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Weblog of Edwin Martin, webdeveloper

  1. CSS Secrets book review

    Lea Verou’s new book CSS Secrets is for frontend webdevelopers who use CSS in their daily work. The book assumes you already know, for example, CSS2 selectors, transforms and ::before/::after pseudo elements. But the book is still useful if you don’t. You do need to have a basic understanding of CSS, so if you’re still struggling with position: relative and position: absolute, you’ll better start with a beginner level book.

    The book shows 47 “CSS Secrets”: problems you might encounter in your work and are not trivial to fix. This approach works very well. It’s much better than having long lists of features you still don’t know how to apply exactly. Every secret has nice illustrations and clear explanations of what the code does. With some secrets, Lea takes you through the thought process to the final solution.

    The book is certainly not just a list of 47 problems and solutions, but it also shows you best practices, caveats and how to make your code backwards compatible. What’s really clever about this book is that it touches every important technology you should know about. Not only all important CSS features like CSS Animations, but also Sass, JavaScript and SVG. It doesn’t explain everything you can do, but it shows that it exists, how to use it in practice and it might trigger you to read more about it.

    Lea put a lot of effort in this book and it shows: the layout and illustrations are beautiful and I didn’t find any errors or inconsistencies, although I do find them in most other computer books.

    Since this book is published by O’Reilly, you might wonder why the book is not called CSS Cookbook, since it seems to fit in the popular cookbook series. I think the recipes in the cookbook series are more for beginners and the recipes in CSS Secrets are too advanced. Will this book be the beginning of a new series of books with advanced recipes? Will there be a JavaScript Secrets book or a Sass Secrets book?

    This book is for everybody who knows CSS and want to keep up with the advances of browsers in the last couple of years. This book is not for people who thinks their current knowledge is enough or who rather read lists of features and specifications.

    Buy CSS Secrets at Amazon (affiliate link)

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