Review: Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns

The yellow and black Apress cover for Pro CSS and HTML Design PatternsMichael Bowers takes an interesting approach with his book, Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns, by having created what I'd consider an encyclopedia approach. A number of different layout and design patterns are presented with their HTML and CSS solutions.

Because the book is very referential, it's unlikely that you'll pick it up and read it from beginning to end. It is, however, a great book to have at the ready when working through a design.

There are solutions for:

  • layouts,
  • callouts and quotes,
  • drop caps,
  • sprites, and
  • alerts like inline, hanging, floating or tooltips.

The first third of the book covers basic stuff like box model handling and positioning. The middle third gets into various layouts, both at the macro (multi-column layouts) and micro (lists, tables) level. The final third covers more of the nitty gritty like image drop shadows.

My only complaint with the book is the absoluteness of the solutions. I've learned that there's more than one way to solve a problem and that each solution comes with its own pros and cons. With that said, Bowers has done a formidable job documenting the various patterns and provided quality and tested solutions. It's a great one-stop shop for HTML and CSS solutions.

Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns is a good reference to add to your library, no matter what level developer you are.

Published January 25, 2008
Categorized as Book Reviews
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9 Comments · RSS feed
Andrew said on January 25, 2008

Anyone else think the term "design pattern" gets thrown around juuuust a bit much? Strategies in HTML/CSS, yes. Design patterns? Sorry, no.

Caustic Dave said on January 26, 2008

may i ask if this book deals with 'suckerfish' menus? i'm having a heck of time getting these to work especially when trying to place them in a table cell.

Jonathan Snook said on January 26, 2008

@Caustic Dave: it doesn't have suckerfish specifically but it does have flyout menus covered.

@Andrew: True, it gets thrown around just as much as 'design' does. But I'd say, anything repetitive is considered a pattern. So, this book looks at commonly repeated design elements.

Anonymous said on January 27, 2008

Having a good CSS reference book is so valuable because that information is always going to be there. Unlike searching on the net, a lot that information on websites need additional dissection before reaching the CSS nuggets.

Ryan said on January 28, 2008

My css reference -


Andy Kant said on January 29, 2008

"Design Pattern" is a term used for proven solutions for recurring problems. If you think that the term gets thrown around too much, you're probably confusing the "design" portion of it with graphical design when its actually referring to software architecture.

How does this book compare to Dan Cederholm's Bulletproof Web Design?

Mike said on February 01, 2008

I bought this book about four months ago and learn new things from it all the time. Solutions are easy to find and very well-explained. Definitely recommended.

Marcus Tinsley said on February 02, 2008

In case of acquiring knowledge I definitely prefer printed books to intentet sites and tutorials. Printed information is just much more solid on paper than on screen. Almost all my knowledge on HTML, CSS, etc. is from books. I really enjoeyed reading Bower's book. He proposes many interesting solutions that have already made my life much easier.

Maikel González said on February 13, 2008

I can add that now we can see the CSS Reference by Tommy Olsson and Paul O’Brien in Great job!!!

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