CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
Visual Presentation for the Web
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: November 2006
Pages: 538

CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition, provides you with a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation, along with a thorough review of all aspects of CSS 2.1. Updated to cover Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's vastly improved browser, this new edition includes content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more.

Simply put, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a way to separate a document's structure from its presentation. The benefits of this can be quite profound: CSS allows a much richer document appearance than HTML and also saves time -- you can create or change the appearance of an entire document in just one place; and its compact file size makes web pages load quickly.

CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition, provides you with a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation, along with a thorough review of all aspects of CSS 2.1. Updated to cover Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's vastly improved browser, this new edition includes content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more. Author Eric Meyer tackles the subject with passion, exploring in detail each individual CSS property and how it interacts with other properties. You'll not only learn how to avoid common mistakes in interpretation, you also will benefit from the depth and breadth of his experience and his clear and honest style. This is the complete sourcebook on CSS.

The 3rd edition contains:

  • Updates to reflect changes in the latest draft version of CSS 2.1
  • Browser notes updated to reflect changes between IE6 and IE7
  • Advanced selectors supported in IE7 and other major browsers included
  • A new round of technical edits by a fresh set of editors
  • Clarifications and corrected errata, including updated URLs ofreferenced online resources
Table of Contents
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oreillyCSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
 
4.3

(based on 6 reviews)

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Solid tool for web developers

By jdruin

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition:

This book was good not only because it covers a very large number of style elements, but it also covers the practical application of those styles. As a developer, being able to see large numbers of examples positioned close to the style itself was helpful. Additionally, each style has a block listing the possible attributes for the style and whether the style will be inherited plus other behviors. Between this and my JavaScript reference, I use these two books more than any when working on web applications. Once you get used to the books layout and throw a few sticky notes in key places, it is easy to lookup key styles and methods quickly.

 
4.0

Good...I finally get it...

By Leam Hall

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition:

Eric writes in a clear and detailed way that really communicates. This is especially challenging when an artistic concept has to be explained in technical detail!If you just need a little CSS, check out Eric's articles at [@]. If you're tasked with supporting several sites with diverse text requirements, or you're into heavy CMS configurations, read the book!

(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

the best - but not good enough

By TomG

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition:

Meyer's CSS - the Definitive Guide has been my principal CSS reference since original edition back in 2000. In terms of its completeness of coverage and clarity of its explanations, it beats anything else that I've come across. Yet it is far from perfect - the deficiencies in the index that have been noted by others remain one of its significant negatives.

Futhermore, in one important respect the third edition is a step back from the first edition. In the first edition, Appendix D's CSS Support Chart described the ability of the various browsers available at that time to support specific features of the CSS standard. In my case, this was one of the most heavily used sections of that first edition.

The third edition, however, does not have an equivalent appendix and is, in fact, silent on the subject - except for a few occasional comments randomly inserted in passing throughout the body of the text. To earn a fifth star, I'll need to see the return of some reasonably comprehensive treatment of the conformance of the various available browsers.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

solid book, with some correctible flaws

By eliot1785

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition:

I had been considering getting this book for a while, but avoided it because I assumed I already knew everything there was to know about CSS, having developed web pages for a while. Eventually I ran into some formatting problems that I couldn't solve, and I realized I was spending a lot of my time trying to get things to work by trial and error. Humbled, I purchased the book, and reading it now I am very glad I did! The discussion of the box model, which is something every developer should understand but many do not, is more than worth the investment on its own.

There are a few problems that I'd like to highlight, however. Please note that I am rating this 4/5, so don't let the below problems discourage you from getting the book (it is still probably the best out there), I am just writing this in the hope that an editor will read my suggestions in preparation for the next edition.

One disappointment is that the appendix, which is a helpful list of CSS properties, doesn't include any information about which CSS standard (1, 2, 2.1) prescribes each property, or which browsers support each property. Considering the wide variety of browsers that designers must take into account, such information is essential, and I am pretty surprised it isn't here. Adding this information to the listings in the appendix should be relatively trivial, akin to the information included in Javascript: The Definitive Guide (also by O'Reilly) which should serve as a model to all editors everywhere.

Secondly, as has already been pointed out, the index could be better.

Third, I think the discussion of the box model, as helpful as it is (and more straightforward than other materials I have seen), could nevertheless be improved. People new to the box model may find themselves asking, "I understand the literal aspects of what you are saying, but why does it work this way?"

As just one example, instead of discussing horizontal and vertical formatting of block elements in separate sections, it would probably be better to just discuss it in a single section and state explicitly the differences between the two. Otherwise, Chapter 7 in particular contains a lot of rules that are spread out over some distance and can be harder to absorb.

As another example, the discussion of auto heights for block elements in Chapter 7 is a bit frustrating, as it is devoid of a rationale (perhaps there is no convincing rationale for the behavior, but then the author could state as much and I wouldn't feel like I was missing something). The second chart on page 175 is meant to elucidate the issue, but it fails to do so because it lacks pixel lengths the way the first chart on that page does. My purpose here is not to critique individual errors but rather to highlight that the discussion of the box model is confusing and needs to be streamlined and fleshed out, helpful as it already is.

All that said, this is a very helpful book and I think you will be happy with it. My experience has been that it has filled in a lot of gaps of knowledge that I had simply taken for granted before, and I will be a more efficient and effective designer in the future because of it.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Definitely Definitive!

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition:

CSS: The Definitive Guide details the ins and outs of the CSS specification. It is filled with numerous easy to follow examples. The illustrations that accompany the examples are invaluable as they allow you to easily compare the markup, the applied style sheets, and the results which greatly enhanced my understanding of the material. The humor included in the examples made me laugh more than once which is a welcome relief when tackling such a complex topic as cascading style sheets.

This edition of the book covers version 2.1 of the CSS specification. The author routinely points out where the specification was unclear as well as how certain browsers violate the spec which really helps point out what style sheet authors need to watch out for when targeting certain browsers. This is information that is not in the specification and could take a lot of time to find out on your own.

If you are wanting to learn all you can about how to enhance the visual presentation of your site, are wanting to learn more about the capabilities of CSS so you can see how to modify the look of sites you visit using reader style sheets, or just want to find out what all of the buzz surround cascading style sheets is about then I'd recommend this book.

I do have to warn you though, the author leaves no corner unturned. He starts out slow with an introduction to cascading style sheets and what they bring to the table. The following chapters then delve head first into topic after topic. You can be sure that you will know the technology through and through by the time you are finished with the book, just be prepared to spend some time working through the material.

The author has done a wonderful job bringing to life a subject that might otherwise be quite dry. The years of experience he shares in chapter after chapter has made me glad that I've added this book to my library.

(1 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Would like a DVD

By Wayne

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition:

I really anjoyed this book, especially the sections on camera movement and camera illusions. In most cases the illustrations get the point across, but some of the effects would benefit from a demo movie that could show the finished effect, as well as a stand off view showing how it was filmed. If someone has done any of these effects, perhaps you could post a link here to show how they turned out.

Wayne

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