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Customer Review

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 23 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
Anyone who has ever seen Andy present will probably have already bought this book, so this review is for everyone else. The book is inspirational. Just like the stage show. Last year we were treated to some great CSS books for beginners and it was cool to finish the year off with a book for the rest of us. Not to say this book isn't for beginners but it's emphasis is more on getting out of the inevitable comfort zones we settle into as CSS developers rather than covering the basics of syntax and how to make an unordered list go across the page.

Divided into four sections, Andy first talks up his transcendent CSS philosophy with its "content-out" approach, use of a greater range of CSS selectors including CSS3, using JavaScript and the DOM to plug the gaps in CSS and generally not working to the lowest common denominator but adding progressive enhancement for those users of modern browsers. In the section on Process the reader is offered some thoughts on workflow, wireframing and interactive prototyping before putting the principles into practice. True to the book's word, all the examples are best viewed in a modern browser--this is not an exercise in bulletproof design -- that's left for us to do naturally, particularly undoing or not implementing Andy's choice of using JavaScript to clear a float.

The third section was the meat of this food-inspired book on CSS. Note: do not read this when hungry or on a diet, the full-bleed, gorgeous photos of food can overwhelm the weak of will. Dealing with Inspiration Andy looks outside the Web at newspapers and magazines as well as at websites for examples of grid-based designs and how to bring these ideas together in new ways. The reader is introduced to mood boards and scrapbooks and asked to (re)examine Flash as well as seek out typographic inspiration. With Windows Vista now out, I noted that Andy's examples were using the new Vista fonts as a first choice -- and why not? By coincidence I read this chapter on the train journey to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and it certainly made me view the art collection in a completely different light. Hey! I'm supposed to be a developer, not a designer... I guess the chapter and the book must be working then.

The book concludes with Transcendence - a look at the various positioning methods and CSS3. Personally, I can't wait for widespread support for the Backgrounds and Borders Module and watching the presentation of the book at the upcoming Future of Web Design conference.

A bookshelf essential.
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