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Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional Paperback – August 23, 2006
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About the Author
In October 2006, Simon Collision started Erskine Design based in Nottingham, U.K. which grew to become an eight-strong team of creative web designers and developers who are afraid of nothing. Some people say they're one of the best agencies out there, and their clients include major magazines, government stuff, software companies and polar explorers.
Moons ago, he was a successful visual artist, and founded an independent arts org and annual arts festival, putting his degree to some use at least. Then he caught the interwebs bug.
As lead web developer at Agenzia from 2002 to 2006, he worked on numerous web projects for major record labels (such as Poptones, Universal) and bands (including The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, Beta Band), visual artists and illustrators (Jon Burgerman, Paddy Hartley, Lucy Orta, NOW Festival), businesses, community, and voluntary sector orgs, passionately ensuring everything was accessible and complied with current web standards.
He does a bit of public speaking here and there, and will generally do anything for a biscuit and cup of tea, but prefers hard cash.
He has lived in many cities, including London and Reykjavik, but has now settled back in his beloved Nottingham, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. He also drives a 31-year-old car, and has a stupid cat called Bearface.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is very well organized, easy to read, easy to digest, and well edited. The progression of chapters is logical, as the book flows from CSS mechanics to layout and design concepts. Topics are covered completely yet succinctly; at just over 400 pages, this is not a typical, bloated computer book. Coverage is complete, however, and nothing seems to be left out. There's a very useful, 15-page CSS reference guide in the appendix, and URL's for many third-party articles and examples are provided throughout the text.
Collison's writing style is relaxed, clear, and appropriately humorous. He even tells you (often -- he's English!) when's a good time to grab a cup of tea. He presents complex topics very clearly, using progressively built-up examples to keep thing clear. Learning CSS from a designer like Collison is so much better than learning it from a programmer, because the designer will teach you why, when and how to apply certain styles, while the programmer will only teach you how; Collison accomplishes the former with aplomb.
The case study in the final chapter is really excellent. Despite the very professional appearance of the sample site, every technique used to create it is indeed covered in the preceding chapters. (If you want to get an idea for how much the book will teach you before you buy it, skim through the last chapter or download the accompanying files from the publisher's website. It's impressive.)
I have only two negative criticisms -- and these are minor. The downloadable files found on the publisher's website are poorly organized, with all the code snippets for the entire book stuck into a single, long text file and with the sample images stored in a separate directory hierarchy from the sample HTML files. Most of the screenshots in the book are shown with browser decorations (title bar, tool bar, etc.), which when added up waste a lot of space that could have been used to include a couple of advanced topics or to decrease the book's cost. But as I said, these are minor criticisms that are far outweighed by the stellar quality of the book -- and the problem with the downloadable files is something that could possibly still be corrected by the author.
In summary, I highly recommend this book, particularly for CSS beginners or novices, but also for CSS-savvy coders who need to re-learn CSS from a design-oriented perspective, as well as for slightly more-advanced designers who need a broad, quick review. I've sampled at least a half dozen CSS books recently, and "Beginning CSS Web Development" is FAR AND AWAY the best.
Coming from a background of using table layouts and a bit of CSS, mostly for fonts, I found that the writing style of the author was very clear. In particular, I like that the author writes a code snippet, explains it, demonstrates it, then as he progresses, repeats the process pulling all the snippets together to render the final / polished results. I only had to refer back to a previous chapter just a few times, when tackling a new topic.
In reality, it took about 4-5 days to complete the book -- that is reading the book in its entirety, something as a programmer, I rarely do, skipping about finding only what applies to me. You will need to read the entire book to get a full understanding of CSS because each section throughout the chapters builds upon each other.
The book does discuss when it is acceptable to use tables in VERY rare situations; mainly when working with tabular data. The only section I had difficulty with was the different types of positioning, static, fixed, absolute and relative. I had to do a re-read several times, with patience, but I got a grasp on it -- a topic that is completely confusing to covey for any author.
I would also recommend that if you decide to purchase this book, go ahead and buy Pro CSS Techniques, as you will need it for more advanced issues, such as dealing with browser quirks, hacks and filters. Buying them together will save you some time. In addition, the Pro CSS Techniques books flows much better with the Beginning CSS Web Development than the CSS Mastery (Advanced Web Standards Solutions) Book.
In conclusion, if you are serious about learning CSS fast, have a little HTML under your belt, and can spare 4-5 days going through the book, you can't go wrong. I highly recommend this book. You can also download the full source from the author's site; in addition, you can download the entire book in electronic format for $10 (limited time) once you purchase the physical book.
On a side note, I did not find any errors in the book -- it was well edited.
Again, highly recommended. Great work Simon!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I appreciate Simon's humor and approach to learning. Ok ~ time for a cuppa tea and then back to it.Read more