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Product Details:
Author: David Sawyer McFarland
Paperback: 538 pages
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Publication Date: August 31, 2009
Language: English
ISBN: 0596802447
Product Length: 7.01 inches
Product Width: 1.42 inches
Product Height: 9.13 inches
Product Weight: 1.9 pounds
Package Length: 9.13 inches
Package Width: 7.09 inches
Package Height: 1.26 inches
Package Weight: 1.92 pounds
Average Customer Rating: based on 145 reviews
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CSS: The Definitive Guide
CSS: The Definitive Guide
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Customer Reviews:
Average Customer Review: 4.5 ( 145 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 found the following review helpful:

5The best book on CSS I ownOct 26, 2009
By Robert D. Glover Jr. "robert-g-near-nyc"
This wonderful, supurb book, "CSS: The Missing Manual (Fully revised 2nd edition", has set the bar high for the standard of excellence as regards teaching CSS. I started trying to learn CSS a long time ago but due to the poor quality of the books on the subject, I never "got it". Tragically, I first tried to learn css from the ridiculously terse and totally incomprehensible book, "CSS Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))". I next erred on the other extreme by purchasing the insanely meandering, needlessly padded, and pointlessly "funny" book, "Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML"

I really cannot say enough good things about "CSS: The Missing Manual (Fully revised 2nd edition". The author is so distinguished it's unbelievable. Not only can he really, really teach well-- in addition he really, really knows CSS inside and out.

At the end of each chapter he has a tutorial. After downloading all the code from the book's website, I do the tutorials using FireFox with the "FireBug" add-on enabled. "FireBug" is fantastic as a learning tool. It lets you easily change CSS operands and instantly see the effect. Another great FireFox plugin is "ColorZilla"-- it's "eyedropper" shows the RGB values of colors on the web page when you hover or click on a color. It's very validating to see "ColorZilla" display the exact same RGB color value that you can see via "FireBug" is the color setting for that element. Another useful plugin is "CodeBurner for Firebug" because it extends "FireBug" with reference material for CSS and HTML. Also, I find it very helpful to look at the source code of the book's downloaded tutorials via "jEdit", a free text editor which the book recommends. "jEdit" does a fantastic job of showing html and CSS in color, which makes it much easier to comprehend the CSS while doing the book's tutorials. The only shortcoming of "jEdit" is that it is a little clumsy to switch between edit windows. So, I use a 2nd text editor called "NotePad++" to show the "after version of the tutorial", and use "jEdit" to show the "before version of the tutorial". That way I can easily copy/paste the source code snippets as I go through the tutorial.

Thanks to this great book, "CSS: The Missing Manual (Fully revised 2nd edition", I finally at long last, feel confident of my CSS skills.

39 of 40 found the following review helpful:

4Great Content, Kindle Formatting Kind of SuckyJan 13, 2010
By Michael A. Hansen "Michael Aaron Hansen"
I think the book is great. I don't want to review it in detail here because others have done a great job of this already. It's easy enough for the beginner and detailed enough for the seasoned CSS coder to use it as a reference.

I would like to address the Kindle formatting of the book. It leaves something to be desired. I only mention this because until you get used to the poor formatting, it can be a little difficult to read on the Kindle. Here's an example from the introduction of the Kindle edition itself:

...
you'll learn about the basics of CSS. In
Chapter 1
, you'll get right to work creating a
...

The Kindle edition is FILLED with this kind of formatting. The book is a great buy. Go ahead and get it. Just be aware that the Kindle version isn't well formatted. Not sure if this is Amazon's fault or the publishers. Hopefully one or both of them will fix this. It mars an otherwise excellent book.

17 of 17 found the following review helpful:

5An excellent and thorough CSS tutorialMar 31, 2011
By Gary E. Albers
There is certainly no shortage of books about CSS. For more than a decade now, HTML, CSS and JavaScript have been the core client-side technologies required of competent website authors. Sure, many people get by using WYSIWYG editors (e.g., Dreamweaver) and/or a CMS (Drupal, Joomla, yui, etc.) to produce websites. But, for true design competence and flexibility, serious professionals need to master these three "languages." Typically, one learns (X)HTML first, followed by CSS and then JavaScript, in that order. At least that has been my path.

Over the last decade or so, as the benefits of the separation of structure and presentation have been accepted by the design community, CSS has become increasingly important. HTML documents that just a few years ago would have been implemented with nested tables and spacer gifs in the HTML markup now have their presentational aspects created in separate CSS files. Almost everybody acknowledges that is a good thing, and I agree. Unfortunately, many very good books on CSS over the last decade (and still on the market) devote a lot of space trying to convince developers WHY CSS styling is preferable to the old-time methods, thus minimizing the pages they can devote to HOW one actually uses CSS. There was clearly a need for that emphasis in the past, but let me suggest that the war has been won and it's time to move on.

This second edition of McFarland's book is, everything considered, the best book I've yet read on CSS, and I've read quite a few. At over 500 pages, it is thorough in its coverage and doesn't waste space rehashing the styling wars that have dominated the literature of the last decade. Explanations of topics are cogent and well illustrated. In addition to a copious amount of downloadable code examples, the author includes many links to online sources for further exploration of important topics. Browser incompatibilities are well covered and hacks provided. I especially thought the explanations on using CSS for layout tasks (e.g., divs, floats, relative and absolute positioning) were unusually clear and easy to understand.

For those who already are reasonably familiar with (X)HTML and looking for a good guide to the world of CSS, it's hard for me to imagine a better book. It wasn't the book I used to first tackle CSS but, in retrospect, I wish it had been!

14 of 15 found the following review helpful:

5The CSS book I was searching forDec 04, 2009
By Lucien den Arend "Lucien"
When I bought the book, I knew what I needed to know and what I could expect as far as my knowledge of building websites reached. I'm not an expert, but certainly not a beginner.

I started my first website in 1997 and only started daring to use CSS in 2005 - eight years later. At that time I began to read books by Mulder (yes, one of the first) and later Cederholm, Meyer, Clark, Zeldman and found information on CSS on the internet. I learned some things I needed to know and the more I read, the more I understood what I didn't know. I'm not criticizing these books, but "CSS: The Missing Manual" explains backgrounds, which the other ones lacked - for me that is. I'm still reading it and not from front to back, but back and forth, and learning more than before. There's more about CSS3 in this book also, presented in a way that I understand.

This is not a book for the beginner, who still has to learn about HTML (but then... who's going to buy a book on CSS if he doesn't understand HTML?); but it is also not a book which can only be understood by the experienced.

9 of 9 found the following review helpful:

5My favorite CSS bookSep 12, 2010
By John M. Lemon
Here's my situation. I'm a professional technical writer who uses a single-sourcing tool called MadCap Flare to write, format, and produce content for printed manuals and online help systems. Flare itself isn't so hard to use. But it relies completely on CSS to format its output. For many years now, I've been using style sheets (in Word and FrameMaker), but I've only had a rudimentary knowledge of CSS. My use of Flare mandated that I get up to speed with CSS, otherwise I'd never be able to control Flare's output to the degree that I needed to.

To start out, I did a couple of web tutorials on CSS. Then I read Hakon Wium Lie's book, which is a terrific reference resource, but not the best "learning" book. Nor does it clearly illustrate the full potential of CSS (which is ironic, since Lie helped define CSS specification). But it did get me moving down the right path and improve my Flare output. Wanting more, I read a couple of other books. But they were geared more toward advanced techniques for users who already understand CSS's capabilities. I needed to step back a bit and find the right book directed at intermediate users. Based on the Amazon reader reviews, I decided to give McFarland's CSS: The Missing Manual a try. And I'm really glad I did.

For beginners, McFarland assumes you know a little bit of HTML, but that's about all. He guides you through CSS and its awesome capabilities with an easy, conversational writing style and clear examples that explain the interaction between CSS and HTML. The book teaches you gradually, and in a very logical order. You are always building on stuff you already learned in earlier chapters. Best of all, he provides tutorials so you can apply your new knowledge right away with practical, real-world examples. He also explains how to minimize your CSS markup to get the most versatility out of the last amount of code. His chapters on floating elements, managing divisions, and multiple columns is worth the price of the book, alone. He also provides common fixes so your CSS works with quirky web browsers (IE6, etc.). He also has a chapter dedicated to managing print output, so your web pages print nicely, which is invaluable to us who manage single-source content for multiple output formats. Upon finishing this book, I was able to completely overhaul and streamline my CSS files, and get much better results from my print and online output.

If you are a beginner with CSS, start here. I promise you, this book will get you up to speed quickly. If you are an intermediate user, this book is a great refresher, and it covers all of the same techniques I found in books for advanced users, but with examples and tutorials that are much easier to follow. In short, this book's content is clear, thorough, and straightforward. Isn't that what you want when you are trying to learn something new?

CSS is very, very cool. And this book is a superb learning guide that will help you realize its full potential. If you are a tech writer or a web designer, this book deserves a place on your shelf.

See all 145 customer reviews on Amazon.com
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