web design using cascading style sheets
This is essentially a series of practical tutorials on using style sheets. Eric Meyer on CSS talks you through a series of web page makeovers in fine detail, illustrating the tips and tricks of a professional designer. It’s a book for people who already know HTML, but who want to move on into using style sheets. In fact that’s the point from which he starts – showing you how to convert an existing HTML page. The advantages of using CSS are threefold. Your web pages will be smaller and will download more quickly; you gain fine control over the layout of the page; and if you change the appearance of your site, it can be done with no more than one or two lines of code in the style sheet.
He goes through one makeover project in each chapter, showing how each additional line of coding affects the layout of the page. The changes are illustrated with screenshots each step of the way. For those who are really keen to learn, the book has its own web site where you can download all the pages and style sheets used in the tutorials. The idea is you can read his advice and work through the pages in a text editor at the same time.
His examples include styling a press release and an events calendar; bringing hyperlinks to life; controlling and styling navigation menus; and dealing with forms and background images using layers.
One of the most interesting chapters for me was creating style sheets for producing print versions of Web pages – something we have been asked to do a lot recently.
He also covers how to float and position page elements, how to create multi-column pages, and even how to combine sliced graphics with style sheet positioning to make non-rectangular pages.
It all becomes quite technically advanced, but he sticks to his one step at a time approach and explains every change of code and what effect it will have.
This will appeal to those people who want to get hands-on experience of style sheets, and I imagine it will also be useful as a reference for checking the effect of using any coding element – including the often unforeseen side effects.
© Roy Johnson 2003
Eric A. Mayer, Eric Mayer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design, Indianapolis: IN, New Riders, 2003, pp.322, ISBN 073571245X