Visual Network Enlightenment. Book review for web designer
Information for consideration
CSS Zen Garden is a site that was born on May 8, 2003. The site consists of a single HTML file, by the example of which it is shown how dramatically its appearance can change after a simple change of the style sheet connected to the file. The site was considered (and is) an excellent demonstration of the power and capabilities of CSS design.
I learned about the CSS Zen Garden site the very moment it appeared. I looked at him and went on. The idea seemed interesting to me, but I did not have enough time to look at all the design options, and I found there what I expected. But then the book The Zen of CSS Design, by Dave Shea and Molly E. Holzschlag, appeared.
The book is entirely devoted to the various designs of the CSS Zen Garden website – but not just a simple demonstration of how different designers coped with their homework. On the example of projects, the reader is told about everything he needs to know about CSS in order to create any website. Since the HTML file remains unchanged all the time, it is easier for the authors of the book to concentrate solely on CSS technology and how to apply it.
What is in the book?
The book pleasantly caresses the eye. Each section contains a full-size image of one of the CSS Zen Garden page designs. After a brief review of the design, the authors proceed to a detailed description of certain design issues (see the list of chapters below). It is difficult to find a more detailed and complete account of how information can be presented on a web page.
The topics covered in the book even concern such things as design for people with impaired color perception, and the use of transparency in graphic images in design.
Each chapter (with the exception of the first) considers several different design options. The first chapter presents an HTML file that serves as the basis for all design layouts, as well as a description of how and why this file was created.
View Source We study the source
Layout Page Layout
Imagery Graphic Elements
Special Effects Special Effects
Reconstruction Correction of deficiencies
The book is written more in terms of design than in terms of writing code.
Convenience feed materials
The format of presenting information is quite convenient: the book is divided into small portions that are easy to “digest” – after reading each chapter, I caught myself wondering how much I could understand.
The field tips are great. Do not forget to read them.
I would like the design number under which it appears on the csszengarden.com website to appear on every page (in the “basement”), and not just at the beginning of the chapter.
Sometimes I got the feeling that some topic was only slightly opened by the authors. But this is most likely due to the immense depth of the topic, and not to the flaws in the presentation. In addition, the authors accompany each section with an abundance of links.
This book is not so much about “How?”, But about “Why?”. Why should I use different fonts? Why should I use graphics in my design? Why should I use special effects? Why should I use CSS for layout? (The answer to the last question is as if given by the book itself, but you understood what I am talking about).
There are many resources telling how to do something with CSS, well, for example, how to make a border around an element — but far fewer sources answer the question “why should we do this?”. This book gives.
The best addition to books like “Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide” (rather, the book with the answer to the question “How?”) And “Eric Meyer on CSS” together with “More Eric Meyer on CSS” (both halfway between ” ?” and why?”). I don’t want to say that it was very easy to write such a book. It is filled with useful tips and examples, clothed in explaining why you should go this way.
The authors had an abundance of material, but their genius lies in how they managed to submit and organize information. The book not only enriched my knowledge of CSS, it added value to the project “CSS Zen Garden”. I plan to visit the site more often, critically assessing new designs.
What is this book about?
Use CSS to create websites.
For what circle of readers?
If you know what a “Box Model bug” is in IE for Windows, if you know how to typeset using CSS, this book is for you. Read it, read it again, before you start a new project, read it when working with the site “CSS Zen Garden”.
If you have never positioned divs in your life, then something like “More Eric Meyer on CSS” will be good for you to start with, well, you should read this book at least to see what you should strive for.
A barrel of honey
Each section focuses on a particular aspect of site layout using CSS. Everything is done in such a way that it is quite easy to find something useful for yourself.