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Christopher Schmitt has been working on the Web since 1993. He is the principal of Heatvision.com, 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).
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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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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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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Based in Austin, Texas, Christopher Schmitt is an award-winning designer who has been working with the web since 1993. Christopher interned for Lynda Weinman in the 90's while he was an undergraduate at Florida State University working on a Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on Graphic Design.
He is the lead author of Professional CSS, CSS Cookbook, co-author of HTML5 Cookbook, and many other books. Christopher has also written for Standards Sherpa, Net Magazine, and A List Apart. He organizes conferences for web designers and developers through Environments for Humans. He chairs the CSS Dev Conf, the first CSS conference for web builders, and co-founded the ARTIFACT Conference, the design conference for multi-device web.
When Christopher Schmitt isn't tweeting (@teleject), he codes, dribbbles, and blogs.