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CSShark - Recommended Books / Reading Material
The CSS Know-How Site


CSS Links

PLEASE NOTE: None of the books recommended below result in any financial gain for us. The only reason they are mentioned is because we have found them useful.

New Books:
HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS (Dan Shafer)
CSS Books:
Eric Meyer on CSS (Eric A. Meyer)
Cascading Style Sheets (Owen Briggs,Steven Champeon,Eric Costello,Matt Patterson)
CSS - The Definitive Guide (Eric A. Meyer)
CSS - Designing for the Web (Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos)
Cascading Style Sheets 2.0 (Eric Meyer)
CSS - Pocket Reference (Eric Meyer)
Core CSS (Keith Schengili-Roberts)


New Books:


HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS
by Dan Shafer

June 2003

A new kid on the block, this book... I haven't read it yet (working on that), but from what I can see this book is *not* like Utopia, but rather has both feet firmly on the ground, no fluff, hands-on, real-world CSS application.

I'm looking forward to reading this book and will post a review as soon as I'm through with it :)

Read more about it here:


CSS Books:


Eric Meyer on CSS - Mastering the Language of Web Design
by Eric Meyer
New Riders

August 2002

This book took me by surprise!

As a convinced collector of Eric Meyer's books I was a bit hesitant at first: I'm more used to references, and as a 'code warrior' I'd rather read the W3C specifications than a nice little article about how cool it is to colour a heading.

So when I heard about the project-oriented approach I had, well, a few suppressed doubts.

Ubboy, was I wrong!

The projects make it actually easier to see the connections between the theory and code on one side, and the results/web page on the other side. Handy chunks that allow you to take one part and right away adapt it to your problem on your site. Or to work through the whole project and see it take shape.

Now I have a book that entices me with neat ideas - and the images that show me how it could look. This is one of the very few [tekkie] books that I love to aimlessly wander through: Here I enjoy a delicious morsel of code, there I pick an idea how I could layout that one site I'm supposed to do right now instead of ...

Make no mistake: this book is still full to the brim with code, theory and mental agility courses, but Eric Meyer combines this with his typical writing style: concise, clear, to the point and with a certain lightness and wit that is in all of his writings.

When I heard that Eric Meyer is writing another book, I began to wait (not very patiently).

This book was worth the wait.

Read more about it here:


Cascading Style Sheets - Separating Content from Presentation
by Eric Costello of "glish"-fame, Owen Briggs of "the noodleincident", Steven Champeon and Matt Patterson.

July 2002

This is a no-nonsense book for CSS *here and now*, and shows practical, day-to-day CSS usage. My personal favourite chapters in this book are Chapter 9 (x-browser CSS) - because we will have to develop for NN4.xx for *years* to come (sigh) and Chapter 7 (Typography). Oh, and Chapter 1 to 4 - for the fundamentals; and Chapter 5 and 8 and 6... I went through all the examples, and I think I actually understood the Thinking behind "Tantek's Hack" (not that I could reproduce it, but there, for a moment, I understood...).

All in all: a very good book. I would not recommend it for a total beginner in HTML and CSS, but for a webbie who wants to do more than point-'n-click it is a valuable addition.

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Cascading Style Sheets - The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly Books)
by Eric Meyer

I learn something new from this book whenever I open it. I think it is *absolutely* essential, and I'm grateful that Eric Meyer writes with a "light hand" - make no mistake: that is heavy stuff. The theory behind CSS, usage of the properties and thorough explanations: if you are serious about CSS you will need that. And you will come back to read it again, and again. At least I did, and I still do. My first exemplar is now retired, because it started to disintegrate...

For me, "The Definitive Guide" together with the Lie/Bos book complete and compliment each other, and when I'm trying to grasp a problem I read about it in both books. That usually helps clear up things pretty fast.


Cascading Style Sheets - Designing for the Web (Addison-Wesley)
by Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos

This book is a very thorough explanation of CSS and has a more theoretical approach than "The Defintitve Guide". That is a good thing, because it can show what is possible; and it is a bad thing, because it is not browser supported reality yet.

Often if you have two books about a topic you can't shake the feeling that the authors (or at least one of them) took liberties with the text of the other book. Not in this case. And that is why I have both and - in case of fire - would save both :)

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Cascading Style Sheets 2.0 - Programmer's Reference
by Eric Meyer

This book is exactly what it says: a Programmer's Reference. Every CSS 2.0 property, with description and even small examples to the syntax, browser compatibility and 'caveats'.

That is a fairly compressed book - but you will be surprised what wealth of know-how you will find. Thing that you've lost strands of hair over because *it is not working*: you have a good chance that you'll find the one sentence that makes it clear why it can't be working... or should not be working .... or should be working, but can't because of...


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CSS - Pocket Reference
by Eric Meyer

A sweet, small little thingie. Down to the absolute basics: Properties, values, support.... what you need in a pocket reference is there.

I surprised myself by never leaving the house without it: one never knows when one encounters those pesky waiting times, and they lost all nuisance for me (no, I'm not a very patient person...). Instead of drumming my fingers, I whip out my pocket reference and do something useful with that time.

Small enough to fit in a purse or the laptop case, the Pocket Reference walks with me and I don't want to miss it :)


Core CSS Cascading Style Sheets (With CD-ROM)
by Keith Schengili-Roberts

If you consider buying this book: don't. You will further your advances in CSS more effectively if you take that money and buy ice to cool your smoking forehead.

This is one of the very, very few books that I sent back. I consider it as useless: the properties are better explained at the W3C specifications, the examples are useless, no mentioning of x-browser traps, the whole book reeks of fast-written, simply for jumping on the big CSS-waggon, but without true understanding, experience or real-world applications .... I want to repeat the words 'superficial' and 'useless', but that's ... yeah, useless.

Summary: if you want to do something with CSS, there are good books out there. This book is not one of them.

Is your 'pet' book missing? Have you found those reviews helpful? Please mail me at .
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