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Book Review – The Art And Science of CSS by Cameron Adams, Jina Bolton, David Johnson, Steve Smith, And Jonathan Snook.

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The Art And Science of CSS is trying to change your mind about standards-based design. They say that CSS-Based design does not have to be boring. Their claim is that if you put together a talented group of designers that you can re-energize your website design and bring it fully to life.

In The Art And Science of CSS, SitePoint Pty. Ltd. brings together five designers to try to do just that; to prove that you don't have to sacrifice beautiful design for best practices. The Art And Science of CSS is contained in seven chapters and is printed in full color. It is geared for those who want to gain the practical skills involved in using CSS to create attractive websites. The only knowledge needed is familiarity with HTML.

Chapter one, "Headings," describes the importance of conveying a lot with a little. Headings are the attention-grabbers of your page and, with only a handful of fonts available across all browsers; you have to draw your audience in with effective headings. Cameron Adams will show you how.

Chapter two, "Images," show how images are the windows to your page. Jina Bolton will teach you ways to display your images for effectiveness. You will learn how to create photo albums, apply boarders, padding, typography and colors to put your best image forward.

Chapter three, "Backgrounds,", has David Johnson explaining the properties that you will be using on a daily basis. You will transform your design into lightweight markup and CSS. Here you will work through a case study for a fictional project that will have you creating a great-looking design that is supported by all modern browsers.

Chapter four, "Navigation," will explain the secrets to successful navigation by using a case study. Steve Smith will show you how to build both a basic as well as an advanced application of the main navigation styles used today. This includes both horizontal as well as vertical navigation menus.

Chapter five, "Forms," examines the best methods of making your forms available to all users; even those needing accessible web design. Cameron Adams will show you how to create a form that will allow for correct and effective labeling, grouping and styling of your form elements and present them for premium effect.

Chapter six, "Rounded Corners," has Steve Smith explaining how to create round corners for your boxes while staying away from the traps of unsympathetic browsers. With a few precautions, you will be able to avoid these problems as well.

Chapter seven, "Tables," are given a fresh look by Jonathan Snook who shows you how to create exciting, colorful tables that work across all browsers. He also gives you a peek into CSS 3, where you will have even more opportunity for expanded table creativity.

While the quality and composition of The Art And Science of CSS is to the standards of SitePoint books, the overall feel is a bit uneven. I attribute that to having five different authors. Though, I must say each chapter is superb in its overall treatment of its individual topic.

The Art And Science of CSS is short and to the point, it is a quick read and entertaining. Even someone with intermediate experience will find things to learn throughout. If you are new to CSS or even a little experienced, this is a definite must-have.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • Jozefina

    I recommend this book! Yes if you are not within the leading edge of the Web Industry, or you are even a little bit unsure about your CSS skills being totally up to date, or you just want to have a different take on design and break out of the CSS box mode; then this is the book for you, . I even didn’t have a problem with the layout or the typography of this book, good read, full of useful information and techniques.