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on 26 July 2015
Whilst this book contains a few little gems, it's already very long in the tooth. Perhaps you might find it useful if you are stuck supporting ancient browsers, but if you work with modern browsers, there isn't much to recommend it.

From the title, you might expect it to concentrate on layout, and although its best section does deal with layout, there is a lot of other more general CSS content ranging from very basic, to antiquated.

All this isn't to say it's badly written or put together – Meyer is undoubtedly an expert and a good writer – it's just that this book suffers like so many technical books from being outdated very quickly. If you are pretty new to CSS there is definitely some good content here and even the legacy hacks are of interest, however it is in bad need of an update and would have been a far better book if it had concentrated exclusively on layout, which is the most complex and volatile part of CSS.
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on 20 March 2017
This isn't a textbook for CSS, it's more a collection of tips and advice. You need a basic understanding of CSS, but this book is useful in explaining how to work with the rather arcane CSS rules to achieve what you want. It barely touches on CSS 3. There are some specific features of CSS3 which make earlier complicated tricks redundant (like box-sizing: border-box), but this book is still relevant to what it covers. If you want to support users with older browsers we are still in a phase where CSS3 support is variable, and needs to be used with caution. Second-hand copies of this book are still available very cheaply and probably worth picking up.
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on 20 December 2011
Eric is like the Tony Hawk of css - coming up with new ways to flip over and whatnot, and that's very impressive, but that makes his book a good book to have in addition to your comprehensive guide to css that you will have to get separately, because while Eric shows you how to do the tricks, he doesn't go into how css works - perhaps he assumes you already know why margins collapse, or how floated elements like to behave - but if you don't, you'll need that other book.
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on 5 January 2012
Item exceedingly and fascinatingly SUPERB to grips !!!!!
Besides advanced introductory levels of CSS, it takes you to the underground levels secrets of it and even justifiably digs out with you the practicals.
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on 21 May 2011
This is an excellent book, bringing together many of the latest tricks in CSS. It's not specifically a 'CSS3 Primer', but contains examples of how to do stuff in CSS2.1 as well as CSS3. Well written and easy to read.
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on 22 October 2013
Very useful already and only had it a day - great on detail and has answered a number of questions I had. Not for the novice, but adequately well explained for the non-expert too.
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on 19 December 2011
Eric Meyer is a propeller head: which is immediately apparent the moment you start flicking through the pages. There's nothing wrong with that and I wouldn't mind being a bit of a propeller head myself. The trouble is it's not much help to ordinary people unless you're on the same wavelength. Which most people are not going to be. He's also been very selfish and inconsiderate. He hasn't actually considered just who is going to read the book, and how they're going to benefit from it. As an example, anybody who's any kind of a web designer or developer is probably going to have some idea of just what Firebug is and just how useful it can be. We don't need to be told about its existence, as that much knowledge will probably already be in our possession. What would be useful is a detailed and understandable description of exactly how Firebug works from somebody who knows it inside-out. He makes no attempt whatsoever of explaining how Firebug works and just fobs us off with the explanation that we can find more useful information about Firebug on the web. Well what did we buy the book for then? If it's too much trouble, why bother mentioning it in the first place.

The book is full of short sharp descriptions of potentially useful information that could surely benefit from Eric just making some kind of effort to explain it in more detail. Instead what we get is - "It's too much trouble, so go figure for yourself." Which personally I don't find particularly helpful. Thanks but no thanks Eric, I think I'll pass. If you can't be bothered then neither can I. We may be plebs as far as you're concerned, but we're the ones who part with our hard-earned to buy your books and we deserve much better consideration.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 February 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Eric Meyer is a true CSS expert; he has worked on CSS at the W3C and currently runs the busy css-discuss discussion list; he is also a good writer with a sense of humour, and it was his O'Reilly book CSS: The Definitive Guide that made sense of CSS for me for the first time ten years back. CSS has changed a lot since then, so I was keen to read this new title.

The problem with CSS is that it can be puzzling and counter-intuitive; there is a lot to get your head around, which makes a book like this really useful if you need to understand it - and if you do web design and layout, you do need to understand it. There is also the tricky issue of cross-browser compatibility, and I like the way Meyer is pragmatic and realistic in his advice.

That said, this title is NOT an introduction to CSS, nor is it a complete guide. The introduction makes it clear:

"This book contains close to 100 tips, techniques, tools, and tricks for making great Web sites using CSS. Each of them is meant to stand on its own: you can flip to any random page and just read what you find there."

In other words, this should not be your first book on CSS unless you are already familiar with it, but is a good second or third book on the subject.

Smashing CSS is in three sections. The first is called Fundamentals and kicks off with a survey of browser-based CSS tools. It really gets going with the second chapter on CSS selectors: a must read.

The second section is called Essentials, and begins with a chapter of tips with good stuff on element visibility and list designs, followed by another must-read chapter on layouts.Chapter 5 is on effects, including the inevitable tip on rounded corners (but better done than most), as well has how to make tabs, float text round curves, and more.

The third section is called Cutting Edge and has a chapter on tables and graphs, followed by one on techniques you can use in the near future, such as alpha transparency and 2D transforms. Actually you can use these techniques now, if you are willing to accept that only recent browsers will be supported.

I am a big Eric Meyer fan and enjoyed the book, though like any collection of tips and techniques, there is no guarantee that it will solve your particular problem. I treated it as a series of expert sessions, and learnt as much from the little asides and comments as from the core content.

It is also worth noting that Meyer is not a designer and his expertise is on the theory and mechanics of CSS rather than making web pages look fantastic. If you need design examples, look elsewhere.

The book is illustrated in colour throughout and printed on high quality semi-glossy paper; I found the pages a bit too shiny, to be honest, but that is nit-picking.
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on 12 March 2013
It's like this book walks through an arbitrary list of CSS foibles rather than trying to teach from scratch.
I am not sure who ( or more likely, 'whose coffee table') this book is really aimed at. It's certainly not a beginners text, since it does not really go into the details. It seems to adopt a chatty approach, but the reader is almost assumed to have come across all the topics discussed already.. so what's the point ?

Additionally I really think some of the stuff he goes on about is frankly redundant or 'head in the sand' thinking. Surely there are better ways to create charts than hacking table layouts in CSS ? Surely no-one cares about trying to mimic transparency effects in 2013 ? In short there is a lot of clever stuff that is simply too esoteric to be worth knowing about before you need to google it, or worse, is simply outdated. I was not really impressed by the example code either.. not much of it and not very well organised.

So, to try to sum it up, there are certainly some interesting 'conversation points' if you are obsessed with CSS and the book 'looks nice' The book offers insight from a seasoned CSS professional into things that are worth knowing about( more so if you are intent on solving the worlds problems using CSS !)

If however the reader wants a practical, hands on CSS book that actually teaches relevant CSS he should look elsewhere. I would recommend "Pro HTML5 and CSS3 Design Patterns ", which contains example code that is well thought out and useful and will likely be a more rewarding reading experience.

Once you get the hang of using firebug, confusing descriptions ( such as are contained in both these books) become irrelevant and the mystery of CSS starts to vanish. I found I was able to see what all the values actually do by tweaking them in the browser.
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book does what it says on the cover. It does have Professional Techniques for modern layouts and if you use them, your web pages will have a modern DIV layout that will work well with all major browsers. The problem is that this is actually only about 10 lines of CSS. The section covering layouts pads this out over a dozen or so pages but there really is only so much that can be said on the subject.

The rest of the book covers various techniques to make your pages look better with tricks and tips. The major tip that everybody wants is rounded corners and here the book fails. The solution offered works with all modern browsers - EXCEPT Internet Explorer. Ok, people might not like to admit it but there are a lot of IE users out there and the challenge for modern CSS design is to make it work with all browsers, mobile ones included.

As other reviewers have rightly said, this is not a how to guide for beginning CSS. It is aimed at the intermediate to advanced level but I would suggest that time be better spent reading on the web rather than this book.

It is well presented and printed however and the examples do work.
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