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195 of 201 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2006
When I heard Andy Budd ([...] [...] writing a CSS book I knew I had to get it. Andy is one of the top UK web designers for past years and anything he has to say you should listen. :)

This book is for anybody who has played around with CSS a little and wondered "what the h*ll can I do with this stuff?". CSS has been around for awhile now, but only recently has the most current browsers been able to support the cool stuff you can do with it. What cool stuff? You need to buy the book to find out, but I'll give you some highlights...

First off, the first chapter explains how to use document types, divs and spans, validation, basics of CSS (selectors, pseudo-classes, child and sibling selectors, attribute selectors, etc), how cascade and specifity works, and how to organize your style sheets. A great primer to the rest of the book.

The 2nd chapter focuses visual formatting with CSS with the Box Model, Positioning and Floating. This is an important topic because creating CSS layouts requires a good understanding of how these topics work (and work together) in creating "real-world layouts.

Chapter 3 talks about using background images and replacement in creating rounded corner effects, drop shadows (4 different kinds), and some cool image replacement for optimizing search engines and screen readers (accessibility).

Chapter 4 has some great examples on styling links to create efficient CSS buttons without the images or the JavaScript for the "roll-over" effect. Yes, CSS can create some cool buttons without you ever having to use Photoshop. :)

Chapter 5 continues with styling links but extends it in showing you how to create button nav bars (horizontal and vertical) and adds a few tricks with using some image placeholders and sections to create some nice looking professional navigation for your website.

Chapter 6 focuses on the right way to use tables: for displaying data (not layout for web sites - no more nested tables). With the use of the very popular border-collapse property and others, Andy shows some very eye-please table layouts.

Chapter 7 in my opinion is the meat-and-potatoes of the book. Its goes over some how to use CSS in creating some standardized layouts. The whole point of CSS is to separate your content and layout and this is the way to go. It is explained in a very easy to follow manner with plenty of screenshots to show you each step.

The rest of the book (Chapter 8 and Chapter 9) review the common and not-so-common CSS hacks that are used to overcome some browser deficiencies. I can't tell you how many website I had to search to find out about these, and its all here in these 2 chapters!.

The last part of the book has 2 Case Studies that show how a website created purely with CSS was created from beginning to end. A great finish to a great book.

Throw out all your other CSS books and just get this one.
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107 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2006
This is quite a useful book, as has been well documented in other reviews. The tips are helpful, the examples are useful, and the typography and layout are easy on the eyes.

However -- and this is a big however -- the book is riddled with technical errors. The errata file, available for download from the publisher as a PDF file, currently runs a whopping 11 pages. While a small handful of errors in a technical book's first edition is inevitable, 11 pages is not a small handful for a book as thin as this. It's really inexcusable that so many errors -- some of them quite obvious -- made it past the editor.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2006
Before you buy this book from all the glowing reviews check this link below, & it will show you all the aggravating typos in this book. (10 total pages of corrections.)

[...]

It makes it very irritating to use.

The book is good if you are ready to stick with it, but before I buy from these authors again, I am waiting for the errata to be a few months old. It kind of feels like a ripoff to get a book that you have to constantly go back & forth to a pdf (painful) to make sure it isn't a typo on your part when css does not work as expected.

I like friends of ed books in general, but we do pay money for these things as customers & should demand more from authors.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
While I don't recommend this book for beginners, it is close to a perfect intermediate text on using CSS well. The book covers the most common tasks a web designer will encounter, and clarifies some of the complexity of CSS. The book also covers cross-browser issues - the most common problem that web developers will encounter.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2006
It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a good technical book. Most of the time they drone on and on about stuff I either already know or more often, stuff I don't know and would take years to know. It's so great when I find a book that matches where I'm at technically and one that really becomes part of my everyday working life. Designing with Web Standards was one, CSS Mastery is now the other.

Andy Budd now lives right next door to Zeldman on my desk. Seriously, CSS Mastery is a great title. It's not beginning CSS, which means you should have some working knoweldge of CSS already before you pick it up. This isn't a book that teaches you to know CSS, it teaches you to master it.

Andy covers the stuff that will supplement your existing knowledge. He doesn't waste time telling you about the difference between a class and an ID, or the value of shorthand. What he does tell you is why some margins collapse in some browsers and not in others, and how to fix the problem. He briefly explains the attribute selector, but goes right into how and when you might want to use it.

The chapter I found the most valuable to me was the section on forms and tables. Being primarily concerned with layout and text, I haven't had to spend a lot of time looking at data, whether it's being input (form) or output (table). Again, Andy doesn't spend too much time talking about the details of creating a form or a table, but he doesn explain how to style each section of data with real-world examples and backup ideas, or alternatives to his style.

I especially love the last two chapters, where Andy let's Cameron Moll and Simon Collison have at it with a couple of design, applying some of the things Andy talks about in the book. It's awesome to get their perspective, and it adds a ton of credibility to what Andy has to say.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a firm grasp of CSS already and wants to take it further. If you're not completely comfortable with CSS, you might want to check out some other resources first. Or... just be aware that you might not get some added explanation to Andy's techniques because he assumes you already know.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
If you are a web developer or designer and haven't read this book yet, you are cheating your employer for the extra time you spend, and you are cheating yourself. Doing web dev without the knowledge of this book is like repairing an automobile with a pair of pliers. It's not the easiest way to get things done.

The mystery of why some divs don't hold their size, why they don't stay in place, how to get divs to wrap, and then more importantly, stop wrapping.

Yes, you'll learn how to make web 2.0 looking tabs, and rounded corner boxes. But you can find that code on the Internet. You get this book so you can understand HOW that stuff works.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2010
I'm totally new to CSS, having only recently learned the meaning of the acronym a month ago by reading Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. Once I finished that great introductory guide I found myself wanting to learn more advanced techniques, and this book delivered.

At 350 ages this book was a relatively concise guide, and I found all 3 authors had a very readable style that included well thought-out examples to help with retention. I will admit that the editing got progressively more sloppy toward the end of the book, especially in the two case studies that were added with the new edition. However, the errors were obvious enough that it didn't impede my learning and I still greatly value this book as an exceptional guide which I know I will frequently rely upon as a reference.

What I appreciated most was the well-rounded approach to providing standards-based programming guidance while also warning the reader of browser-specific bugs you would likely encounter. Although you quickly realize Internet Explorer has done a lot of work to earn their horrific reputation among web developers, I never felt like any of the authors were anti-IE crusaders as they all tried to give credit to the IE team's efforts with each new release to improve compliance to the CSS standard... wow, I sound like I really know what I'm talking about! I suppose that in and of itself is a good recommendation for someone with less than a month of experience!

In all seriousness, this book was a great guide and reference, and it's already helped me to quickly work through a browser-specific bug that I encountered shortly after returning to my web site to use my newfound tricks. Having devoured both the Head First guide and this guide, I now feel my appetite for CSS knowledge has been satiated (and have since moved on to conquer PHP & MySQL). ;-)

5 stars, very highly recommended!!!!!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2006
I worked with this book for about 4 days over the holidays playing with CSS. When it initially arrived, I was suprised that it was only about 1/2" thick. The first two chapters are basically a recap of CSS at the upper /intermediate level.

I really wouldn't recommend this book for someone that wants to learn CSS, but rather, this book should be used for those who are looking for a reference on how to deal with specific browser issues( especially IE ) and CSS.

There are two major issues that I do have with this book. One, the author tosses out bits and pieces of CSS source code, but never includes the source code in its entirety. You can, of course, download the complete source code from the authors site. The problem with this is that if you have the full source, but the book only explains specific elements, you may become lost when viewing the full source.

Second, I belive that the author could have included more detailed information on real world problems when dealing with visual layouts. For example, CSS has nifty features like being able to place a border around a box, something that you have to do with spacers when using tables. However, coming from a table based layout world, you can split a table in half, and in the bottom right column stick in a footer that will "float" with the contents of the left column, something that seems to be a bit of a challenge to do. Yes, maybe I need to go back a step and find another book that details this information, but from the books description, I came to believe that these types of scenarios would be discussed.

Nearly every page of the book deals with CSS and how IE needs a hack to display properly. It almost makes the reader feel over consumed by the fact that CSS is just lovely, but "I" need to keep a complete journal on everything to include to make CSS work with IE. Actually, the author should just come out with a pocket reference book named "The Complete CSS Hacks Pocket Reference" - that nearly sums up what this book is about.

I'll probably stick this book on the shelf, as I know it will come in handy at some point when dealing with specific problems that I may encounter with CSS and those pesky IE issues. Overall, the book should simply be named "How to make IE display CSS properly" rather than CSS Mastery.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Well, maybe I don't know everything there is to know about CSS, but I totally refurbished the look and feel of my web site with the help of this book alone.

In particular, I brought a web site that looked like it was done in the "stone age" of the Internet (you know, the 1990's) into the 21 century with a state-of-the-industry look and feel -- while preserving the brand identity -- with this book alone.

I had never used CSS at all before, and I accomplished this during my "down time" in a week.

If you are new to CSS and want to get up to speed quickly, this is the book for you!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2006
Andy budd and his cohorts have crafted a book that might just be the only practical CSS reference (unlike a CSS property dictionary) available to professional web developers today. The book encompasses what industry experts are already thinking and what novices need to comprehend. The authors are precise with their explanations and a majority of the book is filled with what I will call, "intellectual brevity." In other words, as a senior user interface developer, I appreciate the fact the authors get in, tell me what I need to know, and then get out. This is done in manner that allows for the book to remain a useful resource even after the initial reading.

In a nutshell, CSS Mastery encompasses a majority of the semi-advanced CSS techniques that can be found from online web development publications and blogs. Of course, a major advantage of the book is these concepts are all explained by several people with a collective wealth of CSS experienced and knowledge. The beauty of this book outside of the authors' CSS wisdom is that it brings all of these techniques to the reader in a well organized and digestible format.

A monumental part of the book is stated in the first sentence of the second chapter which reads, "Three of the most important CSS concepts to grasp are floating, positioning, and the box model." I couldn't agree more. After this statement, Andy proceeds to solidify the three concepts through the rest of chapter 2 and the entire book. Now, if you get anything out of this book it should be just how pivotal the first sentence of chapter 2 really is on the road to being a CSS master.

If you're looking for something a little new, the last three examples in chapter five demonstrate some groundbreaking usages of CSS. As well, the book gives some face time to the (not so) soon to be CSS3 specification. "Not so soon," in consideration of how long the CSS2 specification has been completed.

Really about my only critique of the book is in Chapter 6, in which I think more time could have been spent detailing the styling of forms and less about their layout. In addition, I felt like the usage of tables for an HTML form layout should have been addressed.

Other then my small gripes about chapter 6, the book is a must have for any CSS professional!
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