Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design Paperback – 29 Jul 2005
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From the Back Cover
Professional CSS Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design
As the preferred technology for Web design, cascading style sheets (CSS) enable Web designers and developers to define consistent styles on multiple pages. Written by leading CSS authors who are also professional programmers and designers, this is the first book to showcase examples of high–profile, real–world Web sites created by world–famous designers using CSS.
Each chapter offers an exploratory look at each designer′s process from start to finish and how he overcame each site′s unique set of challenges. You′ll learn what each designer would have done differently as well as various CSS tips and techniques that were used for each site. This is a resource to which you can turn regularly for more know–how and insights into designing large–scale, professional–level Web sites with CSS.
What you will learn from this book
- The preliminaries you need to iron out before you begin a site in order to avoid problems later
- How to tackle browser–compatibility issues
- Best practices for using XHTML with CSS
- How to successfully integrate Flash content into an XHTML and CSS site
- Using drop shadows, drop–down menus, bounding boxes, and rollovers
- Ways to develop a site that can reliably handle constant streams of up–to–date information
Who this book is for
This book is for designers who understand CSS at an intermediate to advanced level, but who are looking to learn how to effectively develop CSS–enabled designs at a professional level.
Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real–world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.
About the Author
Christopher Schmitt is the principal of Heatvision.com, Inc., a new media publishing and design firm based in Tallahassee, Florida. An award–winning Web designer who has been working with the Web since 1993, he interned for both David Siegel and Lynda Weinman in the mid–1990s while an undergraduate at Florida State University pursuing a Fine Arts degree with emphasis on graphic design. He is the author of The CSS Cookbook (O Reilly, 2004) and Designing CSS Web Pages (New Riders Press, 2002). He is also the co–author (with Micah Laaker) of Photoshop CS in 10 Simple Steps or Less (Wiley, 2004) and contributed four chapters to XML, HTML, & XHTML Magic by Molly Holzschlag (New Riders Press, 2001). Christopher has also written for New Architect magazine, A List Apart, Digital Web, and Web Reference. In 2000, he led a team to victory in the Cool Site in a Day competition, wherein he and five other talented developers built a fully functional, well–designed Web site for a non–profit organization in eight hours. Speaking at conferences such as The Other Dreamweaver Conference and SXSW, he has given talks demonstrating the use and benefits of practical CSS–enabled designs. Also helping to spread the word about Web design, he is the list mom for Babble (www.babblelist.com), a mailing list community devoted to advanced Web design and development topics. On his personal Web site, www.christopherschmitt.com, he shows his true colors and most recent activities. He is 6′7" tall and does not play professional basketball, but he wouldn t mind a good game of chess.
Mark Trammell of Gainesville, Florida, directs the Web presence at the University of Florida.
Ethan Marcotte of Boston co–founded Vertua Studios (vertua.com), a Web design shop focused on creating beautiful, user–focused sites. A steering committee member of the Web Standards Project, he is a leading industry voice on standards–based Web design. Ethan is also the curator of sidesh0w.com, a popular Web log that is equal parts design, coding, and blather.
Dunstan Orchard of Dorset, UK, and San Francisco is Senior UI Engineer at Apple s online store. He is a member of The Web Standards Project, a silent developer for the popular open source blogging platform Wordpress, and an occasional contributor to his own site at http://1976design.com/.
Todd Dominey of Atlanta founded Dominey Design (domineydesign.com), an interactive Web development and design studio that has produced original work for Budweiser, The Washington Post, Google, Winterfresh Gum, and others. He is also a Senior Interactive Designer at Turner Sports Interactive, designing and developing Web destinations for major PGA tournaments (including the PGA Championship and The Ryder Cup).
Top Customer Reviews
Whereas a book such as 'Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook' by Dan Cederholm is great, this book excels because of its examination of standards built sites such as blogger.com and the us pga tour golf site.
There are a large number of examples, and the book is generally well written.
The case studies introduce too much extraneous information and, for me, are unsuccessful; the points they address could have been made more succinctly without them. Building chapters around case studies makes it difficult to find the specific information subsequently - this is exacerbated by completely unhelpful entries in the table of contents (e.g. "A glimpse into a Classless Future (Not a Socialist Manifesto)" [drum roll, cymbal crash], or "Love your body Even More Tomorrow" [ho, ho]).
Instead of going into a second edition, Wrox press should have pulped any stockpiled copies and fired this team of jokers.
I would recommend prospective purchasers to avoid this book like the plague; there are better books which cover CSS more professionally and thoroughly.
It is not possible to give a rating of zero stars, so please do not take my 1* rating as any kind of commendation.
How disappointed I am! The book tries to joke with the reader all the time in a very condescendant way (page 12, "This should-oh, you get the point. Happy yet?". Rather than explaining in an generic fashion what the problem is and what the solution is, the reader is inundated with numerous examples of the same symptomatique issue page after page. Once again, do the authors think that we cannot grasp very basic abstract concepts? Is it a tentative to fill up the requested minimum number of pages set by the editor?
This book is at best a cookbook, at worse a waste of time. It does certainly not provide any insight into CSS and won't help you design your website both for desktop screens and smartphone screens.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. There's a distinct lack of focus. While the content is based on real-world CSS solutions, the authors can't really seem to get in the groove. The first chapter is devoted to "Planning and Development of Your Site". While that is certainly important information, it really is a subject that has been treated better and more thoroughly elsewhere (Goto & Cotler's "Web Redesign 2.0" comes to mind). Later chapters sort of ramble through the subject matter, not really succeeding at being thorough case studies of the sites. (For example, the chapter in ESPN was truly disapointing for its lack of content.) I really got the impression that the authors were trying to "pad" the content so as to make the book seem bigger than it really is.
2. Poor reproduction of graphics. In some cases, it's difficult to see what the authors are trying to represent. Several errors in Chapter 3 ("Blogger: Rollovers and Design Improvements") make the examples very confusing. The book's editing left much to be desired--I found quite a few errors throughout the book.
Given these two shortcomings, there is still valuable information in the book. With better editing, and tighter focus on the subject matter, this would be a good choice for a reference book on applying CSS to real-world projects. As it is, it's not a bad book to have in your collection, though I wouldn't put it on my "must-have" list.
Now you may say: that sounds great for beginners. It's not at all - since the book doesn't really follow any logic, it just introduces random websites (e.g., fastcompany.com) and uses these websites as an example on how to layout with CSS (then again, without really showing how for example fastcompany.com does it in practice). So there's absolutely no learning curriculum that is being followed.
And lastly, here's my favorite quote: A chapter talking about how to design round boxes with CSS is kicked off by "We also touch upon issues these solutions have with Internet Explorer and provide workarounds (if possible) for this troublesome browser." Yeah guys, too bad that 90% of the world IS using IE. I don't like it either, but it's not my choice, so please give me something I and 90% of the world can work with, and not some geek's elaboration on how great Firefox can render CSS. The chapter goes on to dwell for pages and pages about how to do it, only to conclude that the solution basically doesn't work for IE.
Conclusion: I can't really see who should buy this book - not interesting as a tutorial on CSS (since it doesn't follow any logic and introduces topics as it hums along), not interesting as a resource on coding how-tos (since it's way to shallow on real coding content - see three-column layout), not interesting as a study on how real websites are built based on CSS (because in the end it doesn't really disect these websites or the design choices made, they seem to be used only as an alibi to get on certain topics).
1. OReilly - CSS The Definitive Guide by Eric Meyer (great reference)
2. Any good CSS cookbook
And, if you really need a 3rd book after the 2 above... consider this book along with any of the several others out there.
PS: I am not a fan of MS either, but if I'm paying good money for a book, I don't want to be continually reminded by the authors of how poor of a product ms puts out. The poor quality of MS Web technologies is well known.
Content: The Planning and Development of Your Site; Best Practices for XHTML and CSS; Blogger: Rollovers and Design Improvements; The PGA Championship; The University of Florida; ESPN.com: Powerful Layout Changes; FastCompany.com: Building a Flexible Three-Column Layout; Stuff and Nonsense: Strategies for CSS Switching; Bringing It All Together; HTML 4.01 Elements; Rules for HTML-to-XHTML Conversion; CSS 2.1 Properties; Troubleshooting CSS Guide; Index
I've spent the last year or so getting into CSS for some site development I've done. Most of it has been learn as you go, and do whatever works. But a book like this forces me to take a step back and examine the "why" of site development with CSS. Each of the authors are seasoned professionals at web site design, and have worked on some of the largest websites out there. They are well qualified to take an aspect of design (like Blogger's "rounded box corner" look) and go into detail about how it's accomplished. Along the way, you pick up insights as to how high-end designers think about their craft and how you can start using the same techniques.
I find books like this extremely valuable as I'm more mechanical than artistic when it comes to programming. I can do a lot when it comes to building functionality, but I'm extremely weak when it comes to designing aesthetically pleasing visual effects. But I can copy real well. :-) Perusing through these pages give me a number of ideas I can implement right away, and I start to look like I know what I'm doing.
Definitely a book that earns a spot on my shelf at work under close watch and guard against "borrowers"...
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