Stylin’ with CSS: A Designer’s Guide

After Charles Wyke-Smith answered a lengthy question on CSS, his friend told him, “You should put this all in a book – I’d buy it.” Through his connection with an editor at New Riders, Wyke-Smith landed himself a book deal.

Like many CSS books on the market, Stylin’ with CSS introduces web standards, XHTML, and of course CSS. Wyke-Smith explains how CSS works, how to style text, how to create page layout, and so forth. Since the book offers nothing new or unique, isn’t it a bit too late to come out with a beginner CSS book at this time?

In Wyke-Smith’s introduction he writes, “Stylin’ with CSS is all about designing and building Web pages that look stylish and professional…” Yet the examples provided in the book are anything but those two elements. Although the book is not about design, and the main focus is on CSS, the author should at least try to create something visually appealing to attract the designers. The example does not have to be like a Zen Garden piece, but a simple layout with a nice use of type is good enough. Unfortunately, the screenshots provided in the book turn me away. The pages look as if they were designed in 1994 – when the author first started designing for the web.

If Stylin’ was published a year ago, it might make some impact, but it is too late now since there is an array of well-written CSS books already published. From a designer standpoint, I have no need for this book. Why should I learn to create something that does not pull me in? Besides, the raw tutorials covered in the book could be found online.