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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars

on 29 September 2007
I came to this book having a very basic knowledge of website design, html and CSS. I had already designed and uploaded a site using tables for layout with some styling using CSS.
The limitations of table-based layouts and the advantages of CSS are so obvious that I decided that my next site would use CSS for layout as well as styling, so I bought CSS The Missing Manual.
This book has taken me to the next level in a painless and dare I say it.... almost enjoyable way.
Why is the book so good?
First, the obvious enthusiasm of the author is there on every page, explaining, guiding and showing the way all dosed with a generous helping of humour. It has all the things we expect from modern books; good content, well laid out, logical order, lots of web references and a great index but it has much more.
There are clever little extras that help you understand the whole process. For instance there is a great visual explanation of the relationship of the source code and the CSS layout i.e. what floats within what and how to place the important information first in the source code.
The modern use of CSS lists for navigation and CSS drop shadows are explained in a step-by-step way, with all the mystery removed.
The practical use of CSS i.e. how to organise your styles in a logical order and where to put the Internet explorer hacks are covered in detail.
And whilst I appreciate that this is a book review, I must mention that I contacted the author, via email, with a query about one of the layouts in the book. I received a friendly and encouraging response the same day with a full explanation.
And finally, this book contains the best word in the English language, that word is "snafu".
Great word, great book and a great after sales service.
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on 25 July 2007
I thought it was time to brush up and improve my css and try to crack page layout and other problems which I have never understood. Boy am I glad I found this book. I read the first half and although I didn't do the tutorials - as I knew most of it - it filled in so many gaps and made things I thought I understood so much clearer. Going beyond the basics at each page I found myself saying 'oh thats how its done' and so on. Here are some reasons I liked it:
- Good style, not too chatty kept to the point, I hate technical books that waffle on and on.
- Clear explainations, not afraid to get technical, sometimes suggesting the reader may want to skip the techy bits and come back later.
- Very good tutorials.
- Not afraid to refer readers to all sorts of supporting websites.
- Dealt very well with IE issues (and there are loads of them). I highlighted the IE problems - there is a lot of yellow in my copy! But I understand all the hacks now.

The only fault I could find is the section on formatting forms - it would have been useful to have a short section on where to go to find out about how to submit forms - but hey, that's a minor point.

I wish all technical books were written like this - it remined me of the PC Maintenance and Upgrade Bible I bought years ago - what a book - All the other books in the 'Bible' series were a constant let-down, I will be very interested to try some other 'Missing manual' books and see if it can keep up this extremely high standard.
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on 4 November 2006
You will still want to consult Cederholm (Web Standard Solutions and Bulletproof Web Design) and Andrew (The CSS Anthology) but this is simply the best introduction to CSS available. It explains the concepts involved clearly and in a logically structured manner. Cederholm's and Andrew's books are more for dipping into when you have a specific problem. McFarland teaches you CSS from the ground up.

That is not to say that this is a book simply for novices. Although I count myself as a pretty raw recruit it seems to me there is much for anyone interested in CSS in this book.

It certainly pays to have this book by your side when trying to learn from the stylesheets [...]
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on 19 July 2008
I have been a student web designer for a few years never touching the coding side of it because well... it scared me. I ended up realising that if I wanted a job as a web designer I needed to learn at least the basics of XHTML and CSS. I started by taking out 'The visual quickstart guide to HTML, XHTML & CSS' from the library. This was a good basic book that got me to grips with it very quickly. As I had to return it after a week I bought CSS The missing manual based on the reviews here.

I prefer it to the quickstart guide as the author explanations are more in-depth, he explains why certain rules get inherited and others don't. However I am glad I had the quickstart book first as it explained more about HTML than this book does. I think if you are completely new to HTML as well as CSS maybe another book is more suited. If you know the basics( and it can be the very basics) of HTML then this book is perfect for teaching you how to use CSS along side HTML for best results.

The books chapters are spit into theory and practical. You will have to read a few pages of explanation and then put that in practise using downloaded html files from the website. This really suited my style of learning. Having a written explanation before the practical also allows it to became a reference book once you have finished the book.

There is also a chapter near the end for people with Dreamweaver showing you how to add CSS in the design view.

Big thumbs up from me. I am currently turning image based websites into fully functioning CSS sites. The only downside is that I'm more of a geek than I was before.
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on 7 October 2007
Creating websites using html can be very time consuming and somewhat limiting. Making editing changes over multiple pages is downright maddening. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the answer.

CSS enables the webmaster to set standards such as selecting a particular font size and color for all headings, subheadings, or texts without having to rewrite the html each time. This system also allows editing changes that carry over from one page to another to be changed automatically with a single change. For those trying to manage websites with hundreds of pages, CSS is an obvious must have.

CSS can be undertaken in two ways: manually or in association with various website design programs. Webmasters can manually insert CSS into their existing html code. Doing so is pretty simple, especially for those used to writing their own html. Alternately, Dreamweaver 8 comes automatically equipped with CSS and is simply a matter of choosing formatting options.

Webmasters using either option will definitely find this book valuable. This text includes step by step instructions so that the reader can learn by doing. Actually working with the code is probably the best way to understand the capabilities and time saving abilities of CSS. Even those using the automatic CSS systems will benefit from this aspect while troubleshooting or just realizing the extents of what CSS can do.
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on 20 September 2007
This is the third book i have brought to teach me the finer points of CSS. I just wish I had brought it first. The way the book is organised, talking about a little, then a tutorial. Starting with simple stuff and working towards more difficult. I have been building websites and would come across problems and not sure how I would fix it. However having now worked my way through it in just two days I can't wait for my next website.

If you only buy one CSS book - buy this one.
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on 31 December 2007
Great book to learn about CSS starting from zero knowledge, with lots of supporting web links to follow up on to get really into the low level details. Slightly disappointed that it didn't really cover a wider area of application of CSS: mostly mainstream stuff (multi-panel web design etc.). It also is mostly 'pure CSS', but you can't expect everything out of one book: for that you'll need an advanced CSS book or do your own research on the web; this is a great starting point.
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on 23 April 2007
I work in IT and have read dozens and dozens of technical books on various topics over the years. With all that experience this is one of the best written and easily understood technical texts I've read.

I needed to learn CSS quickly and in reasonable depth. This is most definately the book for this. Within a day of finishing this book I was working on my own website and within two weeks I had a great looking, easy to maintain website working in every browser and even in mobile phones!

Can't rate this book highly enough it taught me exactly what I needed fast and with minimal effort. It also has given me an enthusiasm for the subject and a solid foundation to develope on. Top Marks.
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on 21 November 2007
I have read countless coding books, from HTML to JAVA, all of which claim to be the book you need, the one must have. To date none have stood up to that claim. Without exception I have finished the book and looked back wondering just how much I have taken in and learnt - if I'm lucky 20%. That is till now.
CSS - The Missing Manual is, in my opinion, a great book from all aspects. It's enjoyable to read, the tutorials work, the subject is explained in all it's glory, warts an' all, and I'd read it again (sadly just because I enjoyed it so much). It covers so much and actively demonstrates the shortcomings of CSS and browser compatibility - and then gives you the simple fixes to the problems. How refreshing (pardon the pun).
It also gives you a wealth of other excellent reference points (mainly web sites) to build upon the book content further.
Thank you David Sawyer McFarland for this quite brilliant book.
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on 18 January 2008
I'd already designed a couple of simple websites using tables, but knew this was not the way forward and CSS would have to be my next step. I wanted a book that would 'teach' me the basics from start to finish, and I'm pleased to say that this is that book.

I found it a really easy book to read and the tutorials were easy to follow. I was able to apply things I'd learnt in each chapter to the site I was developing at the time, and see it start to take shape, which is extremely satisfying.
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