Review: Everything You Know About CSS is Wrong!

by Web Teacher
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★★★★★ Everything You Know about CSS is Wrong! by Rachel Andrew and Kevin Yank is from Sitepoint (2008). It’s a small book of little more than 100 pages. It’s mainly about various CSS display properties that create a table layout appearance.

There’s nothing new about CSS properties such as display:table; they’ve been known and advocated for some time by folks like Al Sparber at Project Seven. The thing that’s new is that finally the big dog, Microsoft Internet Explorer, with the release of version 8, is going to support these CSS 3 properties.

Up to this point, CSS layouts have mostly been created using positioning and floats. Either approach has problems that could be solved by a switch to a workable grid system that appears like what you have with a table, but isn’t actually a table. That’s what  display: table in CSS gives you. A grid appearance without any semantic relationship to a data table in HTML.

Most designers haven’t seen much advantage to be gained from using the CSS table layout properties and don’t have a lot of experience with them. This book gives you concrete examples of how to get up to speed with these CSS3 properties and explains (with examples) the following properties: table, table-row, table-cell, table-row-group, table-header-group, table-footer-group, table-caption, table-column, table-column-group.

The book explains (with examples) what implied or anonymous table elements are. For example, if you use display: table-cell without first containing the cell in a block set to display: table-row, the row is interpreted by the browser as implied and the browser acts as if the anonymous row is actually there. Other information included in the book includes flexible layouts, nesting CSS layout tables, and interesting new information about source order. Importantly, since IE6/IE7 are still with us, there’s some quick and easy to use help for how you can create a style sheet for those older browsers that will be acceptable to substitute when you are using a CSS table display layout. The book takes a fast run-though two other CSS3 layout techniques: grids and multi-columns.

Summary: A must have, recommended.

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