Top positive review
14 people found this helpful
a very high quality offering if you want is an excellent introduction and decent overview/coverage
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!!