Author: Mike McGrath
Publisher: Easy Steps, 2009
Aimed at: Beginners to CSS
Pros: Good introduction that is easy to follow
Cons: Doesn’t cover how HTML design tools work with CSS
Reviewed by: David Conrad
If you are looking for a simple beginner's introduction to CSS then this book fits the bill. It is in full colour with lots of screen dumps and annotated with useful notes and warnings. It all seems very easy to read and follow - partly because once you get the basic idea CSS isn't rocket science.
It starts off from the very simple ideas of CSS - cascading, selectors and so on. As an example of how it works Chapter 3 goes into detail about how to style a box, which is perhaps the most basic and most useful thing you can know how to do. Then we move onto considering layout, i.e. how formatted boxes position themselves including how to construct column layouts. Next we concentrate on formatting particular items - text and tables.
The final third of the book deals with more complicated ideas such as effects, hiding and revealing content, user interaction and CSS implemented tabs. The final chapters give us a collection of useful techniques and ideas - dealing with media, page structure, validating CSS, resetting browser defaults, using compression and so on.
About the only thing the book doesn’t cover is how HTML design tools work with CSS and to be honest nothing but a book specifically on the editor in question would help with this problem. If you do use an editor, however, understanding how CSS works is your best way to find out how to edit what it produces.
This is a good first introduction to CSS which is easy to read and understand. If you stick with it then it even takes you into some more advanced topics where the use of CSS really starts to pay off.