CSS: The Missing Manual
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2006
Pages: 496

Web site design has grown up. Unlike the old days, when designers cobbled togetherchunky HTML, bandwidth-hogging graphics, and a prayer to make their sites look good,Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) now lets your inner designer come out and play. But CSSisn't just a tool to pretty up your site; it's a reliable method for handling allkinds of presentation--from fonts and colors to page layout. CSS: The MissingManual clearly explains this powerful design language and how you can use it tobuild sparklingly new Web sites or refurbish old sites that are ready for an upgrade.

Like their counterparts in print page-layout programs, style sheets allowdesigners to apply typographic styles, graphic enhancements, and precise layoutinstructions to elements on a Web page. Unfortunately, due to CSS's complexity andthe many challenges of building pages that work in all Web browsers, most Web authorstreat CSS as a kind of window-dressing to spruce up the appearance of their sites.Integrating CSS with a site's underlying HTML is hard work, and often frustratinglycomplicated. As a result many of the most powerful features of CSS are left untapped.With this book, beginners and Web-building veterans alike can learn how to navigatethe ins-and-outs of CSS and take complete control over their Web pages'appearance.

Author David McFarland (the bestselling author of O'Reilly's Dreamweaver: TheMissing Manual) combines crystal-clear explanations, real-world examples, a dashof humor, and dozens of step-by-step tutorials to show you ways to design sites withCSS that work consistently across browsers. You'll learn how to:

  • Create HTML that's simpler, uses less code, is search-engine friendly, andworks well with CSS

  • Style text by changing fonts, colors, font sizes, and adding borders

  • Turn simple HTML links into complex and attractive navigation bars-completewith CSS-only rollover effects that add interactivity to your Web pages

  • Style images to create effective photo galleries and special effects likeCSS-based drop shadows

  • Make HTML forms look great without a lot of messy HTML

  • Overcome the most hair-pulling browser bugs so your Web pages work consistentlyfrom browser to browser

  • Create complex layouts using CSS, including multi-column designs that don'trequire using old techniques like HTML tables

  • Style Web pages for printing

Unlike competing books, this Missing Manual doesn't assume that everyone in theworld only surfs the Web with Microsoft's Internet Explorer; our book providessupport for all major Web browsers and is one of the first books to thoroughlydocument the newly expanded CSS support in IE7, currently in beta release.

Want to learn how to turn humdrum Web sites into destinations that will captureviewers and keep them longer? Pick up CSS: The Missing Manual and learn thereal magic of this tool.

Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


by PowerReviews
oreillyCSS: The Missing Manual

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 7 customers

Displaying reviews 1-7

Back to top


good . . . but not worth $40

By lesterine

from new hyork

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

after reading another book on html, xhtml and css i picked up, css: missing manual.

what a difference in these two books. the other was BY FAR a much more friendly written communication of information.

it's my belief, not just desire, but BELIEF that anyone writing a technical book such as this should give the exact code in a complete example.

$40 is a lot of money for me to spend and not get what i need.

for example, the "making lists look great" FAQ on page 67 doesn't work. i've tried and tried and TRIED until my eyes are red and was annoyed enough to write this review.

perhaps it is something i am doing wrong. but it would be incredibly helpful to see the EXACT code for making this example work. and there is plenty of space for it on the page to be done as this FAQ takes up half the page, which is plenty of room to SAY LESS and SHOW MORE of the EXACT CODING.

hope i've made myself perfectly clear.

i only wish this book were more so.

(0 of 9 customers found this review helpful)


Good book but what is up with Microsoft

By pgflrob

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

This is a good book on CSS. Great on formating text. I like the lesson followed by tutorial style.

It is based on the current web design religion of not using tables to layout a web page but it sure is complicated to use CSS (i.e. negative margins!)

Then to make matters worse, as you move through the book, each chapter teaches you how to do a specific thing and then you are told about the hacks you have to do to get IE to work with the CSS!!! Very annoying. I develop using a Mac, but want my websites to hold up under IE. So I think I will stick with table based layouts.

This is not a fault of the book but of the unintuitive tricks required to use CSS for layout, and Microsoft's poor coding practices and adherence to standards.

The book could go a lot further in explaining various menuing techniques.

(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Tip For Using The Tutorial Files


from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

Awesome book!! I needed to learn CSS for my job. This has been an excellent book! One thing I had problems with was with the downloaded tutorial files. It may be just related to my PC? Long story short... When I tried to open up the .HTML files in Notepad, from all of the chapter files after unzipping them, Notepad did not render the code in a very readable way. I had to open each one in Wordpad, then edit/select all > copy. Then open the same file up in Notepad and paste the code from Wordpad and re-saved it with same file name. Now all files are readable when opening up in notepad. Not sure why my PC garbeled the code?

Anyway... just a tip if anyone else had that problem. Awesome book to learn CSS!!! I have read, or tried to read many before, and they mostly read like a reference book. This one you actually do hands on projects.


This book on CSS has style

By Pam R

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

I loved this book! It held my attention, moved fast, I learned a lot and I had fun doing it. I expected a book on Cascading Style Sheets to be a bit on the dry side but found McFarland's writing style not only easy to read but very enjoyable. His sense of humor would occasionally have me laughing out loud. The book is filled with information that is presented clearly. Some of the things about CSS that have left me a bit baffled in the past suddenly made sense.

The book begins with a brief overview of HTML that includes the reasons why Cascading Style Sheets are a better way to style web pages. It covers what HTML tags to eliminate and why to replace them with CSS. The chapters are set up with the information presented first and end with hands on tutorials complete with downloadable files. Being able to actually write CSS and apply what I'd learned was a great reinforcement.

CSS is covered from basic to advanced techniques in a way that keeps building on skills just learned. The attention focused on making it work in a variety of browsers including older ones was wonderful. For people like me that are not true professionals, browser variances are always a mystery. Not only are solutions to problems presented but the logic behind fixing them is shared.

The book also is loaded with CSS resources that include links to tutorials, bulletin boards and other sites for further education or help. You can find them both appropriately placed throughout the book as well as listed at the end. The only thing I would have liked to have included is a CD. The book ends with three Appendixes which recap CSS properties, cover Adobe's Dreamweaver and list resources. That in itself was well worth the price of the book.

Find this book online at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/csstmm/

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)



By Wrox007

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

this is one of very good book , for .net web application development.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


A very comprehensive reference guide

By Boson Au

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

This is one of those rare gems of a reference guide that manages to build a solid foundation and go from there to a comprehensive and detailed guide to CSS.

The author does not cut any corners: the first part of the book establishes the philosophy of using CSS versus plain old HTML, along with laying down the necessary (and often overlooked) information (ie: the right docType to use, how inheritance really works, how multiple CSS files play with each other, etc.)

All this preliminary information is followed by a well-organized exploration of CSS. The second part deals more with text and margins and more formal methods of formatting content, as well as using CSS to spice up site navigation without sacrificing standards. I appreciate the author's discussions on the different opinions on em's versus pixels, not to mention his easy to read prose. All in all, the book presents the true meat of CSS to users in the second part.

The third part of the book is devoted to layout and positioning. It is here that the user will discover the ins and outs of floating elements and how to use them. This has always been a weak area of mine so this was very helpful.

The book ends with information on good practices for CSS. I am as guilty as the next guy in that more often than not my stylesheet is a mess of ill defined classes and elements. This section is for that.

This book is for both beginners and experienced code monkeys. Beginners with benefit from the meticulous and careful pace off the book while experienced users will most likely find one or two clever tidbits to add to their repertoire.


Finally, a CSS book I like

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Missing Manual:

To start off I should mention that this is my first CSS book. Prior to getting this book I would flip through CSS books in the bookstore and never found anything I found helpful at first glance. Having minimal knowledge of CSS and only really modified existing code I was looking for a good first book to get me started. As it turns out, this is that book.

I have found CCS The Missing Manual to be a very good resource and an interesting read. The author has a witty and engaging writing style that draws you on through the book, unlike some dry manuals I have experienced.

The author assumes the reader has some knowledge of HTML. The book starts out with a brief review of HTML with tidbits of history along the way. All through the book the author offers information highlights on various subjects for those people who want more. After looking at how page formatting works with basic HTML the author jumps in to CSS.

One thing that I really like about this book is that the author doesn't just dump a bunch of information on you and expect you to figure out how to put it to use on your own. Each chapter has exercises to complete that take you through the material covered. The code for these exercises can be downloaded from the author's website.

In addition to being introduced to the various CSS tags and how to successfully use them the author also covers browser problems that occur, especially with Internet Explorer 6. I was also surprised to find that this book covers Internet Explorer 7, which has only recently become available to the public.

The author devotes a chapter on how to create print style sheets for pages that need to be printed. And the last chapter gives recommendations on how to improve you CSS. The book also includes three appendixes, the first is a CSS property reference, the second gives an overview of how to generate style sheets in Dreamweaver 8, and the last appendix is references.

Check out the TOC online for a full description of the book contents:

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/csstmm/toc.html (http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/csstmm/toc.html)



I have enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those looking to learn CSS or use it as a reference. Parts I found appealing were the hands-on exercises that went along with the instruction. Being a big fan of the O'Reilly Nutshell books, I also liked that the book includes a CSS reference to flip to.

Displaying reviews 1-7

Back to top

Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
Buying Options
Immediate Access - Go Digital what's this?
Ebook:  $27.99
Formats:  DAISY, ePub, Mobi, PDF