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The Zen of CSS Design

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The Zen of CSS Design, subtitled Visual Enlightenment for the Web will give you just that. The book was published by New Riders Press and written by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag. In this book, you will view and learn how much capability really resides with CSS&#8212cascading style sheets.

The book is not written with the novice in mind, so if you’re just starting out with web pages and web design, and you’re not completely sure what to do with this “internets” thing, start out with something a little simpler.

However, if you’re an experienced designer who understands HTML and tags, who wants to know the power of cascading style sheets (CSS) better, this book may be for you.

The book features 36 different web sites that have been created primarily using style sheets. They start out rather simple, with simple tricks that can be done using graphics, but it quickly proceeds through various advanced categories of css including layout, imagery, special effects, and construction.

Each of the 36 sites is shown in detail in the book and the internet address of the site is included as well so the reader can view the site at the same time. After discussing how the sites were created, the CSS that was used for the site is shown and described. All the sites’ CSS code is openly available to all readers.

The designs go from the plain and simple to outrageous. One of the sites even shows how the exact same page can be interpreted completely differently by two different browsers&#8212one browser shows a boxy frame with browns and a person, while the same exact page, when interpreted by another browser, shows a green page with leafy pictures and a very different, flowing layout.

There’s tons of tricks here for using and creating with CSS instead of relying on Javascript or other variable technologies. CSS is expanding, and if you want to know how to use it in unique and different ways, this book is for you.

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About Ogre

  • Eric Olsen

    very good job explaining CSS and the book in a nutshell – thanks and welcome!

  • Just curious – which two browsers are used to give such different results in the example?

  • Following DrPat – and since it’s available on the web, where is this site?

  • One thing to mention,
    Microsoft already announced that Internet Explorer 7 (to be released this summer) will support (transparant).png and improved CSS rendering, which will bring IE a lot closer to other browsers, including those supporting web standards.

    This will make a CSS designer’s work easier, as there’s less workarounds involved to guarantee a site will display as expected on various main browsers.

    The example of different rendering interpretations by different browsers,
    is, if i remember well, a testpage in CSS 3. I’ve seen it mentioned on some forums couple weeks ago.
    I think there wasn’t any browser scoring 100% yet.
    Ogre, can you give us the url ?
    It would shock me if css 2 would still cause such extreme misrenderments.

    The two browsers compared are IE and Mozilla. The site with the comparison is at csszengarden.com/062 — it’s quite impressive.

    As for the support of IE, I’d love to see it, but Microsoft is not exactly known for meeting deadlines…and even if they do, this book will still show you how to really maximize the use of css.

  • The problem is that with each interation of IE we end up with new bugs that the web world has to program CSS and other languages for.

    Let’s hope IE 7 isn’t the same way.

  • It should be interesting (if it ever gets released), because the current news from Microsoft is that IE will be CSS2.0 compliant. That WOULD eliminate tons of problems with web design.

  • Dn

    At datanumerc web design we are using CSS since 3 years. We find it easy to maintain CSS based websites.