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Pro CSS Techniques (Expert's Voice) Paperback – November 22, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

"Croft, Lloyd, and Rubin promise real-world cascading style sheet (CSS) techniques for real-world CSS professionals. … The basics of CSS are covered, along with a number of tricks, handy shortcuts, and workarounds. The book offers down-to-earth advice on how to handle browser differences from simple problems. Screen shots and graphics illustrate the main points clearly. … the main target audience for the book is likely to be Web page designers, or programmers implementing a given design." (Annika Hinze, ACM Computing Reviews, September, 2008)

About the Author

Music, design, typography, web standards, South Florida beaches. What could these things possibly have in common? Dan Rubin, that's what er, who. From vocal coaching and performing to graphic design and (almost literally) everything in between, Dan does his best to spread his talent as thin and as far as he possibly can while still leaving time for a good cup of tea and the occasional nap. His passion for all things creative and artistic isn't a solely selfish endeavor either you don't have to hang around too long before you'll find him waxing educational about a cappella jazz and barbershop harmony, interface design, usability, web standards, and which typeface was on the bus ad that just whizzed by at 60mph. Dan has been known to write the occasional entry on his blog, (you might even find a podcast or two if you poke around enough), and his professional work can be found at his agency's site,

Ian Lloyd runs, a site dedicated to promoting web accessibility and providing tools for web developers. His personal site, Blog Standard Stuff, ironically, has nothing to do with standards for blogs (it's a play on words), although there is an occasional standards-related gem to be found there. Ian works full-time for Nationwide Building Society, where he tries his hardest to influence standards-based design ("to varying degrees!"). He is a member of the Web Standards Project, contributing to the Accessibility Task Force. Web standards and accessibility aside, he enjoys writing about his trips abroad and recently took a "year out" from work and all things web (but then ended up writing more in his year off than he ever has). He finds most of his time being taken up by a demanding old lady (relax, it's only his old Volkswagen camper van). Ian wrote his first book for SitePoint, titled Build Your First Web Site the Right Way with HTML and CSS, in which he teaches web standards-based design to the complete beginner.

Jeff Croft is a web and graphic designer focused on web standards-based development living and working Lawrence, Kansas. As the senior designer at World Online, Jeff works on such award-winning standards-based sites as and Jeff also runs a popular blog and personal site at, where he writes about many topics, including modern web and graphic design. In addition to his work with World Online, Jeff has also worked at two major universities in an effort to bring web standards to the education sector, and completed many freelance and contract jobs for varying clients. When he's not hunched over a computer, Jeff enjoys photography, music, film, television, and a good night out on the town.


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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2007 edition (November 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159059732X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590597323
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,875,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nate Klaiber on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pro CSS Techniques by Jeff Croft, Dan Rubin, and Ian Lloyd is a very thorough book on practical CSS. Having just read Simon Collison's Beginning CSS Web Development I found this to be a great continuation of the learning process. This book picks up where Simon's book ended, and even briefly covers some of the same topics. This book is full of great information and author's each had a fun personality (and sense of humor) with their chapters.

The book jumps right in and walks you through specificity and the cascade and how this will help you keep your markup neat and tidy (without any superfluous markup). This topic can cause confusion for many beginning CSS and even those who are advanced. Having a strong understanding of the cascade and specificity will greatly help you write cleaner code and solve any debugging issues that may arise. This chapter was full of examples, charts, and interactive walkthroughs to help you understand the process.

The next few chapters were spent discussing the browsers, managing your CSS files, and many of the hacks used to fix problems. These were similar to some of what was seen in Beginning CSS Web Development - but they require special emphasis. I didn't feel that any of the authors ever advocated using hacks to solve problems. They challenged you as a developer to dig deeper and find workarounds that didn't require hacks. However, when it is necessary - they explain the process of using conditional comments versus mixing any hacks into their own sheet/section of your other files.

Chapter 7 was by far my favorite chapter of the entire book. I have read many other CSS books that show you advanced layouts and techniques, even full of the code and images, but don't fully prepare you for the frustration that may arise.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Warren on February 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most confusing thing about learning a new subject, or figuring out what you need to advance, is figuring out exactly the right tools for the job...

This review couldn't be complete without making the assertion that I look at this book as a sequel to another book that I have reviewed. In general, Pro Css Techniques picks up where another apress title left off. With that in mind, please read on...

First, if you know just a little css, such as changing font colors, this book is not for you. If you are serious about learning CSS, I recommend that you buy "Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional (Paperback)" to get you on the fast track to learning css ... THEN read Pro CS Techniques. Actually, the books are from the same publisher and should have been combined into a single book.

Second, the Pro CSS Techniques book picks up where the fore mentioned "Beginng CSS Web Development" book left off, with a very easy transition for the reader. This book assumes that you know the basics and want to move into the intermediate to advanced phase of learning and applying CSS techniques...and lastly, is not a reference manual.

However, once you complete this book and apply what you know along the way, you will be at the point that all that is needed is a good CSS reference manual (or online documentation) to explore the vast functionality that CSS offers / the point where you start coming up with clever ideas and can "walk the walk and talk the talk aka start stepping into the dark side of the force.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Smith on February 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I received my review copy of Pro CSS Techniques in the mail from Apress last month, and finished reading it last week, but am just now getting around to writing a review. I wish I'd read it sooner, because in the acknowledgments section at the beginning of the book, it was flattering to see my name listed me amongst those who are "sources of inspiration and motivation" (thanks Jeff). This book was authored by Jeff Croft, Ian Lloyd and Dan Rubin.

These guys are all CSS gurus in their own right, respectively working on projects such as: Django, Accessify and Sidebar. I like the approach they take in writing this book, one of pragmatism instead of hand-holding, riding a bike without any training wheels. In the words of the authors:

"This book is a collection of proven, professional, modern techniques that you can use every day to get the most out of the time you put into your projects... This book is not an introduction to CSS. Although we'll provide an overview of the basics, we'll assume you have a simple understanding of CSS and how it works."

Because the devil is in the details when it comes to CSS, this is exactly the type of book that is needed. CSS is like chess, simple in principle yet complex in application. It's like the old adage: "A day to learn, a lifetime to master." I've never met a web developer who has had trouble mastering the concepts behind CSS. Agony is caused by multi-browser implementation of advanced layouts.

Don't get me wrong, I think introductory books are necessary, and in fact one of my favorite ones is Eric Meyer's Definitive Guide to CSS. Not every book needs to be the Encylopedia Britannica of programming languages.
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