Author: David Powers
Publisher: Friends of ED, 2009
Aimed at: CSS beginners
Pros: Task-oriented approach
Cons: Principles of CSS are scattered through the chapters
Reviewed by: David Conrad
This is a book on basic CSS - that is hand crafted CSS rather than CSS generated by a web editor. As such what matters are the general principles of how CSS works rather than the details of any particular style attribute.
The book starts off with the history of CSS and why you need to use it. Then it starts to tackle individual common tasks. Chapter 2 is all about improving the look of text and links. Then we move on to text layout - margins, <div> and <span> - how to flow text around images, backgrounds and borders.
Chapter 6 deals with the box model in terms of "the mystery of width and height". From here we move into even more specialized tasks - styling lists, menus and tables. Then we return to more general considerations in Chapter 10 by way of positioning elements accurately. Chapter 11 continues with general guidelines for page layout and Chapter 12 considers printing styles. None of the examples take us into difficult territory.
The task-centered approach of the book can make it more difficult to see the underlying principles of CSS but if you like to find out how thinks work by discovering how to do things it is a reasonable approach. Some of the explanations are a bit long winded and the boxouts tend to lengthen the text and stop it from getting to the point even more - but it's nothing too serious as long as you are interested in following the plot.
If you want a how-to approach to CSS then this is a good starting point.