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Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns by Michael Bowers

 
Book Review Team
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<pre>Author/s : Michael Bowers
Publisher : Apress
Category : Web design, HTML and JavaScript
Review by : Jeanne Boyarsky
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
"Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns" is a valuable reference for using CSS on your website. You should be familiar with reading or writing CSS and have some experience with HTML for this book to be readable. In particular, you should feel comfortable with CSS syntax and high-level concepts.

The book is still useful if you know CSS "a little" -- you may have to read parts a few times. In particular, there are a few places were terms are defined after they are used. It's a bit of a catch 22, for the author as introducing those terms relies on the initial sections. There aren't many of these and all becomes clear by reading the patterns twice.

I liked the style of having code/screenshots on one side and the pattern/description/limitations on the other side of each two page set. This consistency made the book easy to follow. I particularly liked the emphasis of making the patterns accessible to people using different browsers, screenreaders and with Javascript disabled.

Some of the design patterns are teaching patterns to understand concepts and terminology. The rest are techniques you could want to use when designing a web page. Some techniques are self-contained, like styling text. The end of the book builds more complex patterns out of those that came before. The box model and layout ones are quite valuable.

The companion website lets you play with each pattern. In summary: buy this book!


More info at Amazon.com
More info at Amazon.co.uk
 
Raghavan Muthu
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Thanks for the beautiful job BRT!
 
Shoumin Li
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Thanks for the reviews.
And I had buyed it by amazon.
And I think it is the best book about css I have seen.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Originally posted by Shoumin Li:
Thanks for the reviews.
And I had buyed it by amazon.
And I think it is the best book about css I have seen.

Thanks for the comments Shoumin. It's nice for people reading this to see that people other than the reviewer liked it!
 
Deepak Jain
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Is there a indian edition available?
 
Book Review Team
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<pre>Author/s : Michael Bowers
Publisher : Apress
Review : Link
Reviewed by : Katrina Owen
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
I absolutely love this book. I have two copies of it - one at work, one at home.

The author focuses on browser compatibility, and accessibility to screenreaders. I have been disappointed only once - when I thought 'accessibility' included those who do not use a pointing device. But that is more of a javascript question than CSS/HTML, and therefore falls outside the scope of the book.

Most CSS/HTML code I see employs the "programming by coincidence" model. Add a rule here to fix something that doesn't quite work there, use a negative margin here, maybe a browser-specific hack there. In the end, it works. It might even look pretty good, but invariably, the result is unnecessarily bloated.

Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns makes it possible to code deliberately. It provides a solid fundamental understanding of how elements and rules interact, and especially how the same element or attribute will behave differently in different environments.

In several cases, it has saved me hours of trying to achieve something which simply cannot be done in the current specification. At the same time, it has provided enough information to find a different approach that does work.

The book is very systematic, and while it is a great read cover-to-cover, it functions very well as a reference volume. The 'patterns' format (name/problem/solution/pattern) makes it very easy to locate the exact information you are looking for.

Summary: Buy this book. Read this book. I mean it.

More info at Amazon.com
[ June 06, 2008: Message edited by: Book Review Team ]
 
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