), HTML, and XML tutorials, and coverage of which browsers support which CSS elements.

Review

"Some excellent full-colour examples show what CSS can do in the right hands."

www.mantex.co.uk, August 2001

From the Publisher

Foreword

When the Web was in its infancy, seven years ago or so, I felt greatly relieved at the final removal of all the totally unsolvable problems of fixed format presentation. In the young Web, there were no more pagination faults, no more footnotes, no silly word breaks, no fidgeting the text to gain that extra line that you sorely needed to fit everything on one page. In the window of a Web page on the NeXTStep system, the text was always clean. Better that that: I decided what font it came out in, how big I wanted the letters, what styles I chose for definition lists and where tabs went.

Then we descended into the Dark Ages for several years, because the Web exploded into a community that had not idea that such freedom was possible, but worried about putting on the remote screen exactly what they thought their information should look like. I've read recommendations against using structure markup because you have no control over what comes out the other side. Sad.

You have by now understood that I'm firmly in the camp of those who think that quality of content comes first, and presentation comes later. But of course, I'm not entirely right here: presentation is important. Mathematical formulas are always presented in a two-dimensional layout.

Fortunately, SGML's philosophy allows us to separate structure from presentation, and the Web DTD, HTML, is no exception. Even in the NeXTStep version of 1990, Tim Berneres-Lee provided for style sheets, though at a rudimentary level (we had other things to do then!)

Today, style sheets are becoming a reality again, this time much more elaborate. This is an important milestone for the Web, and we should stop for a minute to reflect on the potential benefits and pitfalls of the technology.

I followed the CSS effort from its inception - mostly over cups of coffee with Hakon at CERN - and I've always had one concern: is it possible to create powerful enough style sheet "language" without introducing the complexity of programming.

The CSS described in this book shows that you can create some quite stunning presentations without programming. While the programmer in me may be a little disappointed, the minimalist in me is comforted. In fact, I'll never need this much freedom and special effects, but then I'm not a graphic artist. Anything that needs more compilation effectively becomes an image, and should be treated as such. I feel therefore that the middle part of the spectrum between pure ASCII text and full images is effectively covered by the power of CSS, without introducing the complexity of programming.

You have here a book on presentation. But it is presentation of information that should also remain structured, so that your content can be effectively used by others, while retaining the specific visual aspects you want to give it. Use CSS with care. It is the long-awaited salt on the Web food: a little is necessary, too much is not good cooking.

The efforts of the authors have finally brought us what we sorely needed: the author's ability to shape the content without affecting the structure. This is good news for the Web!

From the Back Cover

This book should be on every web content provider, every web designer's shelf. It is the definitive reference on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), the elegant and efficient way to add and manage elements of style (fonts, color, layout) within web documents. Cascading Style Sheets, second edition, is a clear, readable, informative and thorough look at the World Wide Web Consortium's specification for CSS2, written by the World's leading authorities on CSS.

This book contains: * complete coverage of CSSI and CSS2 * background information and practical examples * information on which browsers support which CSS features

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its vendor-neutral operability. It is an international consortium with over 300 Member organizations.

About the Author

Hkon Wium Lie is a product of the MIT Media Lab's Electronic Publishing Group, who joined the WWW project at CERN Physics Laboratory in Geneva in the early days of the Web. He first proposed the concept of Cascading Style Sheets in 1994 and is now responsible for Style Sheets within W3C. When not working on how to beautify web pages, he paints 'Rothko'-like paintings and collects bits and pieces for his soon to be built, computer controlled pipe organ.  Bert Bos completed his Ph.D in Groningen, The Netherlands, on a prototyping language for graphical user interfaces. He developed browser software and support for humanities scholars and then joined the W3C at INRIA/Sophia-Antipolis in 1995. He started, and for three years led, W3C's work on internationalization, and now coordinates the development of new versions of XML. He continues his work on Style Sheets.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

When the Web was in its infancy, seven years ago or so, I felt greatly relieved at the final removal of all the totally unsolvable problems of fixed format presentation. In the young Web, there were no more pagination faults, no more footnotes, no silly word breaks, no fidgeting the text to gain that extra line that you sorely needed to fit everything on one page. In the window of a Web page on the NeXTStep system, the text was always clean. Better that that: I decided what font it came out in, how big I wanted the letters, what styles I chose for definition lists and where tabs went.

Then we descended into the Dark Ages for several years, because the Web exploded into a community that had not idea that such freedom was possible, but worried about putting on the remote screen exactly what they thought their information should look like. I've read recommendations against using structure markup because you have no control over what comes out the other side. Sad.

You have by now understood that I'm firmly in the camp of those who think that quality of content comes first, and presentation comes later. But of course, I'm not entirely right here: presentation is important. Mathematical formulas are always presented in a two-dimensional layout.

Fortunately, SGML's philosophy allows us to separate structure from presentation, and the Web DTD, HTML, is no exception. Even in the NeXTStep version of 1990, Tim Berneres-Lee provided for style sheets, though at a rudimentary level (we had other things to do then!)

Today, style sheets are becoming a reality again, this time much more elaborate. This is an important milestone for the Web, and we should stop for a minute to reflect on the potential benefits and pitfalls of the technology.

I followed the CSS effort from its inception - mostly over cups of coffee with Hakon at CERN - and I've always had one concern: is it possible to create powerful enough style sheet "language" without introducing the complexity of programming.

The CSS described in this book shows that you can create some quite stunning presentations without programming. While the programmer in me may be a little disappointed, the minimalist in me is comforted. In fact, I'll never need this much freedom and special effects, but then I'm not a graphic artist. Anything that needs more compilation effectively becomes an image, and should be treated as such. I feel therefore that the middle part of the spectrum between pure ASCII text and full images is effectively covered by the power of CSS, without introducing the complexity of programming.

You have here a book on presentation. But it is presentation of information that should also remain structured, so that your content can be effectively used by others, while retaining the specific visual aspects you want to give it. Use CSS with care. It is the long-awaited salt on the Web food: a little is necessary, too much is not good cooking.

The efforts of the authors have finally brought us what we sorely needed: the author's ability to shape the content without affecting the structure. This is good news for the Web!

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