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on 12 March 2013
it's a good idea to be clear what a book has achieved if you're reading this review in order to decide wether to buy it or not.
I have to say, i really enjoyed reading (and working through this book) tremendsouly

First of all, this book is written with tremendous flair from the point of view of the authorial voice. Dry it is not. David Sawyer Mcfarland (DSM from now on), is very knowledgable and has a really friendly tone of voice. it doesn't hurt at all that he's quite witty. This is no dummies' guide it's not whacky and not going for laughs, but speaking personally, I love it when a technical book can make its points and make me laugh every now and again.
Although I haven't read any of the previous editions, it's quite clear that this is a book with history, that has gone through several editions, grown, developed and been refined.
The other thing that comes across is that DSM is hugely experienced. This is a good writer who knows of what he speaks. The progression of explaining how to use CSS3 to style your web pages is logical and excellent.

Each chapter discusses a specific CSS topic thoroughly and then in the 2nd half EACH chapter has an excellent quality tutorial.

The tutorials are really very good and extremely well designed. You download the files (from the Missing Manuals web site, they're very easy to find) and you have a before and after folder for each chapter. I can't stress enough how refreshing and welcome it is when an author takes the trouble to create accurate (easy to find download files) that actually work.
In every tutorial (always the second half of the chapter), there is a proper step by step listing with nothing missed of how to achieve what the chapter was about. If the chapter has more than one facet, you have more than one tutorial.

There are plenty of interesting sidebars and boxes (in an non-gimmicky way) and whenever there is any deeper discussion of where you might get more info online, there are some choice links to free websites and articles littered all over the book. Things like color pickers, transform previewers and all sorts of handy online apps that people have built to make working with CSS more of a snap.

A big part of CSS that can be confusing is how do you say economically and unambiguously to CSS 'work on this and only this' and this is done with Selectors. DSM has a great and very easy to understand chapter on selectors, it was surprisingly clear. The other thing which used to always make me go cross eyed when I read about it was the cascade. This book has a wonderful chapter on the cascade (the points system) and it's really the first time I properly understood it.

Everything gets an airing here, text formatting, images, borders, the box model, tables, forms, page layout, floats and the new transitions and animations get a decent chapter. There is even a chapter on the very trendy concept of Responsive Web Design. This chapter could take a whole book all to itself, but it's interesting to have a good introduction into what media queries actually are, having heard the term bandied around a lot recently.

Get this book if you want to get on the first stepping stone of really understanding CSS3 and its many quirks

don't expect this book to turn you into a serious CSS3 pro. For that you'll need some of the more on-point books that are aimed at pros or experts and not just as a general high quality beginner to intermediate book.

Final point: this is half a reference work and half a tutorial. If you're trying to do anything with CSS3 and you turn to this book either the reference or the tutorial, you're more than likely to get answers

If you're reading this DSM, thank you!!
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on 14 February 2015
I already had a some knowledge about html and CSS but this books fills in and explains all those gaps I had. CSS can often behave in a way you least expect and be infuriating when the results you see are not what you thought you would get. The book strips all CSS back to basis and explains everything with clarity. It tackles head-on all the scenarios you frequently encounter with CSS and how to resolve them. I learnt so much from this, for example I now fully understand float problems and how to resolve them, how to make responsive sites, box shadows, browser dependant CSS, positioning, gradients, and so much more. There are tutorials to follow if you want to and the book is written in a straightforward and friendly style. It's quite a heavy book, but it's so good, I bought the kindle version too so I can take it with me when I'm out.
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on 21 February 2013
The best CSS3 book has got better. The book content has been divided into four partss in a coherent manner. The first part deals with the basics, a real eye opening for a beginner, followed by an unparalleled part II that defines the rule on how to apply CSS3 from text formatting, site navigation, form styling to tables and images. Part III includes a complete review of everything CSS2 and CSS3 for a beginner. My best advice to a beginner in web design is to buy this book first then buy and read Beginning CSS3 from Apress. If you really want a plain English language nonsense guide to CSS3, just, buy this book and start reading and applying what have you learned. You will be on your way through a journey of CSS3 mastery. To the author David McFarland, well done and thank you so much for the hard work you had to expend in order, to write this book.
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VINE VOICEon 14 July 2013
I have a good collection of "missing manual" books. But as much as I like the series I let each book stand on its own merit.

I am familiar with David Sawyer McFarland and also have "CSS: The Missing Manual." My most indispensible book however is HTML5: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald.

I am just now diving into this book and trying the examples. But it looks like a very worthwhile acquisition. I am not that fluent in CSS3 but with the help of this book and a little pilfering of code I hope to be.

I suggest that this book is a good addition even if you feel that you know it all as it may explain something in a new light.

I did not have any earlier editions to tell want was improved or corrected.
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on 17 July 2014
Like most developers my bookshelf is creaking under the weight of far too many expensive books that have barely been touched. The exception is this one - or to be precise, an earlier version of this book - which is now tatty and falling apart, hence why I've invested in the latest version and got the kindle version too.

My programming genre (look at me trying to be cool - I'm a developer ffs - the closest I'll get to being cool is winning a contract somewhere cold! Apple's Genius Bar bods should take note!) is databases, but like to dabble occasionally with web development at home. This book is perfect for my needs.
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on 5 November 2014
I was looking for an easy to follow manual, with some practical and useful applications of css3 and this book did that for me. I was pleased with this book as it dealt with browser compatibility and responsive web page design. Also I could delve into different chapters without having to read it from cover to cover. There are files online that can be used with the tutorials. I only came across one elementary error so far. As I was so pleased with this book, I bought the html5missing manual but it's not nearly as good IMO. Have ordered the JavaScript missing manual...... Fingers crossed its as useful as this one is!
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on 12 November 2013
This is the perfect handbook for anyone that needs to learn to use CSS to its full potential. I use it as a reference book, meaning that I haven't read it from cover to cover but I skim through it when I need that particular piece of information, and at least in this way the book is awesome: I find everything I need, easily explained and with detailed examples and explanations.
I can't recommend this book enough.
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on 9 September 2013
It's simply a must have I am always refering to it. if you're serious about CSS and web design you will need this by your side it is truly The Missing Manual.
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on 10 June 2013
Despite not having enough time tow work on my CSS3 skills what I have read of this book has satisfied m that I made the right choice. It has all the required information and is laid out in a clear and concise way. the first chapter or so were a little laboured but I kept going and was glad I did not skip parts as I learned something every few pages.
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on 31 May 2013
Its not often I can lose myself in what is essentially a text book but this book is so well written its like having a conversation with the writer. I have blitzed my way through the first 5 chapters in a night and feel like I have really absorbed the information. One tip, don't skip the tutorial sections they really help things sink in.
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