Review: Pro CSS Techniques

Jan 5, 2007 by

Web Teacher

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★★★ Pro CSS Techniques by Jeff Croft, Ian Lloyd, and Dan Rubin (Apress, 2006) earns only three stars from me. This is not because it’s a bad book, because it isn’t. It contains all the requisite chapters and information from the basic to a few more advanced CSS techniques.

It’s a question of sparkle. This book is a bit on the blah side. Maybe it’s three authors not being able to find a voice that represents them all. Normally I’m a big fan of Ian Lloyd, whose is one of my all-time favorite sites. A recent book he wrote by himself earned five stars from me, so it isn’t about the quality of the information.

Maybe I am reacting to a false expectation from the "Pro" in the title. What’s the definition of a "pro" technique? I expected less basic material and more advanced material. The book has a thorough explanation of the basics of CSS, with plenty of foundation information about browsers, managing CSS files, and specificity. There’s even a chapter on the more useful hacks and workarounds. There was a nice tip for styling definition lists, and the CSS Layouts chapter took on fixed-width layouts, floats, liquid layouts, elastic layouts, and switching layouts from two to three columns with a mouse click.

A chapter you don’t normally find in a CSS book explored what to do when it all falls apart with tips about testing and validating and common CSS bugs such as the whitespace bug and the three-pixel jog bug. And there are three appendices, one with charts of what CSS properties each browser supports (including IE7).

You can see from this examination of the contents of the book that the book covers the bases. My best suggestion to you is to evaluate the book for yourself and not let my vague blah reaction rule your decision-making process as to whether or not this book is right for you.

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