CSS Book Reviews for Nerds

CSS Book Reviews for Nerds

My book reviews section is different from what you typically see. I only list and review books that are worth reading. All the books reviewed here are sitting on my bookshelves.


I love CSS - it's the best thing to happen to web design since HTML! But I think today (2005) some CSS zealots are going a little nuts with CSS layouts; it has come to the point where they will do anything they can to use CSS for page layout instead of using HTML tables, even if it means using ten thousand CSS hacks to get it to work!

Brittle web design is brittle, whether you use nested tables or CSS hacks.

Note to everyone:

  • A table for page layout is not perfect, but sometimes it just makes more sense than using CSS.
  • CSS for page layout has some flaws, that is why CSS3 is coming out … sometime.

What about the books that suck?

I come across many stinkers, to be sure. I just spare the authors the criticism and you the time – why talk about a crappy title?

Stefan Mischook

CSS Book Reviews

DHTML and CSS for the World Wide Web

All of the Peach Pit's Visual Quickstart Guides that are in my list overlap on certain subjects to a limited degree; you see talk about CSS, JavaScript and XHTML in each of them.

But don't be fooled into thinking that it’s a waste of money to get all of them! Each book goes into some depth (where the other don't) in their particular area of focus making them worthwhile purchases.

DHTML for the World Wide Web concentrates on DHTML leveraging CSS and the practically universal DOM. There is some overlap with the other titles in terms of CSS and JavaScript, but only enough to get the reader going with the focus of the book … DHTML. Do yourself a favor and get all 3 Visual Quickstart Guides reviewed here, I did!

Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design

Like all the books in my book review section, this one is worth getting.

This is a project-based tutorial book where you’re taught subtle CSS techniques while building web pages. This is an interesting approach to learning because you get to see how a CSS expert thinks about CSS, how he structures it in his own work.

This sort of insight is much more valuable than a simple tips and tricks book. If you are an intermediate level CSS user looking to further develop your skills, this is a great way to go.

About the websites built

There are 13 project sites in the book that for the most part stand alone; you don’t need to read / do project one to do project number two.

The book encourages you to follow along with the text and build your own copy of the project sites. The project files are provided on the book’s website, you don’t have to waste your time setting up the structure of the sites/projects – you can jump right into the CSS. This hands-on approach to teaching is the best way to learn.

The projects themselves are interesting and some of them even useful – I especially like the project on making HTML forms printable and the project on the Multicolumn layout – a hurdle for many budding CSS designers.

About the structure of the book

I like Meyers writing style, it’s clean and to the point and thoughtfully written. The book is packed with full color photos so you can see the CSS work in its full glory. The index is also pretty good.

My only complaint about the book (a minor one,) is that some of the designs (IMHO) are not what I would necessarily consider to be ‘styling’. But again, that’s not too important since this is a book on CSS and not on design.

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