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Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation (Tools of the trade) Paperback – 1 May 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: glasshaus (1 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904151043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904151043
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 18.3 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,435,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By David Powers on 17 Jun 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read the whole book once, and several sections a couple of times; and my impression is that - although good - it doesn't really seem to know what its target readership is. At times, it's very academic, going into the history of CSS and HTML development, explaining the theory of document analysis, and drawing comparisons between print and on-screen typography. The theoretical parts are all very interesting and well worth reading, but I found it a bit odd that a 10 chapter book took until chapter 5 before actually getting on to how to write CSS rules.
The chapters on typography (more precisely, text styling) and boxes (the CSS concept of how things are arranged on screen) are very good, and probably worth the price of the book alone. In spite of the academic tone of the opening chapters, the book deliberately roots itself in the real world. It states from the outset that it doesn't intend to cover every rule in CSS, only ones that work in today's browsers. It highlights the problems with N4 - and offers suitable workrounds. It also emphasizes that there's no single answer to design issues - it's a matter of experimentation until you achieve what looks right for you in a variety of browsers.
Because the book is relatively short (280 pages) and the chapters are well laid out, it's easy to find things you want to go back to. Surprisingly, though, there's no quick reference list of the rules covered, so it's impossible to see at a glance the areas the book actually covers. One striking omission is in the section on the shorthand version of font. It says "it first takes values for each of font-style, font-variant, and font-weight", but nowhere in the book could I find a definition of font-variant.
It's a pity that what could have been a very good book has got such flaws. Newcomers to CSS would learn a great deal from it, but may be put off by the approach.
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Format: Paperback
I am a web designer who first read this book 4 years ago. I sat down and in one day read cover to cover. I already sort of undertood css and enough to get by but was wanting to go 'tableless' in my web design.
Since then this book has been regularly referenced. It showsgood practice which will allow you to write code once and not have to keep writing hacks so that it displays the same across different browsers (although that is shown here too).
With more and more customers wanting 'Content Management Systems' - this has become all the more useful. It gives you the fundemental understanding as to how to style a site (and make accessible) while allowing the content to be a seperate issue.
I have recommended this book several times - to other web designers and those starting out. When you read this you WILL understand css, and no matter how good a web designer you think you have been, you will realise you can be better!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marten Gallagher on 4 July 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been using CSS for two years now for my professional work. More recently I have been employing XHTML and have got on fine. However, there were some areas that left me puzzling: box model hacks; image replacement; positioning stuff in table cells; margins at the top of the borwser window; font sizing; the intricacies of inheritance...
One scan through this book and my questions are answered and explained with just the right amount of history and with sufficient technical explanation to go with the straighforward examples of code and the browser results.
This has been the best value book I have bought in a long time. I suspect it would be a little daunting to those new to CSS and XHTML but for those that have cut their teeth, this book takes those with a little knowledge and understanding onto the next plane of web standards design.
If your a professional designer - why is this not already on your bookshelf?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
No Hacks! 1 Jun 2002
By Brett Merkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a solid book for the *serious* beginning or intermediate Web worker who recognizes that CSS is -and will be- a technique essential to their career.
The authors do a great service in emphasizing the role of proper HTML structure. Without that understanding, CSS is merely decoration instead of an integral aspect of Web-building.
The authors make more effort to deal with backwards compatibility issues (meaning the decrepit Netscape 4) than I think necessary. But at no point do they cater to that browser. They completely avoid wasteful hacks such as tables for layout and 1-pixel .gif tricks.
The authors guide the reader in all the best modern practices, avoiding the old hacks, to create structurally logical and human-readable code -- code that looks nice and displays in new ways.
It's been a long time coming but finally the right Web coding practices are coming to the fore, with the help of books such as this.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Good Introduction to CSS 17 Sep 2002
By "snowwyrm" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent introduction to CSS; however, I have a few quibbles with it -- hence, the reason for a loss of one star in my rating of the book. My rationale for calling it "an excellent introduction to CSS" is the following:
1. It covers markup and presentational theories -- thus, affording the beginner a good background for understanding the interplay of (X)HTML and CSS.
2. It adequately explains the box model. The explanation is quite clear; however, my quibble with it is that it is not as detailed as the explanation of the box model in Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide. Such detail can be important even to a beginner.
3. It has a chapter on typography and how typographic principles can be enacted in CSS. This chapter is a real boon to beginners and more advanced users of CSS. Since typographic CSS can be implemented without wrecking a design in every modern browser, knowledge pertaining to how to use it well is important.
4. It offers some troubleshooting techniques. This chapter is not as nearly helpful as the other chapters, but it is good to see such a chapter in a CSS book since the browser manufacturers still have partial and/or buggy implementations of CSS. (Note: the bugs are not all that common.)
5. It provides clear explanations of the CSS properties and selectors that it does cover.
I have covered some of my quibbles, but essentially, they all pertain to not enough detail or coverage of CSS properties and selectors. The book is not aimed at being a complete reference. It is written as a tutorial and, consequently, cannot include the entirety of CSS. I praise it for being a tutorial and limiting the coverage of CSS for beginners. That is why I highly recommend this book for beginners. However, a serious user of CSS will need to also purchase Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide and Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, 2nd Edition to complete her education about CSS and to pick up the details that this book excludes.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely necessary title for your work in the long run 7 Mar 2003
By richardpinneau.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dabblers in web design may skip this book for now. But if you are serious about investing your time and energy in web design and development, particularly if you are still mixing CSS (Style Sheets) and HTML markup unsystematically according to what seems to patch up your site's function (mea culpa), you owe it to yourself to check this out. Even if you just browse the first two chapters standing in a book store (sorry, authors), READ IT!
Ordinarily, I would not have cared much about another 'history of the web' except that theirs (chapter 1) explained WHY and HOW changes from simple HTML to more efficient developments (esp. CSS) can vastly SIMPLY and empower the way your web design proceeds, enhancing: 1) accessibility of your site, 2) speediness of your site, 3) and best of all speed of your development and revision work.
Although I agree that some exposure to CSS (even just from an introductory web design book) will make the going easier when you read this volume, from Briggs et al. you will finally learn the principles of WHY you save time and money by beginning your design with CSS (instead of just HTML/XHTML) and HOW the units of CSS work. It's like getting your first real understanding of how to do (virtually) all your work on a computer - when you had been clunking along trying to hang on to the familiarity of a typewriter for half your tasks.
Finally, I have to express a real appreciation for the thoroughness of the presentations and the humanity of the writing style - no ranting, no hype - just thoughtful analysis of the state of this art/science and how to cope with its quirks and potentials. I enjoyed their tasteful, wry humor, agreeably sprinkled where appropriate - and the big laugh I got when I decided to look at the authors' pictures. (Seriously, guys, why did you let the publishers use mug shots? ;)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Lacks detail in key areas 27 Mar 2003
By J. M. House - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Overall, this is an outstanding text for learning CSS and how to appropriately use it with HTML and XHTML. It is perfect for someone who is already comfortable with basic HTML markup and would like to leverage the various advantages of CSS. The book's only weak point is its coverage of the CSS box model. Arguably one of the more difficult parts of learning CSS, the chapter on the box model makes only passing reference to the float property, which is used very frequently in CSS layouts. Other examples in the box chapter were overly simplified and did not give much more info than I've found online.
The chapters on the basic syntax of CSS are very good and the typography coverage is outstanding.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Good practical information. 18 July 2002
By James E. Bennett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book has a great number of positives.
The chapters on typography and selectors is beyond compare and the discussion on 'flow' within a page works should be required reading for anyone who takes web site development seriously, i.e. this book probably isn't for the Loving_Hands_Web_Site_Studio.com crowd.
The only 'slight' negative I would make is that the first 78 pages are yet another recitation on what browsers 'should' be doing and how terrible that this hasn't happened - yada, yada, yada.
The CSS purist crowd drone on and on about this topic daily, weekly, endlessly when responding to any legitimate question about implementing CSS on their web sites, newsgroups, e-mail lists - enough already. It's beyond tedious.................
I give the book 5 stars with no reservations but I'd like to see a future edition sans the first section - it's not like this information is new or even relevant. Browsers are what they are - deal with it.
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