Although it teaches CSS well, the book suffers a bit from being somewhat verbose (518 pages!) and disorganized. For example, on page 17, after spending several pages showing how to include @import in a <style> statement, with appropriate warnings, caveats and hacks, Meyer informs us that <style> attribute is actually deprecated and should not be used. So now what? Meyer doesn't say. The only way to find out is to read the HTML spec.
Occasionally, Meyer also veers off into what seems to be his real interest: XML, tempting the reader to wonder whether it might not be easier to learn CSS the old fashioned way, by stealing and modifying someone else's .css file. Chapter 10 in the book describes how to create “floats”. This is an example of some floating text. But it's not Meyer's fault. As a computer language, HTML ranks with BASIC as one of the ugliest ever created. Adding CSS to the HTML specification must have felt like putting a band-aid on a bleeding patient who has a concussion, high cholesterol, two broken legs, bad breath, and no health insurance. HTML is held back by the result of the need for simplicity and speed, and by the need to accommodate buggy browsers like IE6 and Netscape 4.x. For example, as Meyer points out, it's necessary to enclose @import statements inside comments to prevent some browsers from printing the statement on the screen instead of executing it. XHTML is even worse, with its "self-closing tags" like <link ... />. Stuff like this can make even BASIC programmers cringe.
Another problem: since it's an O'Reilly Press book, Meyer is limited to four colors: gray, light gray, black, and white. For programming books, the lack of color is not usually a problem; but HTML is an exception, and the discourse suffers from the lack of color. There are few suggestions about artistic style. Andy Clarke's book (reviewed at right) is better at describing the many browser-specific caveats that the spec won't tell you. But if you just need to learn basic CSS, along with a couple of tricks, this is an excellent book, and it's the book I use when I need to check some detail about CSS.
his book delivers what the title promises: fine art. It's laid out like a typical art or architecture book, with lots of artistic photographs of random, unrelated items, along with colorful photos of well-designed web pages and snippets of CSS and XHTML that help the reader understand the general principles of using CSS to create them. The purpose is not to teach CSS, but to inspire web Two-column CSS layout is described in this book, but there are also many good tutorials on the net, such as http://css.maxdesign.com.au/floatutorial/. designers to use CSS 2 and CSS 3 creatively to build web sites that are not only visually appealing, but also maintain accessibility on any platform. It succeeds spectacularly, encouraging visually-oriented but non-technically-savvy users to unleash their creativity through CSS. You can see an example of the style Clark promotes at www.onions-usa.org (which actually is done entirely with tables instead of CSS). CSS can be learned easily enough from a book like Meyer's (reviewed at left) or from the W3C website (http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/), then use this non-technical guide to give your pages pizazz, panache, and professionalism.