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Book Review | CSS3: The Missing Manual

Third Edition

This book is both board and deep. Meaning it covers a ton of topics and goes in-depth on all of them. This book is great for the beginner, but also has a lot of advanced material.

After a nice introduction that explains the structure of the book the author starts off Part 1 covering the basics. The book starts with the basics and leads us to advanced topics by the end of the book.

I have listed the 5 parts of the book below with the chapters they contain to give an idea of all the topics covered.

Part 1. CSS Basics
1. HTML for CSS
2. Creating Styles and Style Sheets
3. Selectors: Identifying What to Style
4. Saving Time with Style Inheritance
5. Managing Multiple Styles: The Cascade

Part 2. Applied CSS
6. Formatting Text
7. Margins, Padding, and Borders
8. Adding Graphics to Web Pages
9. Sprucing Up Your Site’s Navigation
10. CSS Transforms, Transitions, and Animations
11. Formatting Tables and Forms

Part 3. CSS Page Layout
12. Introducing CSS Layout
13. Building Float-Based Layouts
14. Responsive Web Design
15. Positioning Elements on a Web Page

Part 4. Advanced CSS
16. CSS for the Printed Page
17. Improving Your CSS Habits

Part 5. Appendixes
A. CSS Property Reference
B. CSS Resources

I have found CSS to be very powerful, but a lack of understanding can lead to some messy web sites. I have seen some really tragic HTML/CSS/JavaScript implementations. Reading this book and using it as a reference will help avoid that. The author does a great job of showing how things should be done the right way.

The author did a great job putting together the code samples. Each chapter has two folders. One with the beginning of the solution, and one marked finished for the end result of applying the techniques shown in the chapter.

The author does a great job covering responsive web design. This is something I have seen mangled up a lot. The author covers media queries, flexible grids, and fluid images. He also did a great job in this part of the book leading into responsive web design with chapters on CSS layout and float-based layouts.

The nice flow is actually found throughout the entire book. The chapters are put together in a very logical order which is one of the characteristics that make this book a good cover to cover read.

I also really liked the chapter on providing a print page using CSS. The is nothing more annoying than finding a great article, blog, or a product description that you want to print out that just won't print nicely. I can't tell you how many times I have recreated information on the web in word just to be able to print it. This chapter does a great job of showing you how to avoid aggravating your customers with unprintable pages.

The author's writing style make this an easy cover to cover read, but it is also laid out in such a way that it also makes a great reference.

Overall I found this book to be a great read and highly recommend it to all web developers and also to those Windows 8 Store App developers using HTML/CSS/JavaScript.

CSS3: The Missing Manual

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.