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Getting back into css...

Sent by Alan Stevens on 22 September 2005 21:09

> Hi,
> I have a decent level of understanding of how style sheets work, but I
> would like to get to the point where I can design something along the
> lines of css zen garden. By that I mean that I would like to have a deep
> enough understanding of both xhtml and css so that I could design a web
> page with multiple designs (like zen garden). I find that when I look at
> layout templates that I don't always understand some of the concepts
> applied.  
> Can anyone recommend a good book for me?
> Thanks in advance,
> Michael Beauchamp
> IT Developer 1
> Amica Mutual Insurance Company
> 25 Amica Way
> Lincoln, RI 02865-1155
> 1-800-992-6422 ext. 23224
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Boy I am in a reply'in mood today - as usual it means I have work I 
don't want to complete :)

Since you say you have a good understanding of the basics, I would 
recommend websites over most books, as they tend to give good 
intermediate/advanced discussions (alistpart etc etc), while most books 
on CSS are aimed at the beginner. One exception that people rave about 
is "Bulletproof Web Design', but I haven't read it and can't comment. 
You can google lots of good websites and blogs to find what you are 
looking for.

What got me over the hump was leaving the theory behind and doing 
exercises. I am very much a learn by doing person. There are lots of 
good example books, but 'Eric Meyer on CSS' and 'More Eric Meyer on CSS' 
where the most helpful to me, because there were some 30 excersises I 
could do step by step and compare with what was in the book. By the time 
you are done with those you will have a good grasp of positioning and 
styling. Positioning is not intuitive, at least it wasn't for me, and I 
had to do lots of hands-on work before I felt like I had the hang of 

My advice is to load the sites you like into a FireFox browser (make 
sure you get the developer toolbar and render as source extensions). 
Then you can use those and the DOM inspector and "edit css" tool in FF 
to understand what's going on. If you find a piece of code you can't 
decipher, email the author or post it here and I bet you'll get a 
competent response.

Good luck!

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