Whenever I’ve developed Web applications, which I used to do all the time and now do only periodically, I’ve never had the luxury of receving HTML and CSS from the designer: only an image of the layout. I expect that’s not entirely uncommon, that the work of rendering the designs with HTML and CSS is sometimes the work of the developer along with the coding, and sometimes the work of the designer.
When I learned the craft originally, I’d found “Instant HTML Programmer’s Reference: HTML 4.0 Edition,” by Alex Homer, Chris Ullman and Steve Wright, to be an excellent resource. I still have a very, very battered copy of it always handy.
However, now that I’ve found myself writing a stylesheet again after several years of not having to do that, I wanted to refresh myself, and carted home several books from Barnes and Noble that looked useful. The one that looked best in the store turned out to be a fantastic choice. It’s Jon Duckett’s “HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites,” published by Wiley.
Why is it excellent? Well, the author doesn’t just identify all of the CSS properties and values with examples of the effects–which a lot of texts on the subject do. Duckett does more. He identifies the fundamentals, such as block and inline elements, which are implicit in the technology, and layers his account of each property and value on that foundation. Then he tops it off by presenting state-of-the-art advice and useful techniques.
As other reviewers of the book have mentioned, the thing also looks gorgeous. Duckett himself is credited as a designer along with Emme Stone.
I was going to post this review where I thought it would have the most effect, on Amazon.com, but there I was surpised to find that the book is only available through the marketplace and not sold directly by the world’s biggest bookseller. That’s unfortunate. I think everyone that has anything to do with getting pages up on the Web would benefit from owning Jon Duckett’s book.