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CSS Cookbook [Paperback]

by Christopher Schmitt, Dan Cederholm
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Technology Books from O'Reilly Media
Brush up on topics from programming to electronics for readers of all levels in the O'Reilly Media bookstore. Browse titles in the animal books, "Missing Manuals," "Head First," series, and more.
There is a newer edition of this item:
CSS Cookbook, 3rd Edition (Animal Guide) CSS Cookbook, 3rd Edition (Animal Guide) 3.4 out of 5 stars (25)
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Book Description

August 2004 0596005768 978-0596005764 1

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a powerful way to enrich the presentation of HTML-based web pages, allowing web authors to give their pages a more sophisticated look and more structure. CSS's compact file size helps web pages load quickly, and by allowing changes made in one place to be applied across the entire document, CSS can save hours of tedious changing and updating.

But to leverage the full power of CSS, web authors first have to sift through CSS theory to find practical solutions that resolve real-world problems. Web authors can waste hours and earn ulcers trying to find answers to those all-too-common dilemmas that crop up with each project. The CSS Cookbook cuts straight through the theory to provide hundreds of useful examples and CSS code recipes that web authors can use immediately to format their web pages.

The time saved by a single one of these recipes will make its cover price money well-spent. But the CSS Cookbook provides more than quick code solutions to pressing problems. The explanation that accompanies each recipe enables readers to customize the formatting for their specific purposes, and shows why the solution works, so you can adapt these techniques to other situations. Recipes range from the basics that every web author needs to code concoctions that will take your web pages to new levels.

Reflecting CSS2, the latest specification, and including topics that range from basic web typography and page layout to techniques for formatting lists, forms, and tables, it is easy to see why the CSS Cookbook is regarded as an excellent companion to Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide and a must-have resource for any web author who has even considered using CSS.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Schmitt has been working on the Web since 1993. He is the principal of, Inc., a new media design firm, and resides in Orlando, Florida. Christopher speaks frequently about web design at conferences including South by Southwest Interactive and Web Design World. His books include "Designing CSS Web Pages" (New Riders), "Professional CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design" (Wrox), and "CSS Cookbook" (O'Reilly).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (August 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596005764
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,927,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Schmitt is the founder of, Inc., an Austin-based new media publishing and design firm.

An award-winning web designer who has been working in the medium for twenty years, Christopher interned for both David Siegel and Lynda Weinman as an undergraduate at Florida State University.

He has a Masters in Communication for Interactive and New Communication Technologies, and is the author of six books, Including CSS Cookbook, which was named Best Web Design Book of 2006.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting CSS solutions, but a little thin September 9, 2004
I think I'd generally agree with the previous positive reviews. You should already be familiar with CSS, JavaScript and HTML - this is not a CSS starter book. It's more geared toward start to finish answers for common CSS questions, most of which I found I could easily adapt to my level of understanding. There is an in-depth description about how to create a very nice looking calendar with CSS (using HTML tables) which I liked a lot. However, for me personally, I will probably stick with O'Reilly's CSS: The Definitive Guide.

I'm sure it was done for monetary reasons, but it would have been nice if the figures were in color - or at least the figures supporting the elements that deal with color. It was tough to distinguish between shades of grey or follow the arrows with the words "blue" or "green" on one end pointing to an area. I know, I know, picky picky. :) So - while I'm being picky... :) The foreward mentions "...compiling hundreds of CSS recipes into this single book" - but by my count, there are only 89 Problem/Solution/Discussion sections (aka recipes). I would like to have seen "hundreds of CSS recipes", which would have provided greater variety to the solutions.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
O'Reilly's other books on CSS tend to be more for reference and learning, but this book, by Christopher Schmitt, contains good, practical advice for putting CSS to use. And as a bonus, this book covers the brand-new CSS 2.1 conventions. Like other "Cookbook" tech books, there are plenty of real-world cases and blocks of code that designers and developers can use or adapt in their own situations. There are plenty of "Hello World" examples that will be useful to those new to CSS, but there is some advanced material, too, for those at intermediate levels looking to spread their wings a bit. This volume bookends quite nicely with the "Eric Meyer on CSS" books.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CSS Recipes only half-baked September 25, 2004
By Alan C
Of the various recipe-style books about CSS that have appeared in recent times, this one is probably the best. It covers a variety of realistic requirements, from "web typography" (large first letters, highlighted first lines, fancy pull quotes etc) to several different kinds of menus and multi-column page layouts. Most of the recipes are short but they are also largely self-contained, making them very quick and easy to use. This format makes me prefer Schmitt's effort to some comparable works, such as Eric Meyer's two colorful volumes, Eric Meyer on CSS and More Eric Meyer on CSS.

That said, however, potential buyers of the book should be warned that it has some glaring omissions. While Explorer-like collapsible menus and tab-style horizontal menus are explained, there is no recipe for drop-down or "fly-out" menus. The chapters on table styling and print stylesheets are rather thin, and the chapter on Hacks and Workarounds makes no mention of Internet Explorer's conditional comments, which, being deliberately-designed browser features, seem like more durable tools than the parsing bugs on which most hacks are based.

These omissions might be understandable if space was at a premium, but at 252 pages, the book is short compared with most other titles from O'Reilly's cookbook series. And one wonders why, if useful things had to be left out, the author could still find room for a Javascript-based technique for producing that most annoying of web phenomena, blinking text.

In the end, I would still recommend the book for people who find that they have to use CSS occasionally, rather than on a daily basis. But the buyer should still be prepared to spend time trawling the web in search of solutions to many problems.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference for All Levels of CSS Developer May 10, 2005
I've recently had the pleasure of reading CSS Cookbook by Christopher Schmitt, published by O'Reilly (the people who put animal pictures on their tech books - seems silly, but now you know exactly who I mean, don't you?). While I do not recommend it as a beginner's guide to CSS, I recommend it for the bookshelf of current CSS developers, or perhaps if you have a basic knowledge of CSS (maybe you use it control fonts and colors, and that's about it) and would like to implement even more of your design with CSS.

The book is meant to be a reference book, but I read it straight through for the purposes of a review. It's one of the thinner reference books you can buy - weighing in at a little over 250 pages - but it is packed; no long-winded opining, no lengthy sidebars, just a raw: problem - solution - explanation - see also format. This format makes it very easy to look up the specific CSS issue you need insight on and get it.

The book is divided into various categories of CSS, beginning with typography and other elements, moving along to links, lists, forms, tables, all the way up to a page layout section (if you've never used CSS to lay out an entire page, this section alone is worth the cost of the book), then addressing print CSS, browser hacks and workarounds, and then finishing with a brief section of raising various design possibilities that CSS makes possible.

Each section begins with beginner-level problems, such as how to justify text. The section then gets into mid-level problems, such as CSS rollovers and various uses of background images.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal solution provider for the not so experienced developer.
A very good book, targeted to the web developer, who knows his bit of CSS, and wants to get his CSS development to a higher level. Read more
Published on January 22, 2007 by Georgios Karakatsanis
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Resource on CSS
I found this book to be helpful in learning some of the basics of CSS. Perhaps, like you, I googled my way around online trying to find solutions to problems that I was... Read more
Published on April 10, 2006 by Stephanie Manley
5.0 out of 5 stars CSS Clearly Explained
I highly recommend this book. I am not a specialist in web design, but did have a certification in HTML/XHTML before reading it, so I had some background. Read more
Published on November 11, 2005 by Kirk H Sowell
3.0 out of 5 stars Just not all that great.
For your money, there's lots better books. Anything by Eric Meyer (in particular the Eric Meyer on CSS books from New Riders) is going to be more helpful. Read more
Published on May 5, 2005 by Raymond Brigleb
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference for what CSS can do
The CSS Cookbook is a nice reference for seeing CSS in action. This book focuses on examples grouped by Typography, Page Elements, Navigation, Lists, Forms, Tables, Page Layouts,... Read more
Published on April 27, 2005 by Dan McKinnon
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure who this book was written for...
After reading the other reviews about this book, I thought that it'd be a handy reference guide to add to my collection. Read more
Published on February 7, 2005 by Annica
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Finally! A CSS book with real-world examples that allows the user to find what they are looking for and put it to work. Read more
Published on January 13, 2005 by H. Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars Find the complete answer and instructions fast
If you do any programming at all you soon learn of the immense value of programming cookbooks. This particular one came at a good time for me as I was trying to figure out how to... Read more
Published on October 31, 2004 by Harold McFarland
4.0 out of 5 stars Cook up a CSStorm with this reference
If you're not familiar with O'Reilly's cookbook series (...), they're books with a basic formula: Problem, Solution, and Discussion sections for every 'recipe. Read more
Published on October 30, 2004 by Meryl K. Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the designer's shelf!
I am becoming a serious fan of the Cookbooks from O'Reilly. They are well-organized, have lots of great tips and recipes, and don't get bogged down in detail, but still give enough... Read more
Published on September 27, 2004 by Scott Valentine
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