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Eric Meyer's Lukewarm CSS

Eric Meyer’s “Smashing CSS” is a mix of great tips and disappointment.

Perhaps CSS books’ unfulfillment reflect a fundamental design flaw in CSS. I mean, it’s unnatural to use floats and negative margins, and various positioning tricks to get something we usually just draw in Photoshop.

Who asked for my opinion, anyway? Here’s a rundown of the book:


  1. Nice cover and quality paper.

  2. min-height

  3. use % for layouts, ems for fonts

  4. context positioning: putting divs positioned absolutely within divs positioned relatively will save you frustrating hours.

  5. He covers some of the CSS3 properties.


  1. He spends the first ~40 pages talking about developer tools in every browser except Chrome. He does not even mention the existence of the browser I’ve been using for over a year and half. Strange.

  2. Why do all CSS books have to have the ugliest colors with the ugliest examples? Sure, positioning may be the same regardless, but websites these days look a lot nicer.

  3. To expand on the above, Chapter 5 shows a “complexspiral demo” that’s basically two backgrounds on top of one another to solve the lack of transparency before PNGs. He admits to having created it in 2001. That’s 10 years ago!!!

  4. On p. 258 in Chapter 7 he says he will cover css transitions in the next section, but the book ends with chapter 7. ?!

Needless to say, I needed to blog my lukewarm reaction to this book.

Amazon reviews take it a step further .


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