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Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design

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    Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design

    Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design

    Author: Andy Clarke and Molly E. Holzschlag (editor)
    Format: Paperback: 384 pages
    Publisher: New Riders Press; 1st edition (November 15, 2006)
    ISBN-10: 0321410971
    ISBN-13: 978-0321410979

    Review by James Pyles
    December 26, 2006

    When I first received Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design and took it out of the shipping box, I thought I had gotten a hold of a book on fine art by mistake. Actually, I wasn't far from the truth, and it's no mistake. Andy Clarke's book goes way beyond the traditional technical text on CSS for web designers and virtually redefines (at least for me) the term "web designer" to be equivalent to "artist".

    Like the other New Riders and Peachpit books I've reviewed, Transcending CSS is very graphics intensive. The cover looks like it should be hanging on the wall of a museum and the black and white photo of Clarke opposite his bio could easily have appeared within the pages of an early edition of Life magazine. A casual flipping through the pages gives the impression that this book should be sitting on someone's coffee table as a conversation piece. However, as visually appealing at the text is, it's the content that tells the tale.

    This is no "ordinary" book on CSS. In one sense or another, most books on CSS or any other technical subject seem to say that they are technical books. The language is written for at least the newbie techie if not for the guru geek. While I came across familiar source within the pages of Clarke's book, the treatment of the subject came from a completely different direction. This isn't a book for the strict technical professional but for the artist whose canvas is the web. Transcending CSS isn't for the person or development team that "just" wants to build a good, functional, and well presented site. This book was written for the "artist within" who wants to build a stunningly gorgeous website.

    This is a serious challenge for people who see the code but not necessarily the end result. If your approach to xhtml, css, and javascript is that of a "mechanic", you are going to miss the point (and perhaps the boat). If you are the sort of person who is technical and can see the patterns and colors and shifting moods of your surroundings regardless of what they may be, this book will talk to you. Clarke's book creates a link that doesn't normally exist. The book contains a fusion of visual art and style sheet technology and makes them work together to create "masterpieces" on the net.

    Don't buy this book as your first exposure to CSS. You'll get lost almost immediately. I had to shift gears considerably when I started reading and I'm no stranger to web development. Get a good grounding in web site design and then buy this book...especially if you want to take the term "web design" to a level most people will never experience.

    Since the book is so visually driven, my words as a reviewer may seem inadequate to the task of describing what Clarke has written. To get a graphic feel for what I'm talking about, visit Andy Clarke's website and see for yourself what he's capable of in the realm of the web. Just for giggles, also visit the CSS Zen Garden with which he is also associated. CSS may have started out as the red-headed, left-handed stepchild of the web and many sites still don't use it for styling their pages, but Andy Clarke and company take style sheets extremely seriously. The results are excitingly obvious.

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    How can I upload a CSS page to a yahoo geocities website? I want to completely build the page my self.? I want to build the page from scratch. Trying to teach myself how to be a web developer.

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    I think you may try to search some good tutorials on web design, on how to start in a web design thing....

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