Speaking in Styles: Fundamentals of CSS

Author: Jason Cranford Teague
Publisher: New Riders, 2009
Pages: 360
ISBN: 978-0321574169
Aimed at: Web designers
Pros: Clarifies how code translates to style with plenty of examples
Cons: Longwinded in places
Reviewed by: Sue Gee

This book is designed to cure web designers of their fear of, or reluctance to use, CSS (cascading style sheets) which they perceive as being a programming language and therefore the preserve of developers.

It is a well designed book, with consistent use of colour to help convey its lessons. Another design feature is that the left hand page of each spread contains information while the right hand page illustrates the points being made.

The first of the book's three sections is a Web Primer which starts by introducing the three core components of a web page - HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It then devotes a chapter to the Web Designer's Toolbox that begins with an overview of the four most common browsers - IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera - all of which are catered for in what follows with Firefox being the one favoured for development so several Firefox add-ons are reveiwed together with some code editors and other online tools. Chapter 3 sets out to dispel some myths of CSS - that it is for developers not designers, that it can't handle a wide variety of desins and that it suffers fom browser inconsistencies,

Jason Teague draws a parallel between mastering CSS and being fluent in a language. Part 2 of the book is devoted to CSS Grammer with chapters on Syntax - how to create CSS rules; Semantics - where to put style rules; and Vocabulary - keywords and variables, font properties and text syles and other elements. The title of  Part 3, "Speaking Like a Native", continues the language analogy but in fact this is where the components presented earlier are put together. It covers the process of web development and reviews best practices when planning and building a website. It looks at layout, typograhpy, navigation and "chrome".

This approach taken by this book is also valuable to developers who are already conversant with CSS but want an insight into web design.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 September 2009 )