Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review: the Zen of CSS design

Whew... It took me forever to finish The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag. Honestly, this was a tough book to get through.

The book started with a brief introduction. The book is basically an in depth look at the website CSS Zen Garden. The introduction and first chapter introduced the website and it's purpose. CSS Zen Garden was created when CSS was a newcomer on the web scene. People were using CSS, but not to universally and not to its full potential. CSS Zen Garden was created for designers to submit amazing designs that really pushed the envelope to show what was possible with CSS. The remaining chapters highlighted some of the submissions and used them as a starting point to talk about different attributes of CSS design such as layout, typography, special effects, etc.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked that I was given practical examples of how CSS could be used. There is a lot to be learned from viewing the success of others. A lot of useful and advanced topics were covered throughout the book. On the other hand, I didn't like that the book didn't give many practical examples of how the CSS was actually executed. In the book's defense, you can easily go online and view the source, but when explaining how certain layouts are done I feel like a scaled down example would be beneficial. There were no working examples in the book so there is little hands on activity to be done.

Overall, I don't think I'll be purchasing this book. I think it was worth the read, but I doubt I'll go back to it for reference. I would recommend this book to designers and developers who are already fairly comfortable with CSS and are looking for fresh ideas.

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