Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

Web Site Development Books: CSS, HTML, XHTML, Web Standards

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The books recommended below each encompass CSS, HTML, XHTML, and Web Standards. You'll find practical, real-world solutions and great examples throughout each of these best-selling, highly recommended books.

  • Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS
    Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS, by Ian Lloyd. SitePoint (May 2, 2006)  by Ian Lloyd. Published by SitePoint, May 2, 2006. This book is receiving rave reviews! Ian's fabulous new book teaches Web development from scratch, without assuming any previous knowledge of HTML, CSS or Web development techniques. It introduces you to HTML and CSS as you follow along with the author, step-by-step, to build a fully functional web site from the ground up. However, unlike countless other “learn Web design” books, this one concentrates on modern, best-practice techniques from the very beginning, which means you'll get it right the first time. By the end of the book, you'll be equipped with enough knowledge to set out on your first projects as a professional web developer, or you can simply use the knowledge you've gained to create attractive, functional, usable and accessible sites for personal use. For more information, see also the author's companion site for Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS.
  • Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS, Second Edition
     Bulletproof Web Design, 2nd Edition. by Dan Cederholm  By Dan Cederholm. Published by New Riders Press (August 1, 2007). Dan Cederholm, well-known and highly regarded Web site designer, created quite a positive stir with his previous books, also recommended by The author's Bulletproof Web Design book information provides helpful details, including the Table of Contents, reviews about the book, example code, a sample chapter, and more. The publisher states about Bulletproof Web Design, Second Edition:
    No matter how visually appealing or content-packed a Web site may be, if it's not adaptable to a variety of situations and reaching the widest possible audience, it isn't really succeeding. In Bulletproof Web Design, author and Web designer extraordinaire, Dan Cederholm outlines standards-based strategies for building designs that provide flexibility, readability, and user control—key components of every sucessful site. Each chapter starts out with an example of an unbulletproof site one that employs a traditional HTML-based approach which Dan then deconstructs, pointing out its limitations. He then gives the site a make-over using XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), so you can see how to replace bloated code with lean markup and CSS for fast-loading sites that are accessible to all users. Finally, he covers several popular fluid and elastic-width layout techniques and pieces together all of the page components discussed in prior chapters into a single-page template.
  • Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, Third Edition
    Cover: Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, Third Edition, by Hakon Wium Lie, Bert Bos. Published 2005, by Addison-Wesley. By Hakon Wium Lie, Bert Bos. Published by Addison-Wesley, April 25, 2005. This 3rd Edition of the classic on CSS written by those who actually created CSS, is another best-seller on this important topic for Web site designers and developers. It not only provides the basics of CSS, it also explains the “why” of each design technique described.

    From the publisher:

    Direct from the creators of CSS, this is the definitive guide to CSS, today's indispensable standard for controlling the appearance of any Web or XML document. This book doesn't just show how to use every significant CSS 1 and 2.x feature; it carefully explains the “why” behind today's most valuable CSS design techniques. You'll find practical, downloadable examples throughout—along with essential browser support information and best practices for building high-impact pages and applications.

    Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, Third Edition covers every CSS 2.1 improvement and fix, from new height/width definitions in absolutely positioned elements to new clip property calculations. Clear, readable, and thorough, it's the one must-have CSS resource for every Web developer, designer, and content provider. Coverage includes

    • Mastering essential CSS concepts: Rules, declarations, selectors, properties, and more
    • Working with type: From absolute/relative units to font size and weight
    • Understanding CSS objects: Box model, display properties, list styles, and more
    • Exercising total control over spacing and positioning
    • Specifying colors for borders and backgrounds
    • Managing printing: Margins, page breaks, and more
    • Implementing media-specific style sheets for audio rendering, handhelds, and other forms of presentation
    • Moving from HTML extensions to CSS: Five practical case studies
    • Making the most of cascading and inheritance
    • Using external style sheets and @import
    • Integrating CSS with XML documents
    • Optimizing the performance of CSS pages
    • Includes a handy CSS Quick Reference printed on the inside covers
  • The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks, Practical Solutions to Common Problems
    The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks. by Rachel Andrew  By Rachel Andrew. Published by SitePoint Books, November 2004. This CSS book is fantastic. Rachel is a terrific writer, and you'll find easy-to-understand explanations of how to use CSS effectively for so many common needs, such as navigation, layouts, using CSS for colors, and so much more. The question-and-answer format makes it easy to use for reading cover-to-cover, learning how to use CSS, or as a reference for figuring out solutions.'s owner/editor uses this for figuring out solutions to cross-browser, cross-platform challenges, too, especially Internet Explorer 6. It's a helpful book for anyone, whether for beginners or advanced designers. Highly recommended for anyone who uses CSS or wants to learn how to use CSS.
  • CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
    Cascading Style Sheets, The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition. by Eric Meyer. O'Reilly Publishers, (November 2006). By Eric Meyer. O'Reilly Publishers, (November, 2006). As always, Eric Meyer writes clearly in easy-to-understand language. This book is an excellent starting point for learning how CSS works and as a reference book for experts with CSS. The 3rd edition chapters include:
    • CSS and Documents
    • Selectors
    • Structure and the Cascade
    • Values and Units
    • Fonts
    • Text Properties
    • Basic Visual Formatting
    • Padding, Borders, and Margins
    • Colors and Backgrounds
    • Floating and Positioning
    • Table Layout
    • Lists and Generated Content
    • User Interface Styles
    • Non-Screen Media

    From the publisher regarding the updated 3rd edition:

    Updated to cover Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's vastly improved browser, this new edition includes content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more. Author Eric Meyer tackles the subject with passion, exploring in detail each individual CSS property and how it interacts with other properties. You'll not only learn how to avoid common mistakes in interpretation, you also will benefit from the depth and breadth of his experience and his clear and honest style. This is the complete sourcebook on CSS.

    The 3rd edition contains:

    • Updates to reflect changes in the latest draft version of CSS 2.1
    • Browser notes updated to reflect changes between IE6 and IE7
    • Advanced selectors supported in IE7 and other major browsers included
    • A new round of technical edits by a fresh set of editors
    • Clarifications and corrected errata, including updated URLs of referenced online resources
  • CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions
     Cover - CSS Mastery. by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, Cameron Moll. 02-2006.  by Andy Budd, with Simon Collison, Cameron Moll. Published by friends of ED, February 13, 2006. Uses a tutorial approach and includes two entire chapters on working with browser inconsistencies, including CSS hacks, filters, bug fixing. Also includes image replacement; professional link, form, and list styling; pure CSS layouts; and much more. Chapters include:
    • Chapter 1: Setting the Foundations
    • Chapter 2: Visual Formatting Model Recap
    • Chapter 3: Background Images and Image Replacement
    • Chapter 4: Styling Links
    • Chapter 5: Styling Lists and Creating Nav Bars
    • Chapter 6: Styling Forms and Data Tables
    • Chapter 7: Layout
    • Chapter 8: Hacks and Filters
    • Chapter 9: Bugs and Bug Fixing
    • Case Study 1: More Than Doodles
    • Case Study 2: Tuscany Luxury Resorts

    Read author Andy Budd's weblog post about his new book, Take a Look Inside CSS Mastery. See also the book's Web site, CSS Mastery where you can download a sample chapter and the Table of Contents.

  • CSS Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition
    CSS Pocket Reference: Visual Presentation for the Web, 3rd Edition, by Eric Meyer. Published by O'Reilly, October, 2007. By Eric Meyer. Published by O'Reilly, October, 2007. Very helpful pocket reference for CSS2 to keep handy at all times. The 3rd Edition has been completely revised and updated to reflect the latest Cascading Style Sheet specifications, CSS2 and CSS2.1. So even if you have the 1st or 2nd Editions, this updated edition is well worth checking out. Chapters include rule structure, adding styles to HTML, selectors, specifying values, style precedence, classification of elements, boxes and borders, CSS property reference, CSS support charts, pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements, the cascade, font properties, color and background properties, box properties, classification properties, and units. For more information, visit Eric Meyer's Web site.
  • Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists
     Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint (07-2006).  By Shirley Kaiser. Published by SitePoint Books, July 2006. The author packs the entire book with helpful checklists and explanations, examples, and references to help with creating and maintaining standards-compliant, accessible, and lean markup and code behind the scenes, including HTML, XHTML, CSS, and more. For example, Chapter 9: Best Coding Practice: W3C Recommendations and Standards - Magic Markup, Excellent XHTML, Spectacular CSS. You'll also find checklists to make sure your site is visually appealing, loads quickly, is search engine friendly, and more. Along the way, other chapters cover creating accessible Web sites, Web site optimization, preparing and managing Web site content, usability, color, information architecture, navigation, search engine optimization, design, testing, preparing for launch, post-launch follow-up, and much more. In addition, all those who purchase the book have special access to downloadable, printable checklists to use for all your projects. More information: Companion Site for Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, author's Web site: SKDesigns.
  • Designing with Web Standards, 2nd Edition
    Book cover: Designing for Web Standards, 2nd Ed., by Jeffrey Zeldman. By Jeffrey Zeldman. Published by New Riders, July, 2006. Now in a new, updated, and revised 2nd edition. Best-selling book on designing and developing a practical, solid Web site based on Web standards. Well written, real world solutions, and covers a lot of ground, including HTML, XHTML, CSS, DOM, browser quirks, case studies, and much more. The 2nd edition screenshots and other graphics are also now in full color. Even if you already have the 1st edition, there are significant updates and new content in the 2nd edition to make it well worth purchasing. Highly recommended. Both editions are on's short list of all-time favorite books. Author's websites: Happy Cog, The Daily Report, and the author's Designing with Web Standards book information.
  • HTML Dog: The Best-Practice Guide to XHTML and CSS
    HTML Dog: The Best-Practice Guide to XHTML and CSS, by Patrick Griffiths. New Riders, Nov. 2006. By Patrick Griffiths. Published by New Riders Press, November, 2006. The author of this book is also the writer and owner behind the highly regarded, popular HTML Dog Web site, a Web site packed with helpful, easy-to-understand tutorials, including HTML and CSS. His book is destined to be fabulous. The description from the publisher for this book:
    For readers who want to design Web pages that load quickly, are easy to update, accessible to all, work on all browsers and can be quickly adapted to different media, this comprehensive guide represents the best way to go about it. By focusing on the ways the two languages—XHTML and CSS—complement each other, Web design pro Patrick Griffiths provides the fastest, most efficient way of accomplishing specific Web design tasks. With Web standards best practices at its heart, it outlines how to do things the right way from the outset, resulting in highly optimized web pages, in a quicker, easier, less painful way than users could hope for! Split into 10 easy-to-follow chapters such as Text, Images, Layout, Lists, and Forms, and coupled with handy quick-reference XHTML tag and CSS property appendixes, HTML Dog is the perfect guide and companion for anyone wanting to master these languages. Readers can also see the lessons in action with more than 70 online examples constructed especially for the book.
    Author's Web sites: HTMLDog, Vivabit.
  • HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide
    Book cover: HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide By Elizabeth Castro. Published by Peachpit Press, August 2006. This book series by Elizabeth Castro is the best-selling book on HTML and for good reason. She explains everything in easy-to-understand language, covers all the important bases of HTML, XHTML, and CSS, provides tips and warnings, and helpful illustrations and examples throughout the book. While the W3C Recommendations haven't changed since the 5th edition, how people use the specs has changed quite a bit. Fantastic. Highly recommended. Author's website with more about all her books: Cookwood Press, Liz's HTML Blog. As the author states,
    I have revamped the examples throughout the book to reflect new and updated browsers, the growing emphasis on standards, CSS layout, and also the push toward multimedia and syndication. There are brand new chapters on using CSS for Handhelds and on Syndication and Podcasting as well as added individual sections throughout the book. And it's all in color!

    From: Sixth Edition of HTML, XHTML, and CSS Visual QuickStart Guide! - blog post 08 July, 2006, Liz Castro

  • Learning Web Design: A Beginner's Guide to (X)HTML, StyleSheets, and Web Graphics, 3rd Edition  Cover - Learning Web Design: A Beginner's Guide to (X)HTML, StyleSheets, and Web Graphics, 3rd Ed. By Jennifer Niederst Robbins. O'Reilly. 3rd ed. (6-29-2007).. 
    By Jennifer Niederst Robbins. Published by O'Reilly (June 29, 2007). Top-selling book, now in its 3rd edition, on learning how to create Web sites with (X)HTML, CSS, and Web graphics. From the publisher:

    Everything you need to know to create professional web sites is right here. Learning Web Design starts from the beginning — defining how the Web and web pages work -- and builds from there. By the end of the book, you'll have the skills to create multi-column CSS layouts with optimized graphic files, and you'll know how to get your pages up on the Web.

    This thoroughly revised edition teaches you how to build web sites according to modern design practices and professional standards. Learning Web Design explains:

    • How to create a simple (X)HTML page, how to add links and images
    • Everything you need to know about web standards -- (X)HTML, DTDs, and more
    • Cascading Style Sheets — formatting text, colors and backgrounds, using the box model, page layout, and more
    • All about web graphics, and how to make them lean and mean through optimization
    • The site development process, from start to finish
    • Getting your pages on the Web — hosting, domain names, and FTP

    The book includes exercises to help you to learn various techniques, and short quizzes to make sure you're up to speed with key concepts. If you're interested in web design, Learning Web Design is the place to start.

  • More Eric Meyer on CSS
     More Eric Meyer on CSS, by Eric Meyer. Published by New Riders, 2004.  By Eric Meyer. Published by New Riders, 2004. Eric's follow-up to his already best-selling Eric Meyer on CSS is packed with new, updated information and new examples and projects. Eric writes in an easy-to-understand, clear way about using CSS in a practical way in the real world for your Web sites. Whether you're learning CSS for the first time, wanting to learn some new information, or wanting to fine tune your skills, this is an exceptional must-have book. For more information, visit More Eric Meyer on CSS companion Web site and Eric Meyer's Web site.
  • Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes
    Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes, by Russ Weakley. Sams (11-7-2005).  By Russ Weakley. Published by Sams, November 2005. As the publisher states, the short, focused lessons presented in Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes will help you quickly understand cascading style sheets (CSS) and how to immediately apply it to your work. Author Russ Weakley is a well-respected member of the CSS community and is known for his ability to make complicated concepts easy-to-understand for even inexperienced CSS users. With this book, you will cover the essentials for standards compliant techniques that are supported by the most common browsers. Once you master the basics, Weakley will also take you inside positioning, troubleshooting CSS, and handling common CSS bugs. Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes is the ultimate quick learning tool and handy desk reference guide to CSS. For more information, visit the Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes companion Web site and Russ Weakley's Web site.
  • Spring Into HTML and CSS (Spring Into)
     Book cover: Spring Into HTML and CSS, by Molly Holzschlag.  By Molly Holzschlag. Published by Addison Wesley Professional, April 2005. The “Spring Into” series takes a no-nonsense, just-the-facts-please approach to help you quickly and easily get what you need. This book covers a LOT of ground. Molly Holzschlag is a well-seasoned professional author with over 30 books published. Her clear and easy-to-understand writing style makes it easy to understand why she is such a successful author and why her books sell so well. How do you decide which book is for you? You can explore a sample chapter online: How to Add Images, Media, and Scripts to Your Web Site. The author's Web site:
  • The Ultimate CSS Reference
    Cover - The Ultimate CSS Reference, by Tommy Olsson, Paul O'Brien. Sitepoint (02-2008). by Tommy Olsson, Paul O'Brien. Published by SitePoint, February, 2008. Exceptional reference and resource for CSS. From the publisher:

    A complete and thorough and up-to-date reference guide for CSS.

    Stop wasting time doing Internet searches only to find inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete information. CSS: The Ultimate Reference includes all the ins-and-outs you need to know including compatability information for all major browsers, lists of useful hacks, known bugs in CSS, and much more - all presented in a beautiful, full color layout that will have you coming back over and over again.

    Coverage includes:

    • CSS 2.1 syntax and specifications, including features from current CSS 3 working drafts that are implemented in one or more major browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera), and useful browser-specific features
    • A clear and concise guide to the CSS cascade, including compatability information, known bugs and useful CSS hacks
    • A media type guide, with coverage of which media types apply in which user agents under what conditions.
    • A quick-reference guide to currently supported at-rules (@import, @media, etc.).
    • An alphabetical property reference
  • The Ultimate HTML Reference
    The Ultimate HTML Reference, by Ian Lloyd. SitePoint (05-19-2008)  by Ian Lloyd. Published by SitePoint, May 19, 2008.
    This book is perfect for anyone looking for an in-depth, accurate, and beautifully presented HTML reference. You won't find a more up-to-date HTML reference that includes browser compatibility information, working examples and easy-to-read descriptions. The Ultimate HTML Reference contains all the HTML knowledge you'll ever need and presents it to you in style. Depending on your preference, you can choose the convenience, durability, and usability of a hard cover printed version, a transportable off-line version (PDF), or our freely accessible online version. Choose one or choose them all!
  • Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook
    Web Standards Solutions, by Dan Cederholm. Published by Friends of ED, June, 2004. By Dan Cederholm. Published by Friends of ED, June, 2004. Fantastic book on how to create your Web site markup and CSS effectively, and so that your pages will work well and look good despite the browser or platform. Dan presents real-world solutions and explains things in a clear, helpful way. Plenty of examples and great explanations. Highly recommended. The author's Web site with more about the book: Simplebits: Web Standards Solutions, the Markup and Style Handbook.

Also Recommended by Brainstorms and Raves:

  •  Cover - Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns. by Michael Bowers. Apress (4-23-2007). 
  • Beginning CSS Web Development. by Simon Collison.
  •  CSS: The Missing Manual. by David Sawyer McFarland. O'Reilly (08-2006). 
  •  Transcending CSS. by Andy Clarke, Molly Holzschlag. 
  • The Zen of CSS Design, by Dave Shea, Molly E. Holzschlag. Peachpit 12-2004.
  • Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation, 2nd Ed. By Owen Briggs, Steve Champeon, others. Glasshaus, 03-2004.
  • HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS, 2nd Ed. by Rachel Andrew, Daniel Shafer. SitePoint 04-2006.
  • Designing CSS Web Pages, by Christopher Schmitt. 2002.
  • Fundamental Web Design and Development Skills, by Rachel Andrew, Chris Ullman, Crystal Waters. Published July 2003, APress.
  •  Cover - Web Standards Creativity: Innovations in Web Design with XHTML, CSS, and DOM Scripting. Andy Budd, Andy Clarke, et al. friends of ED (3-19-2007). 
  • The Art and Science of CSS. By Cameron Adams, Jina Bolton, others.
  • HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Sixth Edition, by Chuck Musciano, Bill Kennedy. O'Reilly (October 17, 2006)
  • Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML (Head First) by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman. O'Reilly Media, Inc.; 1 edition (December 8, 2005).
  •  Cover - Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS. by Virginia DeBolt. Sybex; Pap/Cdr edition (February 20, 2007) 
  •  CSS Web Site Design. By Eric Meyer. Peachpit Bk/CD-Rom (11-09-2006). 

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Note: This is just a small sampling of the book recommendations that you'll find at my other site, Be sure to check out the larger Recommended Books, too!

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Recommended Books

Featured Book:

The Photoshop Anthology: 101 Web Design Tips, Tricks & Techniques (Paperback). by Corrie Haffly. SitePoint (Sept. 2006). 

 Cover - Content Critical: Gaining Competitive Advantage through High-Quality Web Content. By Gerry McGovern, Rob Norton. Prentice Hall (October 2001). 

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Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists  Via Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006). 

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