CSS: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals) Second Edition Edition

147 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596802448
ISBN-10: 0596802447
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Sawyer McFarland is president of Sawyer McFarland Media, Inc., a Web development and training company in Portland, Oregon. He's been building websites since 1995, when he designed an online magazine for communication professionals. He's served as webmaster at the University of California at Berkeley and the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, and oversaw a complete CSS-driven redesign of Macworld.com. David is also a writer, trainer, and teaches in the Portland State University multimedia program. He wrote the bestselling Missing Manual titles on Adobe Dreamweaver, CSS, and JavaScript.

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Product Details

  • Series: Missing Manuals
  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596802447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596802448
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David McFarland is a Portland, Oregon based Web developer who's been designing and building Web sites since 1995. He is the author of CSS: The Missing Manual and Dreamweaver: The Missing Manual. He is also a Macromedia-certified trainer, and a member of the faculty of the multimedia program at Portland State University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Hansen on January 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think the book is great. I don't want to review it in detail here because others have done a great job of this already. It's easy enough for the beginner and detailed enough for the seasoned CSS coder to use it as a reference.

I would like to address the Kindle formatting of the book. It leaves something to be desired. I only mention this because until you get used to the poor formatting, it can be a little difficult to read on the Kindle. Here's an example from the introduction of the Kindle edition itself:

...
you'll learn about the basics of CSS. In
Chapter 1
, you'll get right to work creating a
...

The Kindle edition is FILLED with this kind of formatting. The book is a great buy. Go ahead and get it. Just be aware that the Kindle version isn't well formatted. Not sure if this is Amazon's fault or the publishers. Hopefully one or both of them will fix this. It mars an otherwise excellent book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gary E. Albers on March 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is certainly no shortage of books about CSS. For more than a decade now, HTML, CSS and JavaScript have been the core client-side technologies required of competent website authors. Sure, many people get by using WYSIWYG editors (e.g., Dreamweaver) and/or a CMS (Drupal, Joomla, yui, etc.) to produce websites. But, for true design competence and flexibility, serious professionals need to master these three "languages." Typically, one learns (X)HTML first, followed by CSS and then JavaScript, in that order. At least that has been my path.

Over the last decade or so, as the benefits of the separation of structure and presentation have been accepted by the design community, CSS has become increasingly important. HTML documents that just a few years ago would have been implemented with nested tables and spacer gifs in the HTML markup now have their presentational aspects created in separate CSS files. Almost everybody acknowledges that is a good thing, and I agree. Unfortunately, many very good books on CSS over the last decade (and still on the market) devote a lot of space trying to convince developers WHY CSS styling is preferable to the old-time methods, thus minimizing the pages they can devote to HOW one actually uses CSS. There was clearly a need for that emphasis in the past, but let me suggest that the war has been won and it's time to move on.

This second edition of McFarland's book is, everything considered, the best book I've yet read on CSS, and I've read quite a few. At over 500 pages, it is thorough in its coverage and doesn't waste space rehashing the styling wars that have dominated the literature of the last decade. Explanations of topics are cogent and well illustrated.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lucien den Arend on December 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I bought the book, I knew what I needed to know and what I could expect as far as my knowledge of building websites reached. I'm not an expert, but certainly not a beginner.

I started my first website in 1997 and only started daring to use CSS in 2005 - eight years later. At that time I began to read books by Mulder (yes, one of the first) and later Cederholm, Meyer, Clark, Zeldman and found information on CSS on the internet. I learned some things I needed to know and the more I read, the more I understood what I didn't know. I'm not criticizing these books, but "CSS: The Missing Manual" explains backgrounds, which the other ones lacked - for me that is. I'm still reading it and not from front to back, but back and forth, and learning more than before. There's more about CSS3 in this book also, presented in a way that I understand.

This is not a book for the beginner, who still has to learn about HTML (but then... who's going to buy a book on CSS if he doesn't understand HTML?); but it is also not a book which can only be understood by the experienced.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John M. Lemon on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here's my situation. I'm a professional technical writer who uses a single-sourcing tool called MadCap Flare to write, format, and produce content for printed manuals and online help systems. Flare itself isn't so hard to use. But it relies completely on CSS to format its output. For many years now, I've been using style sheets (in Word and FrameMaker), but I've only had a rudimentary knowledge of CSS. My use of Flare mandated that I get up to speed with CSS, otherwise I'd never be able to control Flare's output to the degree that I needed to.

To start out, I did a couple of web tutorials on CSS. Then I read Hakon Wium Lie's book, which is a terrific reference resource, but not the best "learning" book. Nor does it clearly illustrate the full potential of CSS (which is ironic, since Lie helped define CSS specification). But it did get me moving down the right path and improve my Flare output. Wanting more, I read a couple of other books. But they were geared more toward advanced techniques for users who already understand CSS's capabilities. I needed to step back a bit and find the right book directed at intermediate users. Based on the Amazon reader reviews, I decided to give McFarland's CSS: The Missing Manual a try. And I'm really glad I did.

For beginners, McFarland assumes you know a little bit of HTML, but that's about all. He guides you through CSS and its awesome capabilities with an easy, conversational writing style and clear examples that explain the interaction between CSS and HTML. The book teaches you gradually, and in a very logical order. You are always building on stuff you already learned in earlier chapters. Best of all, he provides tutorials so you can apply your new knowledge right away with practical, real-world examples.
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