|ISSUE 38||Summer 2003 | updated 5/29/03|
There's no shortage of books to help you learn how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). If you're not already up to speed on this approach to web design, you'd better get one and read it right away! My favorite, for now at least, is Eric Meyer's clear and approachable project-based book.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you that I know Eric and think he's a great guy, so I may be biased. For a second opinion, here's what web authority Jeffrey Zeldman (Daily Report, A List Apart) has to say:
"In today's Web, there are perhaps a dozen people who know CSS as intimately as Eric Meyer. Of those few experts, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number who can explain even the trickiest CSS concept so that the average working Web designer can comprehend it."
So, what about the book? Well, it starts on page 1 with a quote from Yoda: "Unlearn what you have learned."
OK, so maybe Yoda's not your cup of tea, keep on reading anyway. Chapter One is the first of 13 projects, converting an existing table-based page layout to a combination of HTML and CSS. As you work your way through the book—yes, that's the idea, you don't just read it, you work on actual web pages—the projects get progressively more ambitious.
This won't hurt a bit
Another strength of this book is its extremely logical, well-ordered approach. Each chapter starts by listing Project Goals, followed by Preparation (usually downloading tutorial files from the book's companion website), Laying the Groundwork (an overview of the approach to be taken), Styling the Document (what we came here for) and ends with Branching Out (variations on the techniques just covered).
What you'll learn
Other topics cover a wide range of situations: a calendar, online greeting card, multi column layouts, etc. As you re-create each of these you move further and further into the world of CSS. If you're the kind of person who favors experiential learning, learning by doing, you'll feel right at home.
Don't take my word for it
To help you decide whether this book is for you, visit the book's website: ericmeyeroncss.com. You'll get a complete table of contents that includes screen shots of the various projects. To learn more about Eric, visit meyerweb.com. To see some of his innovative CSS experiments, check out CSS/Edge.
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