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Reference Books

Reference books for Creative People

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  Books at AbleStable®

Business | Reference | The Creative Life

Detailed Description and Review

Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge 4 out of 5 stars

Molly E. Holzschlag

book cover screenshot Cascading Style Sheets begins with an in-depth look at structured markup, both XHTML and CSS. It then explains how to use CSS to achieve specific design goals involving typography, colour, layout. The book concludes by deconstructing some web sites using CSS.

Detailed Description

From the Publisher: Sybex


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) offer web designers precise control and instantaneous updates of their sites' layout, fonts, backgrounds, and other effects. This powerful technology is rapidly gaining widespread adoption. Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge is a full-colour book that combines a thorough discussion of the technical aspects of CSS with an in-depth look at CSS' design implications.

From the Back Cover

CSS is finally supported by all modern web browsers, empowering Web designers to do what they've been hungering to do for years: control layout more precisely, use colour more effectively, and expand typographic options beyond the frustrating limitations of the past. So where to begin? Where can you get design-focused instruction on CSS while learning the technical details?

Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge is the resource you've been looking for. Written by renowned web designer Molly Holzschlag, this book begins with an in-depth look at structured markup, both XHTML and CSS. It then explains how to use CSS to achieve specific design goals involving typography, colour, layout, and more. Finally, it deconstructs a series of impressive designs, showing you how the authors used CSS to maximize their efficiency and get exactly the right effect.

Key topics you'll learn about include:

Writing valid XHTML
Authoring effective CSS rules
Working with classes and IDs
Validating your CSS
Creating great typographical designs with CSS
Using CSS for backgrounds, borders, and colour
Creating multiple link styles
Using absolute positioning
Working with relative positioning
Positioning with float
Creating great CSS layouts

About the Author

Molly E. Holzschlag is a popular author, speaker, and web standards evangelist. She is a steering committee member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) and Education Director for the World Organization of Webmasters (WOW).

Articles written by Molly Holzschlag at AbleStable®

True Colours

The True Language of Web Design Part 1

The True Language of Web Design Part 2

4 out of 5 stars
Syndication Licensees Only Using This Content

Molly Holzschlag has written a very informative work on an area of web design I have long since felt intimidated by. Like many, I have kept a certain distance from developing my knowledge and skills of Cascading Style Sheets. When AbleStable® was first developed I'd considered developing the site using CSS, but at that time browsers didn't fully recognise CSS, and as a result CSS was dropped from the equation.

With the consistency of Internet Explorer 6 and the release of Netscape 7, browsers are now much more up to the task of supporting CSS fully, but there remain questions about backward CSS compatibility, and this has lead to the development of 'transitional CSS', a kind of hybrid Document Type Definition (DTD) that takes on the inconsistencies and ensures correct browser recognition of web pages.

Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge brings together the general principles of DTD in an accessible and very well presented publication. Molly's writing is at all times clear and accessible as she guides the reader successfully through a logical progression of developing the reader's understanding, and potential implementation of CSS. There are numerous screenshots and examples throughout the book which is beautifully produced and very well designed with additional notes, tips, and sidebars furthering the reader's understanding.

There's little doubt Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge should be on the bookshelf of every web designer as a very useful reference on CSS, and although there are now excellent CSS editors like Top Style Pro that come with well written online documentation, there's still a persuasive case for investing in a good reference book like this to browse, ponder, and reflect on.

Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge is for the serious web designer who has a working knowledge of HTML. This isn't a work for the faint hearted as it contains a lot of code examples and requires a willingness to take on CSS in its full glory. Don't expect an easy ride from HTML to CSS, the web designer will have to put some hard work into developing an understanding and effective implementation of CSS which has its own idiosyncrasies and operations. Reading this book will however provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to make sound judgments about possible CSS implementation on your web site.

I await the next incarnation of CSS (CSS Level 3) with great interest, and hope that its implementation will provide software developers the encouragement to make accessible tools for all to produce clean, accessible web sites with ease. I found Cascading Style Sheets: The Designer's Edge an invaluable read in determining the way forward for AbleStable's® continuing DTD development.

Review by Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable®

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