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Stylin with CSS

Learn the basics of cascading style sheets By David James Rockingham III

Stylin' With CSS by Charles Wyke-Smith
Click image to purchase Stylin' With CSS
For years, youve heard about cascading style sheets and the problems that go along with the use of it in your website. With web browsers becoming more compatible with the cascading style sheet specifications, the time has come to learn how CSS can improve your website design and interface. By using Charles Wyke-Smiths Stylin with CSS: A Designers Guide, you can learn proper CSS syntax in short order.

The eight chapter, 288 page book begins with some of the beginning issues of CSS. From the beginnings of the CSS to the useful techniques like creating the no scrolling, static background image, Wyke-Smith provides some easy to learn techniques with plenty of examples to test your CSS skills.

In the Book
Starting with chapter one, Wyke-Smith begins by explaining the structure of an XHTML document. XHTML is a structure of code based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). Chapter two explains the basics of CSS code. The author covers the basic elements of cascading style sheets and how they work together such as the three ways to add CSS code to your webpages (inline, embedded and linked), the proper syntax of CSS rules, classes, IDs, attributes, declarations and inheritance values.

Chapter three covers the management of fonts using CSS. He shows how you can specify the use of fonts, the various types of font families and he even shows the differences in appearance from the various browsers and platforms. Remember that just because something looks right in your web browser, dont assume that the web page looks the same way on a visitors browser. When you see how appearances can change across platforms, youre going to want to choose a standard font like Arial to be sure.

Chapter four through six covers positioning, basic and advanced css page layout. Some of the elements that you will learn in these three chapters include the creation and the parameters of boxes, positioning, float, clear and display properties. chapter five is the first step towards web design using CSS. This includes designing a two-column layout, a three column layout, and use of float and clear properties. Chapter six will take you out a little further into page layout by showing how you can control the display of background images from various directions such as horizontal, left justifed, tiled. Wyke-Smith ends the chapter by showing how you can build a layout and template.

In chapter seven, Wyke-Smith demonstrates how to create some very cool interface items for your website. A few years back, the craze among web designers was to make a navigation menu using javascript and a series of on and off state images. You would have the images alternate based on the mouse pointer being dragged over the image and off of it. With CSS, you can now create a text menu that can also produce that on and off state. The author also shows you how to create a drop-down menu that can also utilize the CSS on and off state. He closes the chapter by teaching you to use CSS and javascript to implement a search feature into your website.

By the time you get to chapter eight, the author begins to teach you how to incorporate CSS into your web designs. This is the last and only chapter that the issue of web designing with CSS is covered which was a little disappointing. Wyke-Smith does offer some free downloadable templates that you can get from a website set up for this book.

The Final Word
The book is rather short at 288 pages compared to other CSS books. While the book does offer plenty of great techniques, I felt that the book would serve as a great resource for beginning CSS coders who just want to learn the proper syntax techniques. This book is not for those looking to advance their CSS design skills. I enjoyed some of the font style references that author Wyke-Smith made in chapter three. I never realized that the look of your website can change so dramatically when viewing a website through a number of different browsers. That changed my view of CSS and made me realize that I should be choose the more standard CSS tags to incorporate into my own website.

The author is witty and he makes the process of learning CSS enjoyable and less of a task which makes it easier to learn. Theres plenty of reference pictures and samples throughout the book that you can code in a text editor like Notepad and test for yourself. Personally, I feel that is the best way to learn. By writing the syntax and tweaking bits and pieces of it, I find that individuals can pick up the structure quickly as well as becoming more proficient at coding from scratch.

Stylin' with CSS by Charles Wyke-SmithStylin' with CSS can help you get started in learning cascading style sheets and will serve as a great reference guide as you begin designing your website. After you pick up this book and get yourself acquainted with CSS, then you will be prepared for the more sophisticated possibilities that cascading style sheets can offer.

You can click HERE to purchase Stylin with CSS by Charles Wyke-Smith.

About the Author
Charles Wyke-Smith who has been creating Web sites since 1994, and is currently Director of Production at Nacio, a corporate hosting and development company in Novato, California, that focuses on user experience, information architecture, and interface design. He has worked as a Web design consultant for such companies as Wells Fargo, ESPN Videogames, and The University of San Francisco. Wyke-Smith has also taught multimedia and interface design and spoken at many industry conferences.

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David James Rockingham III is a former radio disc jockey and network administrator. An avid gamer and technology guru who enjoys rock music, sunsets, Star Wars video games, Visual Pinball, classic hot rods and superhero movies (except The Hulk). You can find David James answering questions on DMN Forums ( His articles appear on Consumer Electronics Net ( and Digital Media Net (
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