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CSS for dummies (like me)

I'm looking for a good CSS reference, maybe a book or a website that's worth printing out. The s.css sites I've seen never seem to be just right for me. Plus, webs sites really aren't very convenient as reference guides. Maybe I haven't found the right one.

I spend some time studying other sites' style sheets often asking, "What is that for!!!?" It's wearing me out though. The JOS style sheet is more that 500 lines long.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Two very good texts on CSS:

"Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design,"  Eric A. Meyer, New Riders Publishing 2003.  Notable because it teaches you CSS by way of tutorials that convert traditional HTML layouts -- warts and all --  to CSS-based layouts.  Much, much better than learning CSS in a vacuum.

"Designing with Web Standards," Jeffrey Zeldman, New Riders Publishing  2003.  Not as fringe as you might expect. Interesting because he addresses XHTML, 508 compliance, and CSS all at the same time.  Also goes into some detail re: what you're up against with the current state of browsers.

Scott McDonald
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"The JOS style sheet is more that 500 lines long."

? I made it eleven lines long! Are you talking about ?

John Topley (
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Pardon me, I meant the .css file.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I agree with the above mentioned references.  My first CSS book was "Cascading Style Sheets, Designing for the web by Hakon Lie and Bert Bos.  Mr. Lie, I believe, created the first CSS specs. 

Also, check out this great mailing list and related wiki:

The mailing list is moderated by Eric Meyer.  The purpose of it is practical advice with a slant toward learning

ALso, online courses are available at

Those folks are the ones behind stylemaster products.  They sell courses, but it seems they always have free courses going on as well.

you go tk!

Joel Goldstick
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Oh, and of course there are a bunch of very very informative articles at

That is one of Zeldman's sites.  If you read all of list apart, you mostly won't need to buy his book, but the book seems to organize things nicely.

Joel Goldstick
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

You might also take a look at the "CSS" section of this page:

There are some good example style-sheets included.  I find that web design is easier when I can start with a specific example and modify it to suit my purposes.

Alex Chernavsky
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Using CD2, when you create a new site, it sets up a basic style sheet.  If you use an external editor for templates, it will also send out the style sheet for editing as well.  If your external editor has a style sheet editor, use it.  I just started playing with things to see what they would do. 

For me, seeing the results as I played with the stylesheet was very very helpful.

Jeff Kolker
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

If you want a really good set of pages displaying the same content with many different style sheets, check out:

Darren Collins
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hi Tk - I started learning CSS in the same way - wondering how on earth css worked.

The first site I started learning from was

I think the site I've referred to most has been The section on CSS positioning is really easy to follow (the whole tutorial is easy to follow):

Good luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I found the old WebMonkey Tutorials pretty helpful.

Old, but good and still perfectly relevant. It introduces you to the basics of the concept. Once you have them down, you can go on and learn the deeper stuff.

Depends on where you want to go with it as well. You might just want it for layout. Or you might want to use it with scripting to produce DHTML. In that case, I would recommend Danny Goodman's Dynamic HTML:

Patrick FitzGerald
Friday, November 14, 2003

I highly recommend the HTML Writers Guild online classes in general, and the Introduction to CSS in particular.

The HWG instructors are excellent, the class interaction is another plus, and the online format means you can work on the class assignments anytime during the day.

Carmen Carter
Sunday, November 23, 2003

Once you've got the basics, the Visibone HTML/CSS reference card is incredibly useful. I use it far more than any reference book.

Michael Wild
Monday, November 24, 2003

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