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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 February 2006
There's a plethora of books and Internet resources on the subject of designing websites with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) but whether you are just starting out as a complete novice or have solid, intermediary experience this book offers a very useful grounding in theory and application.
The foundation chapter provides a clear and easy to understand introduction to meaningful markup techniques for CSS "hooks" - divs, spans, ids and classes as well as discussion on DOCTYPEs, browser modes and validation before diving in to CSS selector types, the cascade and specificity. The chapter finishes with discussion on how best to organise your stylesheets - no, don't just lump it all together in a single file ;)
The second chapter is a very useful recap of the visual formatting model (i.e. the box model and absolute / relative / float positioning) and will serve as a great reminder for when your complex layouts start to misbehave - something that all CSS practioners will experience at some point.
The bulk of the book covers styling specific elements of your design and includes layout, image replacement, styling links, lists, forms and tables. People tend not to get too adventurous with styling tables and forms so that chapter is welcome and the advanced treatment of visited and external-website links is also of interest.
The major selling point for me was the two chapters on CSS hacks (filters) and bugs (and bug fixing). There are a number of websites that cover these issues but I lack that particular resource on my bookshelf and call me old-fashioned, but I do like my books to pull stuff together in this manner. Inside these chapters you'll learn about the (in)famous star hack, the !important hack and bugs such as the three-pixel text jog and the "HasLayout" effect to name but a few. Armed with these two chapters I may well spot a problem in the stylesheet before seeing it in a browser and save a few hours of debugging later on - incidentally, the section on debugging will certainly reduce any feeling of headless chicken in that regard.
The book bows out with the obligatory case studies that pull together a couple of websites using the techniques previously explained.
Highly recommended.
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on 9 December 2006
Since I bought that book, it's been on my desk rather than in the book shelf like most others.

It's very accessible, and it covers basics (always good to be reminded) as well as more adanced CSS. I'm very happy with that purchase and use it everytime I code, and take it along with me when working on-site at clients offices.

That book replaced my beloved Zeldman's "Designing with Web Standards" which needed an upgrade.

Same handy format, nice and clear info, answers off-hand for most tricks and a no-nonsense approach from a well-known dude in the web design community.

Thumbs up Brighton!
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on 8 June 2006
I have been dabbling with CSS for about 4 years now, and was a little disappointed that the book seems to focus a lot on tricks/ workarounds for various browsers, rather than semantic XHTML, but to be fair, semantic XHTML has already beed covered by Dan Cederholms' books. I also found some of the "tricks" a little too presentational in nature - e.g. various "rounded corner" tricks which add in extra markup to achieve the effect.

I initially borrowed the book from the library, but the acid test is this: on returning it, I decided I needed my own copy, so bought one from Amazon - so I guess it was more useful than I first thought.

The main reason for my purchase: the sections on "layouts" - liquid layouts etc.
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on 27 May 2006
As the majority of web designers and developers will testify, when it comes to creating CSS-based websites that adhere to current web standards, the Internet is currently a somewhat precarious mine field, littered with numerous technological tripwires and unexploded browser bugs just waiting to blow your careful positioning to smithereens.

Fortunately, due to the sustained efforts of the global web community to identify and document the potential pitfalls of modern day web design, the majority of hazards have been safely overcome. Consequently, the bookmarks or del.icio.us repositories of the average web designer/developer are stuffed full of links to a plethora of CSS hacks, filters and innovative workarounds.

For those users wishing to de-clutter their list of Favourites however, they should look no further than CSS Mastery in which Andy Budd attempts to collect together all of the latest tips, tricks and techniques into one handy volume. From rounded corners to fluid layouts, via drop-shadows, image replacement and accessible forms, Budd covers all of those fiddly little techniques that you know you know but you can't always remember. Cross-browser inaccuracies are also extensively addressed along with numerous ways to circumvent them, and the book concludes with two (brief) case studies by Cameron Moll and Simon Collison, in which the majority of the techniques introduced in the book are brought to life.

The book is not without its own bugs and inconsistencies however, and those expecting a thorough dissection of Cascading Style Sheets may be disappointed by the book's strong emphasis upon current "tips tricks and techniques" and other presentational workarounds. Consequently CSS Mastery is recommended to those who already know what they are doing rather than any newcomers to the field. Earlier editions also suffered badly from a disappointing number of typographical errors and technical inaccuracies, which may bewilder any CSS novices. I am pleased to note however, that the vast majority of these have been corrected in later editions.

Whilst perhaps not an essential purchase for those already familiar with the tips and tricks it presents, and despite being a relative latecomer to a somewhat saturated market of CSS publications, CSS Mastery is a useful resource for anyone who is sick of scouring the Internet for the solution to a particular browser oddity or a fancy presentational enhancement.
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on 21 September 2006
If you've covered the basics of CSS and HTML, but want to know the difference between divs, classes and styles, this is a good book. Covers from start to finish on how to build table-less sites.

One scary point, though: the two example sites that they have built are both broke in IE7, though fine in Firefox. Admittedly, the book was written before the current release of IE7, but they should update their site and issue guidance on where the box is wrong.

I would recommend the book as the best on the market for self-teaching advanced CSS concepts, but there's room for something better.
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on 6 September 2006
This is by far one of the best CSS books I've recently had the pleasure of reading. Written for the bit more savvy web developers, wich means the author does not beat about the bush and gets down and dirty fairly quick. CSS is explained in much more detail, clearing up quite a few cloudy topics, well at least for me. The author realizes that while CSS is a relatively easy technology to learn, it is that much more difficult to master. Especially with so many different browsers, wich is why the book also contains two whole chapters devoted to finding and fixing bugs as they arise. As you might have guessed, most of the bugs and fixes revolve around Internet Explorer, from older versions to Mac versions.

The final two chapters of the book are case studies of two sites hand crafted by high profile web developers Cameron Moll and Simon Collison.
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on 8 November 2006
In my opinion, Budd, Moll and Collison have produced a very valuable reference for any web designer who wishes to go forward from the outdated "tables" method of web page presentation to CSS.

I am a web designer who wishes to design accesible sites to current standards, I have purchased several books on CSS and have searched and searched online for ways of producing a three column CSS layout only to end up totally frustrated by the complexity of it all.

Within an hour of reading this book I had created a fixed width two column layout and (the holy grail) a fixed width three column layout. It was so easy I couldn't believe it.

While some designers who consider themselves "masters of CSS" might find this book of little value, anyone who wishes to convert their old table based layouts to current accessible standards using CSS will find it invaluable.
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on 5 March 2006
This is a really practical book, showing how to design some of the most common layouts and features, sometimes in several ways. As well as being a handy "how to" guide, there are explanations as to why things are done a certain way, without going into unnecessary detail.
I tried out one of the layouts, and I had it working in about 15 minutes, and I understood why it worked too.
I strongly recommend this book to any web designer. It is excellent.
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on 7 September 2006
After purchasing this for our work, I myself was a little disappointed that most of the content of the first 5/6 chapters was stuff that I was already doing. I'm reasonably good with CSS so I was looking for something to make me 'Master'. As it is, it covers a lot of things I've been explaining to junior developers and is a good resource for them and there have been several 'Oooo I didn't know you could do that' moments for me as well. There is also a lot of 'work arounds' which some developers might find offensive.

If you're already into CSS then there are probably better books around, but as a resource for someone who's really getting to grips with CSS and needs 'showing the light' then this is an ideal purchase.
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on 25 February 2006
There are a million books out there to do with web design and thousands to do with CSS and the current movement of standards-based web design techniques but this book, for me, has stood out amongst the others primarily because of its approach to explaining the common problems web designers seem to encounter all the time when using CSS to seperate content from design. Add to that the fact that its laid out clearly and written plainly and you are guaranteed this will be your most dog-eared reference for your next CSS-based web dev project.
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