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99 Reviews
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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy Both CSS Books
I love the Missing Manual books, especially those by David McFarland. I have his CSS book and just received the new CSS3 book.

After browsing the new CSS3 book, I realized it is almost exactly the same content as the previous CSS book. Since CSS3 is largely undeveloped at this time, there's very little about it in either book. Therefore, buy one of the books...
Published on January 7, 2013 by A. Hearn

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Full of typos, but still really good
Like the title says, it's a great book for starters and also to aggiornate your knowledge on the third iteration of CSS, but it has some minor errors thoughout the text that are sadly too common. Between some pages, like for example, between pages 44 and 53, the errata contains 11 corrections... 11 errors in 10 pages is not the norm, but 1 little mistake every 3 pages...
Published 12 months ago by Edward


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85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy Both CSS Books, January 7, 2013
By 
A. Hearn (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
I love the Missing Manual books, especially those by David McFarland. I have his CSS book and just received the new CSS3 book.

After browsing the new CSS3 book, I realized it is almost exactly the same content as the previous CSS book. Since CSS3 is largely undeveloped at this time, there's very little about it in either book. Therefore, buy one of the books but not both. Either way, the books are outstanding, well written, have great examples and tutorials, and a must for your technical library.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catching up...but not pulling my hair out!!, January 19, 2013
By 
I learned HTML back in the 1990s, and I'm sorry to say I didn't really keep up with it. I was familiar with CSS, but had no idea what the possibilities were! I'm extremely comfortable with typography and page layout, and had always been frustrated trying to mimic print with HTML and tables. It just didn't work, and it never looked like the professional sites I admired.

I bought this as a Kindle version for my iPad because I couldn't wait to get started. The other versions of this book got good reviews, so I decided to take a chance. Although I have an iPad, I've NEVER used it for reading, and the only technical book on Sketchup I'd bought on it was a huge disappointment.

I'm happy to say that this is a GREAT book, and a great way to learn CSS. The instructions are clear, the tutorials really reinforce what the reader is learning. The examples do what they are supposed to, and I have a COMPLETE understanding of the concepts I've covered so far. I went into this with a basic understanding of *old* HTML, and a really limited view of CSS's capabilities and a completely backwards understanding of how to code with it. I had also tried learning CSS from some good tutorials on YouTube, but they weren't comprehensive. I gave in and bought several books. But while I'm waiting for the others to be delivered, I've already learned most of what I need from this book.

I always tend to buy technical books, then skim the pages to find what I need, and never actually read the book. I'm reading this one because I'm comfortable with the Kindle format...I can adjust the fonts larger, change the columns and background. The overall experience of having this in electronic form is great. I can even "highlight" lines, and see what other readers have highlighted as well.

Definitely 5 stars. If you're like me, and let your technical knowledge slip because the new stuff was intimidating, THIS is the book for you. I feel like I can confidently understand and write code with CSS.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book!!! Great Coverage!!!, February 9, 2013
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
This book is both board and deep. Meaning it covers a ton of topics and goes in-depth on all of them. This book is great for the beginner, but also has a lot of advanced material.

After a nice introduction that explains the structure of the book the author starts off Part 1 covering the basics. The book starts with the basics and leads us to advanced topics by the end of the book.

I have listed the 5 parts of the book below with the chapters they contain to give an idea of all the topics covered.

Part 1. CSS Basics
1. HTML for CSS
2. Creating Styles and Style Sheets
3. Selectors: Identifying What to Style
4. Saving Time with Style Inheritance
5. Managing Multiple Styles: The Cascade

Part 2. Applied CSS
6. Formatting Text
7. Margins, Padding, and Borders
8. Adding Graphics to Web Pages
9. Sprucing Up Your Site's Navigation
10. CSS Transforms, Transitions, and Animations
11. Formatting Tables and Forms

Part 3. CSS Page Layout
12. Introducing CSS Layout
13. Building Float-Based Layouts
14. Responsive Web Design
15. Positioning Elements on a Web Page

Part 4. Advanced CSS
16. CSS for the Printed Page
17. Improving Your CSS Habits

Part 5. Appendixes
A. CSS Property Reference
B. CSS Resources

I have found CSS to be very powerful, but a lack of understanding can lead to some messy web sites. I have seen some really tragic HTML/CSS/JavaScript implementations. Reading this book and using it as a reference will help avoid that. The author does a great job of showing how things should be done the right way.

The author did a great job putting together the code samples. Each chapter has two folders. One with the beginning of the solution, and one marked finished for the end result of applying the techniques shown in the chapter.

The author does a great job covering responsive web design. This is something I have seen mangled up a lot. The author covers media queries, flexible grids, and fluid images. He also did a great job in this part of the book leading into responsive web design with chapters on CSS layout and float-based layouts.

The nice flow is actually found throughout the entire book. The chapters are put together in a very logical order which is one of the characteristics that make this book a good cover to cover read.

I also really liked the chapter on providing a print page using CSS. The is nothing more annoying than finding a great article, blog, or a product description that you want to print out that just won't print nicely. I can't tell you how many times I have recreated information on the web in word just to be able to print it. This chapter does a great job of showing you how to avoid aggravating your customers with unprintable pages.

The author's writing style make this an easy cover to cover read, but it is also laid out in such a way that it also makes a great reference.

Overall I found this book to be a great read and highly recommend it to all web developers and also to those Windows 8 Store App developers using HTML/CSS/JavaScript.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leading CSS Book, May 16, 2013
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I own both Missing Manual CSS books, the original one (although 2nd edition) and now this CSS3 book. Yes, there is a lot of repeat here but there is also 100 more pages in the new book, and some of the repeated text has changed a little. The book can be overwhelming if it is your introduction to CSS. If you are new to CSS, you are better off with the Head First series and then work your way to this book. Make no mistake, this book is for more serious web designers and web developers. However, if you are new to the subject and you do pick this book, as long as you are tech savvy you'll still be okay. This isn't rocket science after all, but having someone in your corner who has already paid his dues can really reduce a lot of CSS frustration. I've found in my career that most people I work with (who are software developers doing web projects, but not web designers) simply do not utilize CSS the right way (or even in a smart way). Anyone who gets through this book will likely be the resident CSS expert at your work place, and that's all it takes usually because many developers don't put in the time with CSS. So in the end, is the title misleading like some of the other reviewers noted due to the immaturity of CSS3. You can make that case. But at least the book continues to be updated. Consider it a work in progress giving you the latest information possible at a professional level.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Full of typos, but still really good, January 31, 2014
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
Like the title says, it's a great book for starters and also to aggiornate your knowledge on the third iteration of CSS, but it has some minor errors thoughout the text that are sadly too common. Between some pages, like for example, between pages 44 and 53, the errata contains 11 corrections... 11 errors in 10 pages is not the norm, but 1 little mistake every 3 pages is.
The mistakes are of many kinds, for example, it sometimes says "refer to page 260" and it actually should say "refer to page 265". Or for example it says "only the code in bold changes" and the bolded text is not the one that should be bolded.
If you can cope with these errors, and have the errata at hand, you'll learn a lot with this book. The errata is so comprehensive that I haven't found one error that is not documented there, but I would prefer to have a newer edition without the errors instead of having to rely on the errata all the time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful code presentation style, July 23, 2014
By 
Leao, H. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
I have just received this book today and the first paragraph I read, looking for information about css inheritance, was such a huge disappointment! I cannot see the need of literally narrating how to type the code on the computer. I copied a section of the page where it's trying to show a very simple example:

"1. Open the file inheritance.html in your favorite text editor.
Now add an internal style sheet to this file.

2. Click directly after closing </title> tag. Hit Enter (Return), and then type <style>. Press Enter twice, and type the closing tag -</style>- to indicate the end of the style sheet.
...
3. Click in the empty line between the opening and closing <style> tags and type: p {. Hit enter twice and type the closing brace: }.
...
4. Click between the two braces and type: color: #FF6600;. The completed style should look like this:

p {
color: #FF6600;
}
...
5. Open the page in a web browser to preview your work.
..."

Twenty seconds with book, one paragraph read, and I cannot find the will to keep reading anymore. I hope it will get better as I read more of it, like with all the people that gave it 5 stars, and I will update my review. But now, I wish I had seen it's writing style before I bought it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revised to include HTML5, April 5, 2013
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book builds on version 2.0 (which is also excellent) by incorporating new CSS3 tricks (transforms, animations, transitions). It's an excellent primer. Some HTML background is a must, and this book does a great job introducing CSS to the reader. There are plenty of examples to practice with - each are "real world" - in the sense that you can take what you've learned and apply the knowledge directly to your own web designs.

CSS3 is still in a state of flux, and a few of the comments (animation-delay, for example) aren't working for me, as they are described within the book. Also new to this third edition is responsive web design - which is necessary to develop custom experiences based on the screen size the viewer is using to view your page.

I teach two web design courses. This is the book I recommend for my second web design course. It's imminently useful, easy to read, and filled with many practical examples. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is the One Book Every CSS3 Developer MUST Own, September 10, 2013
By 
Susanne Cardwell (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
CSS3 by David Sawyer McFarland is the one and only book that I would recommend everyone learning either CSS3 or CSS in general must absolutely read. Although McFarland doesn't have the same in-depth approach to CSS3 that authors such as Peter Gasston demonstrate (Gasston's CSS3 book is exclusively about new CSS3 features), McFarland provides a breadth of general CSS instruction (with discussion on CSS3 features) in a conversational tone that none of the other books on CSS3 that I have read offer.

Of particular note, McFarland's book has the best instruction on floating elements and positioning than in any of the other CSS or CSS3 books I have read. After reading his chapter on positioning, I now have a firm understanding of absolute, relative, static, and fixed positioning--as well as knowledge of the underpinnings of the z-index property.

Another delightful element in his book is his provision of a variety of solutions for managing widths for responsive design (which is useful for making sites work on not only desktops, but also mobile devices and ipads) in order to prevent float drop. As the CSS3 box-sizing property is the ultimate fix, but doesn't work in older IE browsers, McFarland provides a fix-all for all browsers of embedding a div within a div, and giving the outer div a width and giving the inner div borders and padding (pp. 438-439, p. 447). He provides another solution still, but the embedded div helps solve my particular need of ensuring that my web designs are compatible with all browsers.

Yet another welcome surprise in McFarland's book is his discussion of responsive design techniques such as setting a max-width on divs and at the same time setting content divs to auto or 100% while removing floats for mobile media queries. He also talks about how to use multicolumn floats in responsive design such that the content comes first (by floating the main content first within a floated div). Additionally, he speaks of making images fluid by making their max-width 100% (or a smaller percentage) of the container while removing height and width attributes from the actual image. Furthermore, he provides tools, such as the Responsinator, for viewing an uploaded site in multiple browsers.

He devotes an entire chapter to making the webpage look beautiful in print using media queries. In the appendix of his book, he discusses some of these features, such as orphan, widow, and page break, and he discusses the browsers that support the various print-focused features. Opera, by far, has the most support for stylizing a Web page for print purposes.

Although CSS3 isn't the emphasis of McFarland's book, he discusses a variety of new features requiring vendor prefixes (which means that the style is repeated with each browser-specific prefix in order to be recognized by the respective browser). For instance, McFarland talks about the following features requiring vendor prefixes: gradients (p. 435), keyframes (for animations) (p. 436), animation (p. 589), transitions (p. 592), transforms (p. 592), and many others. (Animations and most, if not all, of these features don't work in Internet Explorer 8 or earlier.)

McFarland also provides the HTML5 Shim (p. 24) so that Internet Explorer 8 and earlier understand the HTML5 tags. Other CSS3 properties he talks about include the border-radius (p. 300), box-shadow (p. 399), transparency (p. 512), text shadow, and more.

With that said, it might be beneficial for newcomers to CSS (or CSS3, for that matter) to consider delving into a simpler book, such as the HTML5 and CSS3 Visual Quickstart Guide. (Although the aforementioned Quickstart Guide was not reviewed most favorably, it gives a simpler introduction to CSS3 than provided in McFarland's book.) Once a beginner to CSS (or CSS3) has a basic foundation, then McFarland's book is indispensible.

(For interest, I estimate that it took approximately 6 to 10 minutes to read a single page of McFarland's book. Given that, it would take roughly between 60 to 100 hours to read the entire (approximately 600 page) book; in other words, at 3 hours of reading a day, the book can be completed within 20 to 33 days. As a note for beginners, I would recommend reading at bare minimum two books and optimally four or more books on CSS3 to get a sense of mastery of the topic.)

All in all, David Sawyer McFarland's book is the one book I would most recommend owning of all CSS or CSS3 books, especially for those with at least one prior book read on CSS or CSS3. McFarland couldn't have done a better job of creating a leading edge book on CSS in general.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed, May 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
I own a business with an e-commerce website that was designed 5 years ago by a guy that was comfortable with using tables to layout websites instead of CSS. Not knowing any better and needing an affordable solution, we went with it. Fast forward 5 years and the business continues to grow, but the website looks really dated. Time for a makeover.
I purchased this book to guide my rebuild of the e-commerce site. It has provided excellent guidance. I am not a web designer, but I do possess strong logic skills. With a little trial and error combined with persistence, the website is on its way to being updated. The book is clear in its instructions and the tutorials are very helpful in making you walk through the steps in creating the layout with CSS. I would recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I have McFarland's JavaScript manual and like it very much, August 3, 2014
This review is from: CSS3: The Missing Manual (Paperback)
I have McFarland's JavaScript manual and like it very much. Plus I really like the puppy logo for the Missing Manual series. But when I bought this book, I expected to get something I could read in a waiting room and learn CSS. Instead it's an incessant string of instructions to go to a web site for a tutorial. A catalog of URL's is not a manual. It's useless for stand-alone learning, and if I want to refer to Web sites while coding, I'll do what I usually do, switch over to a browser and type in what I need to find out.
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CSS3: The Missing Manual
CSS3: The Missing Manual by David Sawyer McFarland (Paperback - January 6, 2013)
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