View Full Version : Looking for a good CSS book

03-31-2005, 09:44 AM
MrWhatsit and I are both in need of a decent CSS primer. I was looking at the reviews on Amazon for various titles, and they weren't all that helpful. MrWhatsit wants a book that includes a reference guide to every single CSS element, and a few of the comments about the O'Reilly CSS guide (which is the default book we normally would have purchased) said that it does not in fact include every single element.

It would be helpful if the book that included every single element also had a good tutorial on learning CSS, but we're prepared to get a couple different books if necessary. The local public library is no help here, because all of the CSS books they have in the catalog date from 2001 at the latest.

Advice here would be welcome. (I hope I put this thread in the right forum.)

Not A Tame Lion
03-31-2005, 02:20 PM
Whether or not this is helpful depends upon how far along you already are in your CSS knowledge, but...I found some tutorials on the Macromedia website that I found helpful in boosting my knowledge of CSS, mostly in terms of using it for page layouts. Go to macromedia.com and scroll down to the Developer Center section. There's a link under the Topics for CSS that will take you to the Dreamweaver Developer Center where there are a lot of articles about learning CSS. (Don't worry if you don't use Dreamweaver--though I prefer and recommend the program--because a lot of the tutorials show the direct coding, not just marking up via the program's interface.)

Like I said, if you're already way along in using CSS, some of these might be too basic for you. But if you're just starting, you might use these to get the basics, then springboard from there to more intricate applications. Once you have the basics, I suspect you can figure out the rest just by playing around on your own.

Hope this helps.

03-31-2005, 06:18 PM
You might consider using the W3C standards as a reference (CSS1 (http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS1) and CSS2 (http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2)). These include, by definition, all standard elements (though I don't think any browser implements all of CSS2 and most browsers implement styles beyond CSS1, so it's not actually as complete as it sounds). They can also be downloaded in various forms, so you can use them offline. I doubt if these would make good primers, though.

03-31-2005, 06:36 PM
Have you tried w3school's online CSS tutorial? (http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp). It's not a book, but it can still be very informative.

And what's the point of finding a book with complete CSS references if none of the browsers fully support the standard?

03-31-2005, 06:44 PM
The book Eric Meyer on CSS (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/073571245X/qid=1112312485) was the one frequently recommended to me, although it seems so far (I'm only a chapter or two into it) that it's half evangelism, half case-by-case tutorial, without being much of a reference. Meyer has also written a CSS reference (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0072131780/ref=pd_sim_b_6/002-1616984-2494445?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance) which I haven't read myself, but mention anyway because he's frequently acknowledged as an authority.

04-01-2005, 02:49 AM
I got the O'Reilly CSS guide and I'm perfectly happy with it. I was no total beginner before starting to read it, but almost.

Anyway, it goes through most elements rather thoroughly in my opinion. I haven't really reached the most advanced stuff yet, so I can't say for sure if it's the best guide overall for every need.

Fromage A Trois
04-01-2005, 06:55 AM
Although CSS isn't it's main topic, I was pleased with Elizabeth Castro's HTML for the World Wide Web, Fifth Edition with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide. Alright, the name doesn't trip off the tongue, but the style it was written in was very good, and it has many useful appendices.

Which, and this is the killer, are available online (http://www.cookwood.com/html5ed/). If you look at "extras", there's a CSS reference, and an HTML one, and hex values for a load of colours. The "examples" section contains the source for all of the examples in the book, too.

But, it is only a beginner's guide and may not cover everything you want. I just find the online reference so useful, when I've left the book at home or something.

04-01-2005, 10:02 AM
As a teacher of Web Design, I have to second the Visual Quickstart guides in general. Most of them are very simple.

The W3schools tutorial is pretty good, as well.

If you want to go by the standards, you want CSS Level 2, Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) (http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/).

CSS2 added so many features so soon after CSS1 came out, that most browsers never bothered to implement them all. The W3C's CSS Homepage (http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/) links to CSS2.1 and not CSS2, even though the latter is a complete standard and the former is not, indicating they've semi-abandoned it. CSS 2.1 lists properties and values. in its properties index (http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/propidx.html). No browser supports all of this even (Internet Explorer being the worst offender) but it is a move past CSS1.

04-01-2005, 10:56 AM
Well, thanks, everybody. I was really hoping to hear that there was one definitive guide that existed in book form, so that I could peruse it while eating lunch, in bed, etc., but based on the conflicting info in this thread, I think I'll probably just hit some of the web tutorials and then maybe go ahead and look at the O'Reilly book and the Quickstart guides.

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