I recently picked up Web Designer’s Reference : An Integrated Approach to Web Design with XHTML and CSS by Craig Grannell after seeing a reference to it on Slashdot. I have realized since starting to work with WordPress that I am a little behind on things like CSS and XHTML and had to get up to date, since most of the themes and styles looked like greek to me and I had a hard time modifying them – because I didn’t know what they meant.
The book is really well written. It takes you through not only the mechanics of CSS but takes you through step by step examples that you can walk through to get some hands on experience, something I really need when learning something new.
Now that I know a little more about CSS, I don’t think I’ll ever look at web page design the same way again. I’m one of those people whose markup abilities were kind of stuck in the 90’s because of the lack of consistent CSS support across browsers when CSS was first coming out. I figured if it didn’t work consistently everywhere, I might as well wait until it does. It just so happened I waited for what now seems like forever. I had no idea that CSS had gotten so powerful.
Some of the areas Craig covers in his book include:
- An Introduction to Web Design
- Web Page Essentials
- Working with Text
- Working with Images
- Creating Navigation
- Introduction to Layout
- Tables: How Nature (and the W3C) Intended
- Layouts with CSS
- Working with Frames
- Getting User Feedback (I found some really interesting stuff in here)
- Adding Multimedia
- Testing, Tweaking and Uploading
Craig also includes an XHTML reference, a web color reference, an entities reference, and a CSS reference towards the end of the book.
From an XHTML perspective, Craig covers a lot of the features related to accessibility, which wound up really interesting to me as well. I learned a lot from these sections.
If you are like me, and blew off even looking at CSS until now, this is definitely the book for you. It’s an easy read for those of us who haven’t been paying attention to this aspect of software development and includes great examples to walk you through the power of decoupling display from your mark up.
I now have enough detail to know where I need to head next and some practical experience with the examples to understand the basic concepts. Sometimes that’s all you need.