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Books for CSS web designers

Posted on by Clive Walker in CSS Books

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Over the last few weeks I have been reading two books, Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm and DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith. At first glance, they are completely different subjects but if you are someone who regularly works with cascading style sheets (CSS), I think you will find both very useful (perhaps for different reasons). In the first article of a series, I review the Bulletproof approach...

Bulletproof Web Design


  • Author: Dan Cederholm
  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders (Sep 2005)
  • ISBN: 0321346939
  • Amazon UK Price: £14.49 (1-10-06)

This book is extremely clearly written and nicely designed which makes it an easy read. Each chapter features an example of old style design (for example, an expandable header section, floating images, rounded corner boxes) followed by a detailed explanation of a 'bulletproof' method that achieves the same effect.

By deconstructing a series of real-world websites, author and web designer extraordinaire Dan Cederholm outlines 10 strategies for creating standards-based designs that provide flexibility, readability, and user control.

One of the best things about the book for me is that it gives an insight into the author's thinking behind each approach. This is invaluable because it encourages you to explore different methods of structuring your HTML. For example, the chapter on Creative Floating uses a definition list to create a commonly used 'teaser box' with product image and associated information. It's not a method that I would have considered but it makes sense to do it this way.

This provides a good example of the thinking behind the design

The final chapter applies the examples by creating a fluid, flexible one-page layout. Again, this provides a good example of the thinking behind the design. It's not a layout type that I have used much myself but it's something to consider for future website projects.

The use of a couple of CSS hacks in the final chapter is easily explained in a simple fashion. I'd prefer not to use hacks if at all possible (particularly with Internet Explorer 7 expected to be released soon) and my own preference is to use IE conditional comments where possible. There's no mention of this and that's my only slight criticism of the book.

The book website also provides downloadable code for all the examples so it's easy to follow each chapter in your own HTML editor.

I highly recommend the book. I'll be looking at DOM Scripting in a few days.

Buy the book: Bulletproof Web Design

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