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Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition

92 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-2952143417
ISBN-10: 0596005253
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Editorial Reviews Review

Cascading Style Sheets can put a great deal of control and flexibility into the hands of a Web designer--in theory. In reality, however, varying browser support for CSS1 and lack of CSS2 implementation makes CSS a very tricky topic. Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide is a comprehensive text that shows how to take advantage of the benefits of CSS while keeping compatibility issues in mind.

The book is very upfront about the spotty early browser support for CSS1 and the sluggish adoption of CSS2. However, enthusiasm for the technology spills out of the pages, making a strong case for even the most skeptical reader to give CSS a whirl and count on its future. The text covers CSS1 in impressive depth--not only the syntactical conventions but also more general concepts such as specificity and inheritance. Frequent warnings and tips alert the reader to browser-compatibility pitfalls.

Entire chapters are devoted to topics like units and values, visual formatting and positioning, and the usual text, fonts, and colors. This attention to both detail and architecture helps readers build a well-rounded knowledge of CSS and equips readers for a future of real-world debugging. Cascading Style Sheets honestly explains the reasons for avoiding an in-depth discussion of the still immature CSS2, but covers the general changes over CSS1 in a brief chapter near the end of the book.

When successfully implemented, Cascading Style Sheets result in much more elegant HTML that separates form from function. This fine guide delivers on its promise as an indispensable tool for CSS coders. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered:

  • HTML with CSS
  • Selectors and structure
  • Units
  • Text manipulation
  • Colors and backgrounds
  • Boxes and borders
  • Visual formatting principles
  • Positioning
  • CSS2 preview
  • CSS case studies
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although O'Reilly books are not the best place to learn how to use a technology, they are excellent for polishing its finer points. Ethernet and Internet protocols are difficult by nature, but cascading style sheets and MP3s are much more accessible to beginners. All of these books are recommended for university and large public libraries; Cascading Style Sheets and MP3 will also serve well smaller public libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2nd edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005253
  • ISBN-13: 978-2952143417
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,652 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

394 of 432 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
There were lots of great comments on this book on how wonderful it was. Based on those comments, I purchased the book at a local bookstore.
Using Dreamweaver as my design tool, I thought there might be a book where I can learn more about CSS. I already own a couple of good books, but they are light on CSS, and nothing is indexed. I was hoping this book was a 'reference' on every CSS property for CSS1 & CSS2 with a variety of examples. That is exactly what Eric Meyer's book fails to deliver.
For new authors, this book will get you started into the wondeful world of using style sheets - Eric delivers his examples with clear dictation in an editorial style. It's an excellent starting point with good examples and solid explainations on how CSS works.
If you are like me however, an experienced webguy, pass on this book. It does not have a complete list of EVERY CSS property, nor are the examples given robust. The book is written in editorial format, flowing from one topic to the next without really getting into the meat of CSS. It's as if Eric wanted to say something on everything, but in doing so, he limited is ability to offer in-depth explainations of each property and it's power/flexibility.
To sum up, yes, this book is a good tutorial, but NOT a definitive guide. Maybe Eric should of called it the CSS: Definitive Starting Guide To Get You Going. Next time, I'll actually take time to skim through the book at my local computer book store.
N.B. Are all these praises for this book from the author, publisher, or friends of the author to help sell the book? I have my suspicions because a lot of the comments sound 'canned'. Hopefully my review gets published to prove this is not the case.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Violet Weed on December 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book's problem... the publishing house didn't assign an industry expert as content editor but published it 'as received from author' (though maybe they DID spellcheck it). I say that based on the fact that over the past 35 years, I've earned a tidy little sideline sum as a content editor for various publishing houses. (I am also an sgml expert and have built about 6000 webpages in the past decade, most by hand, some using Cold Fusion, so I am also an HTML/CSS/JavaScript/XML, etc. 'expert'.)

This book has too much author me me me me-ing (kinda like my review, heh heh) and not enough clear, concise explanations as to how CSS works and what problems might be encountered in which browsers if you use css to replace tables for page layout.

I recommend a css beginner go to w3schools site. They have a beginner's css course that is quite good, for the basics. Plus they allow you to try out the css in a browser. It's not a full-on course, but it IS a good beginning and it's free. You should know HTML before you take the css course. Also, you can go to lissaexplains for tidbits of css info such as how 'div' works, etc. Then just start building a site for the practice. If you can't think of a website idea (if you are a beginner, that can be a difficult thing... the design of a website), and you have access to 2002 or newer Microsoft applications, just use one of the office programs (Word or Publisher) to generate a couple of basic webpages, then view the template in a browser, and printout the pages. Don't look at the 'view source' of the generated Microsoft webpage as all that baloney microsoft code will freak you out. Then try to duplicate the webpage layout by writing your own html/css code... after you have learned css at w3schools, etc.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Phrawm47 on April 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been working with and around computers since 1980. I have a broad technical background. I like technical books and get most of my information from them. I was prepared to like this book. So why don't I?

The short answer is unacceptably poor technical editing.

First and foremost this book suffers from the disease that afflicts virtually all O'Reilly Definitive Guides: An apparent phobia about providing cross-references to the page or pages contain cited information. It thus becomes your job to wade through the T.O.C. and/or index and find the information referred to.

Second, this book assumes that you're keenly interested (to cite but one example) to know what as-yet-unavailable CSS3 might someday do with regard to "Glyph versus content area." As for me, I found the book's abundance of this too-clever-by-half ("Look at how much *I* know!") esoteric detritus infuriating. Again, one can't blame the book's author for wanting to show off a bit, but one can fully blame the book's editor for allowing him to.

Then there's the book's laughably over-complicated section on Tables. Pages of windy bloviation about how XML doesn't understand tables but but precious little on how to use CSS -- the title of the book, remember? -- to get a table setup the way you might want it to be. Did an editor even look at this section?

In the end this book contains lots of excrutiatingly abstruse background minutiae about XML standards and the like that you might possibly enjoy reading about once you've independently acquired your own understanding of it. In the meantime don't think for a second you're going to be able to use this book to come up with a reasonably straighforward explanation of to how to use CSS to display some content the way you want to -- your time will instead be spent trying to swim your way out of yet another of the book's overly detailed technobabble digressions...
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