Handcrafted CSS More Bulletproof Web Design

***** Nov282009

Dan Cederholm’s latest book, Handcrafted CSS: More Bulletproof Web Design packs a lot into a quick read. If you’re familiar with CSS, you can finish the book in a few hours, yet pick up several helpful techniques and really be inspired by the author’s point of view: that websites don’t need to look identical in every environment, and that designers should “progressively enrich” their designs with details that can be appreciated in capable browsers. At the same time, websites do need to be robust enough to withstand the unexpected.

Many of the techniques discussed allow the designer to move from extra markup and images to pure CSS solutions for things like rounded corners (Chapter 2) and color with alpha transparency (Chapter 3). This should make the approach an easier sell to clients (who may want complete consistency across browsers) because it is faster to implement, easier to maintain, and more flexible if changes need to be made in the future.

The weakest chapter, I thought, was the Chapter 6, “The Fluid Grid”, contributed by Ethan Marcotte. The writing is a little overly folksy, for my taste, and with most new browsers using “page zoom” rather than just “text zoom” as a default, I’m just not sure how essential or helpful the presented technique is. However, even this chapter describes a novel approach to sizing a site’s grid and major layout sections, which may prove useful or just make you consider grid sizing in a new light.


This is an excellent addition to your web design library.

A version of this review was originally posted on Amazon.com.

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Author(s)Dan Cederholm, Ethan Marcotte
PublisherNew Riders Press
PublishedAugust 19, 2009

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