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on 4 April 2010
HTML and CSS are not modular languages, unlike Javascript. This book serves up ideas/effects/display methods in tiny chunks, showing both the HTML and the CSS needed the produce them. This is great for learning how CSS properties (such as width, display, font-family...) behave differently according to the type of HTML element you are working with (inline, block, float...). However, when designing and building websites there is an overall theme you try to achieve which will usually involve dozens of these "patterns" laid out in this book.

If you're just starting out with web programming, you will find yourself trying to memorise every pattern as you read them. If you do purchase this title focus more on the CSS rules described in the syntax explanations, rather than attempting to remember all the code!

Also, a main feature of this teaching style is that all the code has been tested to work across all browsers saving you from that horrible trial and error process. This would mean you are learning cross-browser compatible code from the start, and avoiding developing bad habbits. Unfortunately I did find at least one example (creating tab-style navigation bars) that does not work across all browsers and is very buggy.

This book is truely unique, and shows what you can achieve with just HTML and CSS. Some effects, I thought could only be done with image editing software like photoshop! I also think this title was harder to digest than I expected and it will take you a while to get through.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2007
As a developer working on web based projects, I have often found myself spending far too much time trying to achieve a good looking site using CSS only to find that a combination of styles causes the page to suddenly stop working. This book should be by every developer's machine as it provides simple recipes for achieving many of the day today tasks needed to create great looking css based sites. The book has a straight forward problem - solution approach which is engaging as both a cover to cover read and a day to day reference.
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on 8 July 2010
In my own personal journey of become a developer, I've always felt CSS has been my achilles heel from going after Web Developer roles. I'd always been more comfortable server-side and using Java or Groovy.
I've know the basics, things like CSS selectors, am a whiz with DOM manipulation and using Ajax libraries, but every time I tried to achieve something outside the comfort of YUI or Dojo, rolling my own CSS had been a frustrating and arduous process of trial and error and time spent Googling trawling through results that invariably didn't work.
I'd find I'd be copying and pasting examples without really understanding why things sometimes worked with certain HTML elements and then didn't with others.
Yes I was aware of the basics of inline vs block components, but Michael opened my eyes to the fact that there are more granular classifications of elements and consequently why certain attributes weren't capable of being styled across the board because these classifications.
The book is comprised of 20 chapters.
Chapter 1 distills a lot of information down into a superb and handy reference.
Chapters 2-20 are a series of patterns that build on each other and are cross-referenced.
For me I think Chapter 17 was the high point of the book when the author discussed various layouts (including Fluid) and the final example in this chapter ties everything together.
The layout of the book essentially follows a screenshot, following by the HTML & CSS code on the left page. On the facing page, the problem & solution is described.
It is a bit tough going around pages 100-200, but my advice is to concentrate on the Pattern, visual screenshot and the HTML/CSS and the Example section when present when the author discusses the solution in more depth for the meatier problems.

Knowing how to combine the CSS elements that form the pattern (or building blocks) you'll be set to tackle rolling your own code.

In addition to this, there is also sage advice on search engine optimisation, performance related issues, semantic markup and accessibility issues scattered throughout the book.

There are various routes people take when coding web pages for multiple browsers, hacks, coding to standards, graceful degradation, progressive enhancements. Thankfully you'll find no hacks in here. As the author indicates, hacks are prone to stop working once a browser fixes the issues.
If doesn't just follow the standards are the only way to go route, and what the heck if some poor sucker is still using IE6, then tough luck. Instead the book shows patterns that work in all the browsers including (yuck IE6).

At the time the book was written it concentrated on IE6/IE7/Safari2/Firefox 2. Things have moved on a bit since then. But for the better, Wiki has a good comparison of the capabilities and adherence of browsers to standards.

If there are issues with browsers, the author describes why he takes certain approaches to cover all the bases.. He discusses the merits and limitations of solutions and above all else the patterns which show how to combine a staggering number of permutations of CSS rules to achieve a given goal. (350+ patterns according to back cover).

I guess my only gripes with the book were:
* the rounded corners example. I couldn't understand why there was a need for three graphics and I got lost in the figure 14-7 on P312. I couldn't understand why the square with the rounded corners couldn't be placed in each corner.
* the use of cssQuery over the likes of jQuery for some of the dynamic design patterns. This book was published in 2007, and I've seen references to jQuery from that timeframe.. jQuery is faster than cssQuery enabling CSS selector DOM manipulation too. Is cssQuery even being maintained any more?
* P208 & 292 Text Replacement/Replaced Text were one and the same pattern. I sort of get the reason for this, because one was in a chapter on images, the other was on text. But even so... Why repeat, just cross reference.

Overall this does not detract from what is a quality must have book for any web developer. The best I've seen on CSS (and I've got around 8 to 10 books on the subject). Once you know the basics, clear the shelves and replace it with this one. You won't be sorry you made the purchase.

If you want to have a sneak peak at the code and examples in action too, try Googling on cssdesignpatterns
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on 6 May 2009
After your learn the basics of CSS, this is the book that will show you how it REALLY works, and more importantly what REALLY works. A must buy.
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on 3 May 2011
First things first, this isn't really a book for a CSS novice. I guess that is where the "pro" in the title comes from. However, if you know your CSS basics then you will reap many benefits. For instance, if you have ever used CSS for a page, only to have it break in another browser, and spend hours (or days) fixing it, only to find that it now breaks in the original browser, then you have reached the level where this book will benefit you.

It isn't a very stylish book. Instead, this book concentrates entirely on the practicalities. Examples are of the bare boned, minimal variety, designed to show off a particular technique, without any bells and whistles. It works well, and you will soon find a workable solution to your problem. I say workable solution, as opposed to correct solution, because, often, what you have already is the correct solution, in well behaved browsers. This book will show you the methods that work in pretty much all browsers.

There is an HTML5 / CSS3 version out in September. If you are stuck now though, I wouldn't wait. This book will save you many hours of frustration.
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on 21 April 2013
I have learned some very useful stuff from this book. However, this is the first IT Text Book I have dowloaded for a Kindle and this one has a few problems. There are secions of each chapter that are in avery small font and you cannot make it any bigger. With my eyesight that is a real pain. So you might want to go for a real paper version.
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on 13 January 2008
Where is nothing new about CSS. There are loads of books that cover CSS startinbg from a syntax viewpoint. This works from a design patter viewpoint to solve problems.
It decomposes what you find of typical websites (eg tabbed content) then clean maintainable CSS to acheive the design goals. It very clearly shows you what and why there are different variations and so where they would be used.

It is time for clearing your shelves of the other CSS books you may have and replacing them with just the one - I have a job to do, whats the quickest way to get to the end game without rework!
This books is suitable for those getting into DHTML/AJAX.
Not the best book for artists perhaps.
Perfect for a design agency where ontime/onbudget issues matter. The design patterns are about repeatablity, maintainablity and best practice - what works consistently.

Deals well with CSS inheritance (base/master style then modifiers), good for maintianing a brand well across a site of many sections(eg articles/forums/products/blogs/profiles/search refinements) then switching them for vision/print/mobile device accessiblity.
Now all it needs if it to have a good section on VS200x Themes&Skins, eg we start with a theme(plan) and acheive it CSS. This book assumes you are marking up HTML versa "<asp:DataList" but a good start.
Guess you have to throw away books sometimes :(
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