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on June 4, 2011
First off, let me start by saying that this book is not intended for beginners. This book expects you to have experience in HTML and CSS coding at an intermediate level. The main focus of this book is to teach the audience features in CSS3.

When you begin reading this book, you will realize that this book is loaded with sample codes and its output within the chapters of the book. The sample codes are clean and easy to read. To fully benefit from this book it is recommended that you test out the coding yourself to see exactly how it works.

Peter's style of writing is clear, simple, and to the point. He is on track and guides the audience at a nice pace. Despite the fact that this book is very in depth in material and codes, it does tend to get dry in certain areas.

As a bonus, the author includes a section towards the end of the book which lists the current major browsers that supports CSS3 and its features. He also lists online resources to learn more about CSS3 and provides tools to help you in your programming.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book for an experienced web designer.
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on July 26, 2011
Peter is perfectly right with his introduction to the book - "Let me tell you a little about who I think you are: You're a web professional who's been hand-coding HTML and CSS (...)". This sentence, probably, describes most of the home grown HTML developers around the world. If you are working with CSS and you want to know what to expect when it comes to CSS3 this book sound to be quite useful. Peter goes over the features of CSS3 while at the same time presenting them in a structured way. He discuses particular rule, shows examples of the usage, and, at the end of each chapter, summarizes their support within most commonly used web engines: WebKit, Firefox, Opera, and IE. You will find this list again within appendix - this way you can easily check whether particular feature is missing or not within given Web browser.

When it comes to the content, it turned out that I am really a casual user of CSS. There are many rules that I was not aware of. This way, I was able to learn new stuff. On the other hand, I think that material is quite demanding for the reader. As Peter states at the beginning of the book: "The Book of CSS3 helps you leverage the excellent knowledge you have of CSS2.1 in order to make learning CSS3 easier. I won't explain the fundamentals of CSS". This is true indeed. You have to have the knowledge of basics in order to benefit from the book. I suggest getting some other position that will teach you CSS from the scratch before targeting this one. What I can definitely say about the book is it's style. It suits me. Peter simply focuses on the matter itself. However, keep it mind that book is not for a beginners.
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on June 7, 2011
This is a good catalog of the surprisingly powerful features available in CSS3, e.g., a 3D flying logo like TV stations had back in the 1980s. The book is organized by type of feature rather than by project or goal, so it is useful as a survey of what CSS3 can do and then useful as a reference. For a tutorial you'd want something organized by project and example.

I give the book four stars rather than five because there isn't much explanation for when or why you'd want to use particular features. Also, the examples seem contrived rather than lifted from real style sheets.
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on June 17, 2011
This is a professional level book, meant for developers already capable with CSS. Gasston does an effective job of describing all the currently practical and theoretically useful capabilities of CSS 3. He approaches each topic by starting with a high level explanation of the syntax for each CSS 3 property. He then gives a brief but practical code example accompanied by a black and white figure showing the effect of the code snippet.

If there are a number of ways the CSS can be used to create different effects, Gasston goes through each one. For examples, he has numerous examples of what can be done with multiple columns and gradients. He lists which browsers (if any) support the property now and which browsers have promised support in the near future. If browser specific prefixes are needed for properties, he specifies which ones.

The chapters are arranged in an order that takes the reader from parts of CSS 3 that are immediately useful and dependable to things that are still theoretical and not yet implemented. There are two appendices. One collects all the browser support data from each individual chapter and property. The other is an excellent set of links for online resources.

I think this book would be most useful to a developer as a reference. Keep it on a nearby shelf and grab it when you need to check on how to do something or check on what needs a browser prefix or check or the syntax needed to accomplish a particular effect. It's immediately useful, but it will also be there with solid information as some of the not-yet-implemented aspects of CSS 3 come into common use.

I can certainly understand the decision by an author and publisher to keep the cost of a book down by going with only black and white, but this book would have benefited from color. I have a trivial complaint that has nothing to do with the quality of the content of the book. The paper used for the cover has some sort of coating that makes it feel greasy. It doesn't actually make your fingers greasy, of course, but I had the urge to wash my hands every time I touched the book. A disconcerting sensation that was distracting to me.


A Webuquerque community member review by Virginia DeBolt
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on May 22, 2011
I was provided access by O'Reilly Publishing to an electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Peter writes the book as if you already have experience using and understanding basic CSS concepts and HTML, so if you're looking for a book to teach you CSS then you'll want a different guide. If however, you want a book that shows you some of the features of CSS3 you're in the right place. Peter has been writing about CSS3 for over 5 years and and in this book he covers some features of CSS3. Each chapter covers a new feature of CSS3, how to use it in clear and easy to understand code to follow, and which browsers currently support the feature. Some of the features covered include media queries--which is useful in designing websites for both full screen and mobile use; using gradients with color backgrounds; and 3D transformation, such as having an image rotate around an axis. The book is also accompanied by a website for future updates and an appendix with online resources to use, learn, and test CSS3.

I really like how this book is written and laid out. Peter does a good job of explaining in simple, easy to understand language what's going on with the feature being discussed and how to replicate the feature using the code provided in the examples. He walks through it step by step, explaining it in simple easy to understand language--no deciphering of incomprehensible technical speak here. While he can't highlight every feature, Peter has chosen the ones that are likely to be most useful at this time (and are the most developed/accepted), such as media queries for mobile use, the transitions and animations, gradients, etc. The appendixes are also helpful as one covers what features are supported by what browsers (even though this duplicates what's at the end of the chapters it's nice to have it one place) and an appendix on various web tools that help you generate code as well as test it.

Even though not all of the features can be used at the time, its still a useful book and a handy reference to have around. Highly recommend it.
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on December 4, 2012
The Book of CSS3 by Peter Gasston is nothing short of a class act. The book took roughly ten days to read, but provided a wealth of knowledge gain.

I particularly loved how Peter Gasston used a dialogue style, accompanied with code snippets, rather than a step-by-step description of the code. Although I thought a more dialogue-oriented book wouldn't be as transparent or accessible, I found Gasston's writing style sophisticated, highly informative, and engaging. The "class-act" descriptor also comes into play with how Gasston reveals his research sources for the book, including review of browser documentation--and including updated documentation on his own site-- so that you can readily access the most recent developments in CSS3 on your own accord. Very generous!

Furthermore, Gasston's book covers much ground, including media queries (for design on mobile and other screens), new selectors (such as some that resemble very basic regular expressions), Web fonts, text drop shadows, border shadows, rounded border, border graphics, transparency, and 2-D and 3D transformations and animations. Also covered was the very impressive flexible box layout, which makes design so straightforward that any other convention seems to pale in comparison.

I was also very fond of Gasston's incorporation and explanation of the more mathematically oriented concepts such as transformations. He explains these concepts in such a manner that the math is more than accessible to both non-mathematically inclined individuals and highly skilled mathematicians alike. As a mathematician, two very minor, but welcome, difficulties I had with the math were that 1) CSS3 uses the Cartesian coordinate system, but the y-axis is inverted, as if flipped along the x-axis, which makes rotations in a different direction than that expected by the unit circle, and 2) the center of origin of the Cartesian coordinate system on graphics and such sometimes changed and thus the location of the origin in the examples was often a little nebulous for me. To address such common issues, however, Gasston brilliantly supplies a link to a tool that allows you to experiment with the transformations to get a stronger and solid sense of how they work.

Another highlight of the book was how Gasston concludes each chapter with a listing of browsers with indicators of whether or not they support the particular feature discussed and whether they require vendor prefixes (such as -moz- for Firefox). In the appendix, and as stated already, Gasston also fills the book with relevant links to resources for keeping current on browser support.

A useful prequel to this book, for those new to HTML and CSS in general, is the book HTML5 and CSS3 Visual Quickstart Guide by Elizabeth Castro and Bruce Hyslop. I loved the simplicity and the clarity of that book (which was too simplistic for some of the more advanced coders who reviewed the book). With that said, Peter Gasston's The Book of CSS3 was an excellent follow-up to that book--certainly catering to an intermediate to advanced level of Web design. Now that I've finished Gasston's book, I intend to proceed with reading the next two titles I've researched and purchased: 1) Core HTML5 Canvas: Graphics, Animation, and Game Development by David Greary (which assumes you have the type of background in CSS3 that Gasston provides along with moderate Javascript knowledge) and 2) Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3 by Ben Frain (for designing for mobile devices and the like). Gasston's book is not only a superior summary of CSS3 as of the time he wrote the book, but is also a remarkable stepping stone for those wanting to dig deeper into game development and animation on the Web.
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on November 19, 2011
Writing about something that is still only at a draft stage and subject to change is a far more difficult task than writing about something that is an established standard. This book makes it very clear that doing so is not impossible. Even though the book is dealing with something that is in effect a moving target it manages to almost keep up with the changes that occurred before the book was finally published.

This book is also a very practical guide and concentrates mainly on those parts of CSS3 that are actually usable in web pages and goes into great detail as to how to use what the browsers currently implement. It also discusses how that varies from what the current proposal currently says and indicates what changes we should expect to happen in the short term (as a working draft we can't really tell what will happen long term although the more browsers support something now the less likely it should be that it will change).

This book starts with the most usable parts of CSS3 and moves progressively through to some that are only supported by one browser so far and finishing with a chapter on the best of the CSS3 modules that are yet to be implemented at all. This presents the information in the most useful way for anyone who wishes to use any of the CSS3 that is actually usable.
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on February 4, 2012
The ideal audience for this book is a web developer who is familiar with CSS and has designed several websites. In other words, you won't learn how to design a nice layout but you will learn all of the details about CSS 3.

The things I liked about this book are that there are numerous examples in every chapter, with pictures that demonstrate different CSS properties. Of course, what good is a book about CSS without pictures?
Another thing that you will find useful is at the end of every chapter, Peter provides a chart outlining how well the major browsers support a particular feature.

There aren't many bad things about this book. My suggestion is that you do not read it cover to cover, as I believe it would be better used as a reference book. The only other thing that I didn't like about this book is that the examples are in black & white; it would've been nice to see the images in color, especially in the PDF version of this book.

Overall, it's a great book to get to learn how to implement the latest cool features in CSS 3. The numerous examples in the book are very helpful, and it will serve as a great reference book to keep on your desk.
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on July 6, 2012
I've been a web designer and coder for the past 10 years. With all this talk about CSS3, I wanted to learn more about the specifics of it, how it was different from former versions and lots of examples of new things I can do with CSS.

I especially appreciate how it tells you which browser versions that each CSS feature works in.

It's an excellent book for any web coder who already uses CSS and wants to stay up-to-date with the latest coding language.
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on June 14, 2011
This book is your ticket from understanding the long-lived CSS2.1 to the new world full of possibilities with CSS3.

Yes, there are issues understanding which features of CSS3 have been properly recommended and are currently supported by modern browsers. But this is where Peter's extensive knowledge of the past, present and future direction of CSS3 transcribed into this book is so valuable.

His writing style is clear, concise and casual and although the samples are not pulled from real-world apps, their brevity keeps the focus on the feature of discussion. Walking through each example step-by-step, Peter manages to cover the major features while explaining how to implement them successfully in each browser.

After reviewing the past and present, the book ends on Chapter 17 "The Future of CSS". Although most features discussed have limited or no implementations, it's fun to look at new ideas and the chapter acts as a reminder that CSS is ever expanding and becoming more and more powerful.

You may have other display technologies and frameworks of choice, but you would be remiss to ignore the current and future most popular display technology. This book is a great guide to updating your CSS knowledge, ensuring you are not left behind.
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