Transcending CSS by Andy Clarke

April 11, 2007

Have you been feeling lately that CSS and web standards are a little gray and fussy? Too much analytical-looking code and not enough va-vavoom? Well, get ready to have your hair blown back and the wind whistle in your ears. Andy Clarke is about to take you on rollickin' good ride.

Have you been feeling lately that CSS and web standards are a little gray and fussy? Too much analytical-looking code and not enough va-va-voom? Well, get ready to have your hair blown back and the wind whistle in your ears. Andy Clarke is about to take you on rollickin' good ride.

It's a ride we're more than ready for. After being convinced that standards-based code is wise, moral and even kind of cool, designers begin the long, often arduous task of learning style rules and markup and the many idiosyncrasies of browsers. With so much concentration on code, intermediate CSS-ers sometimes feel they've lost sight of the design in "web design."

Andy Clarke's Transcending CSS is like a breath of fresh air to those of us toiling in the CSS mines. Yes, he writes about CSS and web standards, but not as an end in themselves. They are only a means to an end, and that end is beautiful and useful design.

I have to admit, at first I didn't realize what I treat I was in for with this book. Part I covers a lot of ground familiar to people who work with CSS. I couldn't help thinking that, in this first section, Clarke is preaching to the choir.

But then I hit Part II with it's wonderfully clear discussion of wireframes and an excellent step-by-step description of creating an interactive prototype. In Part III we really take off, as Clarke merrily leads us on a delightful tour through grids, typography, and design inspiration. By Part IV we're in high gear, and gape open-mouthed as Clarke produces brilliant layouts without a single div and gives us a fascinating glimpse into the future world of CSS3.

This book was a journey I thoroughly enjoyed. It left me exhilarated, windblown and ready for more. Instead of a CSS coder, I feel like a CSS web designer again. Bravo, Mr. Clarke. Bravo.