Best CSS books

Programming & Design

Anyone can dream up a design for a website, but only a web developer can build it.

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Which CSS book is best?

If you want to design and develop web pages, you are going to need to learn HTML. In the computer world, this means you will want to learn CSS, too, because you will need both if you want to be a web developer.

If you want to learn how to troubleshoot common website issues, you might want to start with “CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems.” This book is written for intermediate to advanced developers.

What to know before you buy a CSS book

Some books are written with beginners in mind, while others assume you are familiar with the basics or already understand one or more computing languages. Make sure you don’t choose a book where you will be left behind before you even begin.

Your experience level

Books for beginners cover the basics. Like all foundations, basics stay pretty much the same over extended periods of time. Advancements, on the other hand, are always on the move. Changes require ongoing updating, additions and deletions to be relevant.

Be certain you know as much as you need to take advantage of what advanced CSS books have to offer. Even if you have some familiarity with HTML and CSS, for example, it is always a good idea to refresh what you already know before tackling new material.

HTML, CSS or JavaScript?

HyperText Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets are two different languages that work best together. They use different codes and have different syntaxes. One way to think of it is that HTML determines the structure of the page, while CSS determines the style. Another way to conceptualize the two is that HTML tells the browser what to display while CSS tells the browser how to display it.

Just to make matters a bit more complicated, don’t forget to add JavaScript, which enhances the ability of HTML and CSS to communicate with each other. These days, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are the backbone of what is called front-end web development. 

What to look for in a quality CSS book

Teaching format

The key to effective learning is to break the material up into small chunks that are easy to digest. Look for a CSS book that is organized by topics in such a way that the next builds upon the last. 

Glossary 

Make sure any CSS book that you buy has a thorough and detailed glossary of all the terminology and jargon you will come across in the book. This is especially important when different programming languages use the same terms but mean different things by them.

Ebook or physical book?

Fans of physical books would rather flip back and forth quickly between pages than scroll up and down. Physical books are often the choice of people who like to highlight passages and make notes in the margins. Those who favor ebooks like their lower cost, convenience and ability to upload new versions.  

How much you can expect to spend on a CSS book

Around $10 or less will buy you many slim books aimed at beginners. From $10-$30, expect to find detailed books with lots of topics and lots of pages. Large and comprehensive reference books can easily run $100 or more.

CSS book FAQ

How easy is it to learn CSS?

A. CSS is a complex subject that takes a little time to learn the basics, then more time to learn the details and the ins and outs. Like all other learning, it is really up to you and how much time and effort you are willing to invest.

Are books that include quizzes better choices?

A. The measure of learning is how much knowledge and skill you gain as a result of studying. By measuring what you have learned as you go, you can identify areas where you would benefit from going back over a particular section again. When you buy a book with exercises, quizzes or problems, you will learn more quickly.

What’s the best CSS book to buy?

Top CSS book

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems

What you need to know: This book uses everyday language to focus on troubleshooting common website issues.

What you’ll love: CSS is a computer language used for specifying how documents and pages are styled, laid out and presented to users. It stands for Cascading Style Sheets, a simple design language that is intended to simplify the process of making web pages presentable. CSS is written in plain text through a text editor or word processor. 

What you should consider: This book is written to offer situation-specific advice more than how to use CSS to design websites.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top CSS book for the money

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

What you need to know: This book is written for people who want to learn how to design and build websites from scratch.

What you’ll love: This book takes a practical approach to website design. Before it even gets to HTML and CSS, it covers the fundamentals of structure, text, lists, links, images, tables, forms, flash, video, audio and more. This is a good book for people who use pre-programmed software but want more control over their website’s appearance.

What you should consider: This is a book on how to understand and use the basics. It does not get into advanced levels or complex projects.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Web Graphics

Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Web Graphics

What you need to know: Begin at square one, learning how the web and web pages work, and build from there.

What you’ll love: Each chapter provides exercises to help you learn various techniques and short quizzes to make sure you understand key concepts. By the end of the book, you will have the skills needed to create a simple site that adapts for mobile devices. This book is simple and clear enough for beginners.

What you should consider: This book is not as clearly organized as some others.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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