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on September 17, 2002
To quickly introduce myself: I have been working with the web very nearly since its inception, including recently teaching a course on design using HTML and CSS.
That said, reading this book was of great use to me; I learned things I had never discovered before (some of which, happily, are currently supported by multiple popular browsers), and the guides to browser incompatibility are so useful as to deserve reprinting as a quick cheatsheet to use during the design process. The organization of material is sensible, and while the "hours" aren't really consistent as to how long the material took me to absorb, that should vary by person, so is to be expected.
A word about printing errors: there are a few unfortunate ones in the first printing of this book. Each are thoroughly documented in errata on the website the author has provided as a personal courtesy, as well as the various example files and a few more goodies. (The reviewer that decided that he should stop after encountering a printing error and give the book one star, then say "the book may be worth the money" since he hadn't read much of it...well.)
In conclusion, the author knows the subject thoroughly and communicated it clearly and entertainingly; his obvious concern for how much the reader gets from his book is commendable and is the basis for what an excellent resource the book is. To borrow a cliche, no web designer should be without this one.
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on August 21, 2002
This book is an excellent introduction to Cascading Style Sheets, presented in a style that is approachable and conversational, yet doesn't gloss over the details.
The most valuable part of the book, though, is the no-punches-pulled assessment of how CSS elements are, or are not, supported in the real-world browsers, some of which are badly broken. If the publishers of today's web browsers would read this book and fix their implementations, the web would be a better place! Until then, we have to thank Kynn Bartlett for showing us how to do our best to work around the bugs.
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on February 18, 2003
Do not buy this book if you want to learn anything about Cascading Style Sheets!
It is so full of errors - including screenshots that do not illustrate what they are meant to illustrate - that the instructions are incomprehensible.
In fact, the book doesn't actually lead readers through the creation of style sheets with exercises and projects. Rather, we are expected to download and view stylesheets the author has written.
If you are looking for a good introduction to CSS try 'Eric Meyer on CSS' it is much more expensive but you'll learn what you've set-out to learn.
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on January 21, 2003
TOO many editing errors. Besides the fiasco with the Hour 2 figures being all wrong, and besides the online errata listing of errors that should have been caught, I STILL found many more errors. If you look carefully, you'll see them too.
A lot of the examples that I download have the wrong filenames as part of the first line comment. The filename in the comment does not match the file being viewed. This may be a minor thing, but it leads me to think that this was a rush job by the author.
In Hour 10, I found an HTML file where the wrong CSS linked file was being referenced. Before I figured that out, I thought that the problem was a browser incompatibility (but it wasn't). The HTML file "anthem-10fig04.html" references the CSS file "stars-10fig03.css" but instead it should be referencing CSS file "stars-10fig04.css" This will allow you to have the JPEG image on the link. You can change this yourself in the HTML but how could the author have missed that? Wasn't that tested?
I also found a couple of properties that IE6 doesn't support but wasn't mentioned in the book: [Hour 12 white-space: pre "whitespace-12.4.html"] and [Hour 13 border-style "border-style.html"]. I'm sure it was an oversight. There may be more.
There are some files in the samples that appear to be redundant like "causes2.html" and "causes.html" on Hour 18. There are files that are not being used at all like "k-alt.css" on Hour 18. Oh yeah, Listing 14.2 on page 237 doesn't make sense (compare the last sentence of that page with Listing 14.2 and with the corresponding CSS file you downloaded "lists-14.2.css". They don't match.). There are other things I could mention as well. I think you get the point.
All of this added up makes the book look really bad! I give 2 stars to the editing job done by the author. Don't try to pass this on SAMS editors: Kynn this is your baby. You should have thoroughly looked over the first copy. Nevertheless, I give the content of the book 4 stars though there are parts of the book that I had to re-read a few times to really digest what was being said.
So my recommendation to the CSS newbie is to go ahead and buy this book anyway. You will learn CSS despite of the sloppy editing. I just ordered the book "Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation" by glasshaus which is getting good reviews on Amazon.[com] I cannot find a copy in the bookstores for browsing so I can't yet recommend that book instead of this one. I don't know if that book is intended for someone new to CSS like this book is.
If SAMS got Laura Lemay to write a "Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 21 Days," now THAT would be the book to get!
Good Luck,
George
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on May 28, 2008
I already knew CSS and was looking for something a little more in-depth. To its credit the book starts at an intro level but was thorough enough for me to gain a more critical understanding of certain things.

I didn't like that it made the usual mistake of not really going in-depth about the natural flow of HTML elements before talking about the display property and I'd really like a more thorough explanation of the float property from somebody out there and this book didn't step up to the plate.

I was also somewhat underwhelmed by the graphics provided. They looked kind of dated and lacked the wow factor that you get from modern CSS techniques.

If you're new to CSS but want a reasonably comprehensive walkthrough of all the standard properties, this isn't such a bad buy but I'm still looking for something better than this and I'm glad I got this one from the library.

One pissy bit of review crossfire: of freaking course it's assumed you know HTML. If you don't know HTML, you have no business building websites regardless of what Adobe would like you to believe. Learn HTML. Then learn CSS. Then call yourself a web designer.
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on November 26, 2004
This has completely changed my attitudes towards the '24 Hours' series by Sams Publishing. It is also the first book to really convince me that web applications can be fun to create. For years and years I have been bogged down by repeating HTML time and time again thoughout web projects. CSS now gives me the freedom to put more creative thought into my webpages, as well as make the design nice and simple with out tens of thousands of messy HTML tags. I'm not going to comment on the editing mistakes as I believe that mistakes like that make you look twice and remember the content better. This is one of those books that i just couldn't put down. Great book, great technology and greater webpages forever! Woohoo!
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on April 13, 2007
Before picking up this book, I would've described myself as someone who was:

- not familiar at all with CSS, totally clueless

- a little bit familiar with HTML, but not a hardcore hand-coder.... just someone who uses Dreamweaver to set html files up, and then messes with the code for minor tweaks.

After picking up the book, I would now describe myself as:

- more knowledgeable in CSS and how it can help me create better-looking websites!

- a little bit more knowledgeable with HTML as well, since learning CSS goes hand-in-hand with HTML; it not only forced me to dive into HTML a little deeper, but I dived with enthusiasm. (All the HTML information, I found online)

- someone who felt stupid for not picking up this book sooner!

----------

This book is perfect for beginners (in CSS). Not once did I feel lost. It had just the right amount of detail in the explanation(s), a good amount of examples, and (optional) excersize suggestions to reinforce what you learned at the end of every chapter. Kynn Bartlett's writing style is very good, and very "teacher-like". The chapter's page-count range from 10-20pages at a time, and easily digestable. I personally do 2-3 chapters a day.

The website had all the source files, and came with two bonus chapters (as downloadable PDFs), also with complete text and files provided for your convenience!

I am finishing the last six chapters of the book, and am about to venture into Javascript, PHP, MySQL, etc. I wish he wrote books on those too, since I am now addicted to his writing style and approach to the subject being taught.

------------

I already found myself coding CSS after the first half of the book. Of course from time to time, I need to go back and look at specific chapters for reference. But since the chapters are organized very carefully, I can find what I want quickly!
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on July 26, 2002
First, some disclosure: I used to work for the author.
Nevertheless, being in the teaching business myself, I can enthusiastically report that this is not only the best CSS book I have seen, but a model of writing. It is thorough, explicit, conversational, and funny--a much better read than just about anything else in this part of the bookstore. The author doesn't just give you technical definitions, and he didn't just write the book because he can. Instead, he presents the information in such a way that the book constitutes a 486-page argument for learning and using CSS. If you haven't been exposed to CSS yet, you are in for a treat. CSS cuts development time, enhances results, and provides for flexibility in content presentation. Advanced users note: this is not just another repackaged collection of introductory information. Although I have already made use of CSS I can see that my copy of this book will be well-worn before the year is out.
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on August 23, 2007
Having read TY HTML and CSS in 24 Hours, I have a good grasp on XHTML, and thought I had a decent grasp on CSS, but needed to learn more. I was very pleased with TY HTML and CSS in 24 Hours, so I decided to buy this book since it was another SAMS TY in 24 hours book. I should have read the reviews. The book totally put me to sleep (literally) and I couldn't follow it at all. I was thinking either I am an idiot, or this guy's writing style is horrendous. From what I've read the book is full of some serious errors, fortunately I didn't make it that far.
I have now ordered Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional by Simon Collison, which came highly recommended and looks quite good, and Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook by Dan Cederholm, which looks like it is right up my alley, since I am very concerned with learning things the right way and following standards, and from what I've heard, the book sounds good.
I really wish I had read the reviews on this before wasting money, but hey, at least now I have a really great doorstop!
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VINE VOICEon July 22, 2009
I'm "glad" I checked this out of the library rather than buy it first.

I believe the fact this book is the confusing mess that other folks have commented on in their reviews is because of poor editing and sloppy cut-and-paste jobs.

You'd be better off using the "help" feature of whatever software you are using to learn about CSS than this hot mess.
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