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CSS: The Definitive Guide [Paperback]

Eric A. Meyer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 14, 2006 0596527330 978-0596527334 Third Edition
CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition, provides you with a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation, along with a thorough review of all aspects of CSS 2.1. Updated to cover Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's vastly improved browser, this new edition includes content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more.

Simply put, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a way to separate a document's structure from its presentation. The benefits of this can be quite profound: CSS allows a much richer document appearance than HTML and also saves time--you can create or change the appearance of an entire document in just one place; and its compact file size makes web pages load quickly.

Author Eric Meyer tackles the subject with passion, exploring in detail each individual CSS property and how it interacts with other properties. You'll not only learn how to avoid common mistakes in interpretation, you also will benefit from the depth and breadth of his experience and his clear and honest style. This is the complete sourcebook on CSS.

The 3rd edition contains:

  • Updates to reflect changes in the latest draft version of CSS 2.1
  • Browser notes updated to reflect changes between IE6 and IE7
  • Advanced selectors supported in IE7 and other major browsers included
  • A new round of technical edits by a fresh set of editors
  • Clarifications and corrected errata, including updated URLs of referenced online resources

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CSS: The Definitive Guide + JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Activate Your Web Pages (Definitive Guides) + HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Visual Presentation for the Web

About the Author

Eric A. Meyer has been working with the Web since late 1993 and is an internationally recognized expert on the subjects of HTML, CSS, and web standards. A widely read author, he is also the founder of Complex Spiral Consulting (, which counts among its clients America Online; Apple Computer, Inc.; Wells Fargo Bank; and Macromedia, which described Eric as "a critical partner in our efforts to transform Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 into a revolutionary tool for CSS-based design."Beginning in early 1994, Eric was the visual designer and campus web coordinator for the Case Western Reserve University web site, where he also authored a widely acclaimed series of three HTML tutorials and was Project Coordinator for the online version of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and the Dictionary of Cleveland Biography, the first encyclopedia of urban history published fully and freely on the Web.Author of Eric Meyer on CSS and More Eric Meyer on CSS (New Riders), Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly), and CSS2.0 Programmer's Reference (Osborne/McGraw-Hill), as well as numerous articles for the O'Reilly Network, Web Techniques, and Web Review, Eric also created the CSS Browser Compatibility Charts and coordinated the authoring and creation of the W3C's official CSS Test Suite. He has lectured to a wide variety of organizations, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, the New York Public Library, Cornell University, and the University of Northern Iowa. Eric has also delivered addresses and technical presentations at numerous conferences, among them An Event Apart (which he cofounded), the IW3C2 WWW series, Web Design World, CMP, SXSW, the User Interface conference series, and The Other Dreamweaver Conference.In his personal time, Eric acts as List Chaperone of the highly active css-discuss mailing list (, which he cofounded with John Allsopp of Western Civilisation and which is now supported by Eric lives in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a much nicer city than you've been led to believe. For nine years, he was the host of "Your Father's Oldsmobile," a Big Band-era radio show heard weekly on WRUW 91.1 FM in Cleveland.You can find more detailed information on Eric's personal web page at

Product Details

  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Third Edition edition (November 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596527330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596527334
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric A. Meyer starting working on the web in late 1993. A past member of the CSS Working Group, he is the author of several acclaimed CSS books as well as many articles on CSS and web standards. More recently, he co-founded the conference series An Event Apart with Jeffrey Zeldman and speaks about web standards all over the world. In recognition of his work, he was inducted into the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in 2006.

A longtime resident of Cleveland, Ohio--which is a much nicer city than you've been led to believe--Eric used to be a weekly radio presence on WRUW 91.1-FM with a show covering the Big Band era. He now spends most of his free time reading, searching out great dishes, and playing with his wife and daughters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CSS in All Its Warts and Glory November 28, 2006

When Eric wrote the first edition of this book way back at the turn of the millenium, he proposed to "explain CSS in all its warts and glory." For CSS enthusiasts at the time, that was an advance -- every other author and Web lecturer fixated on the warts!

Six years have changed a lot. CSS, as a tool of modern Web professionals, has moved way beyond its former role as window-dressing for HTML. HTML (and XML) work in partnership with CSS to produce the most logical and yet most flexible page structure that defines current Web document standards.

The book has just about all you need as both a reference and basic how-to. Eric concentrates on the CSS properties and techniques that have real support among browsers. This increases the practical value of the book. Discussion of CSS selectors has been expanded to reflect the growing support for more powerful (and complex!) selector syntax. Most pages have multiple illustrations to clarify text. The book has updated information related to Firefox and IE7.

One disappointment was the sparse coverage of print media styles. Admittedly, browser support of print styling is itself disappointing but a lot of printing is done from the browser and there are still lots of things we can do, as Eric shows in some of his other writings.

Eric's ongoing experience with key real-life Web issues and design knowledge binds the material together and makes this a superior book.

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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Book on Website Design. November 24, 2007
This book is a reference, and quite an excellent one at that. Definitely complete (as the title implies).

However, you won't really learn how to use CSS to design websites with it.

This book is for people who already have a pretty good handle on website design. I guess a good analogy would be that you can't learn English from the Oxford Dictionary, but the Oxford can certainly benefit you once you already know the language.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Definitive! January 20, 2007
CSS: The Definitive Guide details the ins and outs of the CSS specification. It is filled with numerous easy to follow examples. The illustrations that accompany the examples are invaluable as they allow you to easily compare the markup, the applied style sheets, and the results which greatly enhanced my understanding of the material. The humor included in the examples made me laugh more than once which is a welcome relief when tackling such a complex topic as cascading style sheets.

This edition of the book covers version 2.1 of the CSS specification. The author routinely points out where the specification was unclear as well as how certain browsers violate the spec which really helps point out what style sheet authors need to watch out for when targeting certain browsers. This is information that is not in the specification and could take a lot of time to find out on your own.

If you are wanting to learn all you can about how to enhance the visual presentation of your site, are wanting to learn more about the capabilities of CSS so you can see how to modify the look of sites you visit using reader style sheets, or just want to find out what all of the buzz surround cascading style sheets is about then I'd recommend this book.

I do have to warn you though, the author leaves no corner unturned. He starts out slow with an introduction to cascading style sheets and what they bring to the table. The following chapters then delve head first into topic after topic. You can be sure that you will know the technology through and through by the time you are finished with the book, just be prepared to spend some time working through the material.

The author has done a wonderful job bringing to life a subject that might otherwise be quite dry. The years of experience he shares in chapter after chapter has made me glad that I've added this book to my library.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CSS The ["Most Excellent"] Definitive Guide January 26, 2007
Reader Review: "CSS: The Definitive Guide" by Eric Meyer

CSS: The Definitive Guide Paperback

by Eric A Meyer

I'm a beginner; just learning and using CSS, and need finite assistance, a resource guide, and a mentor during my learning curve.

As a beginner, I've looked through several books, and in my opinion, I believe "CSS: The Definitive Guide" is exactly that, a definitive guide, but I also believe it deserves the words "Most Excellent" in the title. ;-]

When I received the book I was using Dreamweaver CS2, and in the process of converting older files to xhtml and CSS. I was in a problem solving mode concerning background images not showing in Dreamweaver's (wysiwyg), but the background image were showing in browser tests. Holding the book by the spine with my left hand, I separated the pages with my right hand forefinger and thumb, and it just happened to fall open at the book's approximate midsection, page 255, where one of the subheadings stated "Background Images". Wow! I was impressed at this serendipitous, and fortuitous accidental event.

As I read though a few paragraphs, I noted the examples, looked at the Dreamweaver code and made the changes according to the book. Immediately, Dreamweaver reacted and displayed the page as I had expected it to see it.

This book is not a cover to cover read where you curl up by the fire and read all night, it is a well indexed research support manual -- keep it within reach -- you got a problem w/CSS? -- articulate the problem in your mind, then solve the problem using this book's resources -- checking the adequate table of contents and/or index.

I'm presently involved in several computer projects, but this book keeps calling my name... I like it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit dated now, but still a definitive guide
This is till a valuable guide when it comes to CSS. It's one of the best reference books you could have on your shelf for CSS (provided there's not a more current edition... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Craig E. Shea
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, a must have for any programmer
I got this book because of a class I was taking. So glad I did purchase it! So many hints and secrets that I never knew existed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by N. King
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
It was a great and very informative book. I liked it a lot and would recommend it to anyone. Keep up the great work.
Published 5 months ago by Serenity Hutchinson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Book to Buy
Buy this book if you're new to CSS. This will become your 'bible', up to and including 2.1. Be advised, however, that it is excruciatingly technical and thorough. Read more
Published 9 months ago by JALAmazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to CSS
Excellent book. Good explanations, but it would be nice to have a 4th edition with more complete examples. Recommended for those new to CSS, or needing to brush up.
Published 12 months ago by Sedulous
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it
The book was in great condition. It doesn't read well. It is set up like you are reading instructions on how to do brain surgery. It is almost immpossible to understand.
Published 15 months ago by Melissa M. Steele
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Guide
An essential guide for those studying web design. A handy reference for old hats and an quintessential read for newbies.
Published 16 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
This book is very well written and very thorough. I already knew css but thought that I learned it a while ago so I needed a brush up and an update. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for those short of time
Firstly, this book is good if you need to know a lot about established CSS conventions. However, it's pretty tedious just thanks to the nature of CSS, and unless you have a lot of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ryan Davie
5.0 out of 5 stars CSS
Bought this book to get updated on using CSS. In my use of it so far it covers the subject in enough detail but not overwhelming.
Published 18 months ago by pocbills
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