Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Reference

"Shows How To Take Advantage Of The Benefits Of CSS
While Keeping Compatibility Issues In Mind!"

| Type of Product | User Level | Features |
| Product Analysis | Final Comments | System Requirements |
Type of Product

Title: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide
Author: Eric A. Meyer
Publisher: O'Reilly & Associates
Publication Date: May 15, 2000
Pages: 453
ISBN: 1-56592-622-6
Price: $34.95

Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide gives you a complete, detailed review of aspects of CSS1 and CSS positioning, as well as an overview of CSS2. Each property is explored in detail with a discussion of how each interacts with other properties. Cascading Style Sheets can give a Web designer a great deal of control and flexibility--in theory. Yet in reality, varying browser support for CSS1 and lack of CSS2 implementation makes CSS a very tricky topic. Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide is a comprehensive text that shows how to take advantage of the benefits of CSS while keeping compatibility issues in mind. The book examines the spotty early browser support for CSS1 and the sluggish adoption of CSS2, but it still makes a strong case for even the most skeptical reader to give CSS a whirl and count on its future. The text covers CSS1 in impressive depth--from the more general concepts such as specificity and inheritance to syntactical conventions. Frequent warnings and tips alert the reader to browser-compatibility pitfalls.

The book is well-balanced, with entire chapters devoted to topics like units and values, visual formatting and positioning, and the usual text, fonts, and colors. Attention to both detail and architecture helps readers build a well-rounded knowledge of CSS and equips readers for a future of real-world debugging. Cascading Style Sheets honestly explains the reasons for avoiding an in-depth discussion of the still immature CSS2, but covers the general changes over CSS1 in a brief chapter near the end of the book. When successfully implemented, Cascading Style Sheets result in much more elegant HTML that separates form from function. This fine guide delivers on its promise as an indispensable tool for CSS coders.

The author has extensive experience writing about pitfalls and interesting tricks in CSS. For instance, he is a member of the CSS&FP Working Group, coordinates the W3C's CSS1 Test Suite, remains active on CSS newsgroups, and edits Web Review's Style Sheets Reference Guide. He has a widespread reputation as a CSS expert, particularly with regard to his understanding of the intricacies of browser support for CSS. He brings his knowledge and expertise to this book in the form of hints, workarounds, and many other tips for web authors.

User Level
Intermediate, and Advanced computer users. The book targets veteran web authors who have already invested thousands of hours in learning HTML and writing web pages and are wondering why they need to learn a brand new language of style. This book supplies those dubious but curious web authors with the information they need to easily implement CSS for their web site. The book also addresses an audience of novice web authors who are already straining to learn all of the tags and attributes of HTML and can benefit now from implementing CSS correctly instead of
repeating the mistakes of the past.

Items covered:

  • HTML with CSS;
  • Selectors and structure;
  • Units;
  • Text manipulation;
  • Colors and backgrounds;
  • Boxes and borders;
  • Visual formatting principles;
  • Positioning;
  • CSS2 preview;
  • CSS case studies.
Product Analysis

How The Book Is Organized

The book has 11 chapters and 4 appendixes.

  • Chapter 1 HTML and CSS covers: The Web's Fall from Grace; CSS to the Rescue; Limitations of CSS; Bringing CSS and HTML Together; and Summary.
  • Chapter 2 Selectors and Structure covers: Basic Rules; grouping; Class and ID Selectors; Pseudo-Classes and Pseudo-Elements; Structure; Inheritance; Specificity; The Cascade; Classification of Elements; and Summary.
  • Chapter 3 Units and Values covers: Colors; Length Units; Percentage Values; URLs; CSS2 Units; and Summary.
  • Chapter 4 Text Properties covers: Manipulating Text; and Summary.
  • Chapter 5 Fonts covers: Font Families; Font Weights; Font Size; Styles and Variants; Using Shorthand: The Font Property; Font Matching; and Summary.
  • Chapter 6 Colors and Backgrounds covers Colors; Complex Backgrounds; and Summary.
  • Chapter 7 Boxes and Borders covers: Basic Element Boxes; Margins or Padding; Margins; Borders; Padding; Floating and Clearing; Lists; and Summary.
  • Chapter 8 Visual Formatting covers: Basic Boxes; Block-Level Elements; Floated Elements; Inline Elements; and Summary.
  • Chapter 9 Positioning covers: General Concepts; Relative Positioning; Absolute Positioning; Fixed Positioning; Stacking Positioned Elements; and Summary.
  • Chapter 10 CSS2: A Look Ahead covers: Changes from CSS1; CSS2 Selectors; Fonts and Text; Generated Content; Adapting to the Environment; Borders; Tables; Media Types and @-Rules; and Summary.
  • Chapter 11 CSS in Action covers: Conversion Projects; and Tips & Tricks.

Appendixes A through D provide extra information.

  • Appendix A CSS Resources
  • Appendix B HTML 2.0 Style Sheet
  • Appendix C CSS1 Properties
  • Appendix D CSS Support Chart
Final Comments

Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide offers a complete, detailed review of aspects of CSS1 and CSS positioning, as well as an overview of CSS2. Each property is explored in detail with a discussion of how each interacts with other properties. This is a thorough book that is a great choice for anyone really interested in understand and using Cascading Style Sheets.

System Requirements
  • Internet-ready computer, PC or Macintosh and program that lets you write code.
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