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CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions (Black & White)
CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions (Black & White)
by Andy Budd
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.48
147 used & new from $0.01

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid introduction to CSS, January 25, 2010
The authors of CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions have put together a book that teaches how CSS works and how to that applies to the modern web browsers in and easy-to-follow format. The book is broken into sections covering various areas of page layout as well as tips on how to work around different browser's implementations of CSS. The book also includes case studies that take readers though designing complete web site layouts as well as a solid foundation in the often-forgotten basics of CSS.

The first chapter covers how CSS works. This includes how cascading affects how rules are interpreted, the !important keyword, as well as some tips on how to organize, compress and style sheets as well as mentioning how Apache's gzip compression can help out. There is a lot of basics here that, yes, might require reading more than once to understand, but are really important to understand how to write good, compact CSS code. The section on selectors is probably also helpful if you find yourself using the jQuery library later- the way it selects markup to operate on is the same.

Chapter two covers the box model, Internet Explorer's unique interpretation of it, positioning, clearing add other bits on how elements are displayed on the page. What readers won't find in this book is any coverage of CSS3 or HTML5- and that's maybe just as well. Today it seems like while pretty much everything that isn't Internet Explorer is supporting these emerging standards in some fashion. However, for now coders using CSS3 are finding they have to repeat almost the same code three times with browser-specific prefix before each CSS3 attribute, plus the proposed "official" syntax and there's the too-familiar grey area between what different browser engines say they support and how they implement them.

After the first two chapters the book looks at how to work with images, lists and forms, providing background information and practical examples on how to create specific effects. Chapter three looks at background images and image replacement, including the four popular methods for replacing search-engine friendly and accessible text with more stylized images. Creating rounded cornered boxes and drop shadows are also demonstrated.

Chapter four and five cover styling lists to create attractive-looking interface elements. Chapter four covers styling links by adding graphics to them and creating navigation bars Chapter five covers lists and creating navigation bars, tabbed interfaces and fancy image maps, much like the ones found at Flickr and Facebook.

Chapter eight is called "Hacks and Filters" and, as the title might suggest, this is on getting around how various browser bugs and oddities- and occasionally using those oddities to make something work for you. Examples include Internet Explorer's proprietary conditional comments or actual parsing errors to import styles. Personally I'm not a big fan of relying on parsing bugs -- bugs, after all, eventually might get fixed -- but if you really need to get something working on, say, Internet Explorer for Mac, it makes sense. On the other hand, some of the bugs might be good to be aware of in case you accidentally run into them. This is a very useful chapter even if you think you know enough CSS; CSS is a standard, how it's been (mis)implemented over the years is a whole other story!

The book is not perfect. As some reviews have mentioned, there are a number of errors in the 1st edition, the Friends of Ed site has a link to corrections. Advanced developers might see a few things missing to; for instance there isn't much on caching (such as Apache's gzip or ETags support) or some utilities both off-line and on-line for compressing files, like Yahoo's CSS compressor that are important for production websites, but then again, maybe these are more a server issue than a CSS issue, as well as the aforementioned lack of CSS3 coverage which is probably for the best until things settle-down a bit more.

Foundation Flash Cartoon Animation
Foundation Flash Cartoon Animation
by Allan Rosson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.68
78 used & new from $0.01

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for animators looking to use Flash, February 7, 2008
This book is probably best for the reader who has some drawing experience, and preferably, a grasp of animation principlals as well as some Flash experience.

It should be noted, there isn't an over-arching animation project created in this book; However, readers could certainly follow along with their own project as the process is fairly linear, from the planning stages, through effectively using Flash's library and a host of useful plug-in for tasks such as timing and motion tweening. There is a fair bit of coverage of Adobe's After Effects, and the book discuses the pros and cons of doing various tasks in either software.

For Flash animators, two chapters stand out in the 300 pages: There is one chapter on how to properly use Flash's tweening tools so as to avoid the overly-precise look common with generated animations. A second is on 2D effects, covering common special effects like smoke, fire and water.

GIMP 2 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software
GIMP 2 for Photographers: Image Editing with Open Source Software
by Klaus Goelker
Edition: Paperback
31 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written series of projects, January 4, 2007
The book provides a set of tutorials for many common photo-editing tasks: scanning, cropping, colour correction, red-eye removal, creating collages (including masking complex shapes), removing dusk and scratches and adding captions. The included CD contains the program, plug-ins and a number of sample images referred to in the book. While a lack of documentation aimed at non-specialists isn't exactly unknown among open source applications, GIMP is one of those applications that should have a wider audience than it does now and this book should help change that.

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