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Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation Paperback – May, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Suitable for Web designers and developers alike, Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation provides an extremely approachable guide to some of the latest thinking on cascading style sheets for separating out content from presentation. Filled with useful advice on coping with the real difficulties of using CSS in the real world, this book fills a valuable niche with its compact format and savvy advice from the field.

The practical perspective on today's CSS and XHTML standards, as well as an excellent eye for Web design, helps to distinguish this text. After a tour of the evolution of today's Web standards, from HTML to XHTML to CSS used to format underlying content, the authors provide plenty of actual pages using style sheets. They work slowly to build a basic set of terms and techniques with style sheets. There's good coverage of all the options here, like inline and external CSS and most everything in between.

We liked the book's coverage of font and type from a design perspective, before digging in to using CSS to format text. (This approach helps show what you should aim for when you present Web pages built with CSS.) Extensive samples of a variety of Web page styles using multicolumn formats will get you started on your own Web pages, regardless of your site's requirements.

The book closes with several standout sections on coping with the admitted difficulties of getting CSS to work correctly on all of today's major browsers (including Netscape and Internet Explorer). The authors provide specific suggestions for overcoming known incompatibilities, as well as suggesting general techniques for troubleshooting and testing your site across different browsers. Final samples show off CSS and XHTML used for three case studies: a photo gallery, a personal log, and an online store.

With its practical suggestions for using CSS in real projects and a generally approachable style, this book offers a truly winning combination. It's perfect for anyone who wants to get a better knowledge of CSS used to build Web pages that will look good across a range of today's browsers. --Richard Dragan

From the Publisher

This book is for web professionals with some experience of HTML who want to harness the power of CSS. The authors, well-known on web design and development lists, will guide you towards a full awareness of what CSS has to offer.
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Product Details

  • Series: Tools of the Trade (Glasshaus)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Peer Information (May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904151043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904151043
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,713,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a solid book for the *serious* beginning or intermediate Web worker who recognizes that CSS is -and will be- a technique essential to their career.
The authors do a great service in emphasizing the role of proper HTML structure. Without that understanding, CSS is merely decoration instead of an integral aspect of Web-building.
The authors make more effort to deal with backwards compatibility issues (meaning the decrepit Netscape 4) than I think necessary. But at no point do they cater to that browser. They completely avoid wasteful hacks such as tables for layout and 1-pixel .gif tricks.
The authors guide the reader in all the best modern practices, avoiding the old hacks, to create structurally logical and human-readable code -- code that looks nice and displays in new ways.
It's been a long time coming but finally the right Web coding practices are coming to the fore, with the help of books such as this.
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By A Customer on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent introduction to CSS; however, I have a few quibbles with it -- hence, the reason for a loss of one star in my rating of the book. My rationale for calling it "an excellent introduction to CSS" is the following:
1. It covers markup and presentational theories -- thus, affording the beginner a good background for understanding the interplay of (X)HTML and CSS.
2. It adequately explains the box model. The explanation is quite clear; however, my quibble with it is that it is not as detailed as the explanation of the box model in Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide. Such detail can be important even to a beginner.
3. It has a chapter on typography and how typographic principles can be enacted in CSS. This chapter is a real boon to beginners and more advanced users of CSS. Since typographic CSS can be implemented without wrecking a design in every modern browser, knowledge pertaining to how to use it well is important.
4. It offers some troubleshooting techniques. This chapter is not as nearly helpful as the other chapters, but it is good to see such a chapter in a CSS book since the browser manufacturers still have partial and/or buggy implementations of CSS. (Note: the bugs are not all that common.)
5. It provides clear explanations of the CSS properties and selectors that it does cover.
I have covered some of my quibbles, but essentially, they all pertain to not enough detail or coverage of CSS properties and selectors. The book is not aimed at being a complete reference. It is written as a tutorial and, consequently, cannot include the entirety of CSS. I praise it for being a tutorial and limiting the coverage of CSS for beginners. That is why I highly recommend this book for beginners.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dabblers in web design may skip this book for now. But if you are serious about investing your time and energy in web design and development, particularly if you are still mixing CSS (Style Sheets) and HTML markup unsystematically according to what seems to patch up your site's function (mea culpa), you owe it to yourself to check this out. Even if you just browse the first two chapters standing in a book store (sorry, authors), READ IT!
Ordinarily, I would not have cared much about another 'history of the web' except that theirs (chapter 1) explained WHY and HOW changes from simple HTML to more efficient developments (esp. CSS) can vastly SIMPLY and empower the way your web design proceeds, enhancing: 1) accessibility of your site, 2) speediness of your site, 3) and best of all speed of your development and revision work.
Although I agree that some exposure to CSS (even just from an introductory web design book) will make the going easier when you read this volume, from Briggs et al. you will finally learn the principles of WHY you save time and money by beginning your design with CSS (instead of just HTML/XHTML) and HOW the units of CSS work. It's like getting your first real understanding of how to do (virtually) all your work on a computer - when you had been clunking along trying to hang on to the familiarity of a typewriter for half your tasks.
Finally, I have to express a real appreciation for the thoroughness of the presentations and the humanity of the writing style - no ranting, no hype - just thoughtful analysis of the state of this art/science and how to cope with its quirks and potentials. I enjoyed their tasteful, wry humor, agreeably sprinkled where appropriate - and the big laugh I got when I decided to look at the authors' pictures. (Seriously, guys, why did you let the publishers use mug shots? ;)
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Format: Paperback
Overall, this is an outstanding text for learning CSS and how to appropriately use it with HTML and XHTML. It is perfect for someone who is already comfortable with basic HTML markup and would like to leverage the various advantages of CSS. The book's only weak point is its coverage of the CSS box model. Arguably one of the more difficult parts of learning CSS, the chapter on the box model makes only passing reference to the float property, which is used very frequently in CSS layouts. Other examples in the box chapter were overly simplified and did not give much more info than I've found online.
The chapters on the basic syntax of CSS are very good and the typography coverage is outstanding.
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