Caitlin BaileyFront End Developer

Handcrafted CSS

Handcrafted CSS was a great addition to my collection. The earlier chapters were mostly review of things I’ve already learned from blogs and practice, but the latter chapters especially were invaluable to me.

CSS3 is something I’ve been excited to use for ages and recently started using on various projects, because, as this book will hammer into your head, all websites do not have to look exactly the same in every browser. Every once and a while they might have to – but for the most part, it isn’t a big deal if the more ‘modern’ browsers like the latest version of Safari get rounded corners and IE8 does not.

In this book there are a lot of examples of CSS3 techniques that are available for use today and work in the recent versions Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. It shows what it will look like in Internet Explorer (both 8 and older versions) and also if your site does in fact have to look the same in all browsers, also gives some methods for achieving the same (or close enough) look with JavaScript or some hacks, and always with a graceful degradation in old browsers that don’t support even that.

The CSS3 sections of this book though were not the ones that I felt really taught me something, though they are certainly useful. I really appreciated the section on “clearfix” since it had another method for it that I hadn’t heard of before… but mostly it was the last two chapters that caught my attention.

The second to last chapter is on ‘the fluid grid’. It was packed with information and really easy to follow, and demonstrated how we, the developers, can translate a fixed width website into a fluid width beauty, including methods for images that I didn’t know worked! I’m really excited to try out a fluid width website soon, perhaps experimenting with my own.

The final chapter is just on those little extra touches that can go a long way toward making your website a finished product. Fancy ampersands, @font-face, simple jQuery stuff… lots of basic things that can give a site a bit of polish.

The whole book is written in a friendly and very readable manner; it isn’t dry at all! I was also happy to note that in some sections that looked like code segments one might want to copy and paste onto their computer had web links provided so it didn’t have to be copied by hand out of the text.

All in all it was an enjoyable read and a valuable addition to my collection of web development books.