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CSS: The Missing Manual

(Missing Manuals)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,077 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Cascading Style Sheets can turn humdrum websites into highly-functional, professional-looking destinations, but many designers merely treat CSS as window-dressing to spruce up their site's appearance. You can tap into the real power of this tool with CSS: The Missing Manual. This second edition combines crystal-clear explanations, real-world examples, and dozens of step-by ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by O'Reilly Media (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  1,077 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Don Victorio
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great tips for writing code. This is a keeper and should be reviewed at least annually.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finally returned this book to the library. I miss it already. I had learned alot - it was well set-up and easy to follow. But now I am taking a course at the college.
Nguyen Huu Anh Vu
For beginner, this is the book you'll want to read to quickly up to speed with the current CSS landscape.
The author explains the common CSS properties in detail, gives practical example as well as useful advices on common problems (div vs span, class vs id, better CSS file structure, better CSS class name...)

Originally, I ordered the book in my company but it got borrowed by many people. So, I read CSS tutorial on W3C instead. Most of the info in part I, II and some in part III are condensed pre
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I got what I wanted out of this book for sure, plus a lot more that I didn't really care about.

The useful stuff you may learn (if you know this stuff already, I would not recommend this beginners-level book)

1) The difference between a class and an ID
2) How to use descendent selectors
3) How to make use of inheritance to optimize CSS code
4) How to calculate "specificity" which is what determines which style gets displayed in case of conflicting styles for the same element (the style with the great
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creating websites using html can be very time consuming and somewhat limiting. Making editing changes over multiple pages is downright maddening. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the answer.

CSS enables the webmaster to set standards such as selecting a particular font size and color for all headings, subheadings, or texts without having to rewrite the html each time. This system also allows editing changes that carry over from one page to another to be changed automatically with a single change.
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
CSS: The Missing Manual is a good step by step manual for anyone interested in learning CSS. The book does assume that the reader has some basic experience with HTML. However, the CSS related material teaches the reader right from the very beginning.

Those new to CSS will likely read this book from start to finish, completing the tutorials as they go. In this way, they will learn how to create internal and external style sheets; the basics of text and image formatting; and more advanced techniqu
Derek Barber
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been using CSS for years but never really took the time to learn it. I would always just rely on various tutorials but never have a full grasp of exactly what I was doing. One area that I was fuzzy on was the use of descendent selectors. So after reading many amazon reviews, I ordered this book. Much of the book was a refresher for me, but I even enjoyed those sections as they helped to solidify my knowledge of those area. Overall, it's very well written and gives lots of clear examples. Th ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
So I have chosen not to rate this book as in terms of how much I liked it. I don't necessarily like reading books on CSS, HTML, Tech, etc., but I had to in this case because I am teaching myself.

In terms of being able to teach myself from this book, I thought that it was well laid out and easy to get through. Coming from the background of someone who only knew limited amounts of HTML, the book accomplished more than I hope for. Do I have a basic understanding of style sheets and how to use them
James Mowery
As far as CSS goes, this was an excellent manual in teaching the skills required to implement CSS in web design. While I already knew much of the material, I still was able to learn new tricks that I hadn't known previously

More importantly, after reading this book, you learn how much of a pain in the butt it is to develop for Internet Explorer. The book goes into depth about how to handle working with IE though, so not too much to worry about.

If you are a complete newbie to web development, you'
Jul 10, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I ran into a guy at Stacy's and by happenstance, literally bumped into each other. That turned into a really great converstation, just to find out the guy is a senior web master/designer. Then he goes on to tell me how he is a reviewer for O'Reilly and gets calls all the time from his publicist. I told him I wanted to get more involved with web development, and he told me that this book is a must-read for anyone wanting a solid footing in this fast-paced technological world. So of course I had t ...more
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
My review is not reflective of the quality of this book. The quality is excellent, however my rating is my personal view on how I benefited from the book. I did not have the foresight to know what level of technical detail would be in this book, and having worked in web programming for a while (although not explicitly HTML/CSS), I was already familiar with many of the topics. My main intent was to cover Part III which covers div based layouts (as opposed to table layouts) in great detail and I S ...more
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CSS: The Missing Manual made learning CSS so easy that I was disappointed when I got to the end. CSS was supposed to be a challenge! It was supposed to hurt! I'd struggled with it for years before getting this book, and suddenly, it was over. It was like hauling in the tanks and torpedoes and souped-up BFGs and getting ready for the final assault on Godzilla, and Godzilla slumps over and dies of a heart attack. NOT FAIR. So if you like challenges, read any other CSS book. If you want to master C ...more
Lori Bovitz
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech-writing
I really enjoyed working through this book. It has really helped me better understand the inner workings of CSS and especially how the cascading process works.

The tutorials were really helpful and I liked that I could get hands on experience working through the different aspects of CSS.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in getting a good foundation of CSS. Even if you have never worked with CSS before.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am really thrilled to find this series "The Missing Manual". Finally a computer book that is written in plain English, in a non-competitive human way, with tutorials and no extra cd, for extra expense, but downloadable files to go with lessons. Perfect for a this-time-of-life claiming my destiny sorta thing...(no I won't be retiring soon)
Thanks Mr. McFarland for caring about real human beings!
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm a novice when it comes to front-end dev work and very comfortable with backend development. The book (along with other references about HTML5) was very helpful, in particular the tutorials. However, it could have been written to be a little less verbose - this is probably the programmer in me talking. Otherwise, I'm happy with the book. For someone with zero HTML experience/CSS experience, this is what I was able to produce: ...more
I learned HTML way back in the 90s, and still had some of the old ways of doing things. This book helped me get a refresher on the right way to do HTML, in addition to the great info on CSS. I still have a lot to learn, and this is a great resource. Not really a reference book, but still something you can refer to.
Una Theia
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Complex, but easy to understand.
Provides fundamental, greatly explained concepts, good tutorials, tons of useful reference.

However, I found it sometimes annoying (maybe because of the neverending IE bugs, which the authors try fatigueless AND jocularly to solve/dissolve) and here and there too theoretical.

So far the best and the most comprehensive book about css.
Arun Mahendrakar
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book starts pretty basic, but gives a very detailed dive into CSS. This book shows you the different hacks needed for different browsers (ugh ugh IE)! David gives some really interesting tips and sites which display the power of CSS.

I believe I'll use this book as a CSS reference for months to come.
Rohit Tiwari
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My first book on CSS and guess what, I Completely understand the Css and HAve logical understanding of How tho write Css from scratch or to make changes in existing framework Css. Saved Lot of time in Debugging and writing the Right Css. Must Read for any CSS writer aspirant. I still refer it and Recommend to my juniors
Sean Keery
Good introduction to Cascading Style Sheet. Inheritance was the key point for me. The third section was too much and I skipped most of it. Left me wondering what the place of CSS will be in the future in light of xhmtl and xsl.
Scott Meyer
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good resource. Even if you use a design tool like Dreamweaver, this book is still extremely useful for understanding CSS structure and usage. It's got excellent tutorials and is also a useful reference book. Good tips on browser quirks too. ...more
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan of David McFarland's books in this series - he is able to actually keep technical manuals fairly enjoyable to read. I had a beginner's knowledge of CSS coming into this one, and afterwards I really feel pretty comfortable using it for any of my work. ...more
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lis
This book was VERY handy as I tried to get a handle on CSS. Wish I'd had the time to take it from front to back, using the guided exercises to really master the material. As it was, I used it mainly as a reference, and it served my purposes well. Definitely keeping it on hand. ...more
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I got to refresh my memory and hopefully learn something new, which I did. It's a good book. I didn't read everything in detail, but I skimmed through the whole thing. The humor in this book wasn't funny to me, but it's easy to ignore it. ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: technology
Good fast way to review CSS. It is a bit outdated with lots workarounds for IE 6 and IE 7. This book filled in some gaps I had in my understanding of CSS descendants and hierarchy and how to apply floats for positioning rather than rely on tables for positioning.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2020, school
Amazing reference book
Adrienne S
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really good, comprehensive guide to CSS, and nice to have as a reference even if you're already familiar with the subject. ...more
Darrell Ulm
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: web-development
One of the best CSS books, I believe, good examples, good writing.
Kevin Moore
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The 4th edition of this is tremendous. I am literally recommending it in a book on learning to code that I am writing.
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David Sawyer McFarland is president of Sawyer McFarland Media, Inc., a Web development company in Portland, Oregon. He's been building Web sites since 1995, when he designed his first Web site: an online magazine for communication professionals. He's served as the Webmaster at the University of California at Berkeley and the Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, and he has helped build, design, and ...more

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