Should You Buy This book?
This isn't a facetious question. As proud as I am of the work contained in these pages, I'm also keenly aware that this book is not for every reader. So let me take a moment to describe two kinds of readers: those for whom this book was written and those for whom it was not.
Those for Whom This Book Is Meant
You ought to find this book useful if you match one or more of the following criteria:
You want a hands-on, practical guide to using CSS in real-world projects. That's exactly what this book is all about.
You're a hands-on learner, someone who gets a lot more out of interactive experimenting than from just reading a book. Despite the fact that this is indeed a book, it's been intentionally designed to let the reader "play along at home," as it were.
You've been meaning to increase your CSS skills for some time now, but you keep putting it off because CSS is a large, complex subject, and you don't have a roadmap for how to get to the next level.
You've always wanted someone to show you how to convert a typical, old-school, pure-HTML design into a pure-CSS design and to explain why it's to your advantage to do so. If that's the case, go to Project 1, "Converting an Existing Page," without another moment's delay.
If asked, you would describe your HTML skill level as "intermediate" or "expert" and your CSS skill level as "basic" or "intermediate." In other words, you understand HTML fairly well and have used enough CSS to have a basic grasp of how it's written.
Those for Whom This Book Is Not Meant
You might not find this book to be useful if one or more of the following describes you:
You've never used or even seen CSS before. Although some basic terms are defined in the text, the assumption here is that the reader knows the basics of writing CSS and is fairly proficient with HTML authoring. Some readers of Eric Meyer on CSS said they were able to use it even though they'd hardly ever touched CSS before, but this book was not written with the beginner in mind.
You want to understand all of the subtleties of the theory underlying CSS and grasp the nuances of the specification. There are now many books on the market that occupy that niche. The focus here is on demonstrating effects that work.
You've only done Web design in a point-and-click editing environment. This book assumes that you can edit (or have edited) HTML and CSS by hand, and its narrative is based on that assumption. Its projects may be easily reproducible in a point-and-click editor, but the book was not written with such editors in mind. As it happens, Eric Meyer on CSS was a big hit with a lot of Dreamweaver and GoLive users, so that's a point to consider. Nevertheless, the text assumes you'll be dealing directly with the markup and styles.
You want a book that will tell you how to write CSS that will look the same in all browsers on all platforms, including Netscape 4.x and Explorer 3.x. See the following section, "What You Can Expect from This Book," for details.
You've read my other works and hate the personal, familiar tone I take in my writing. I promise you that my writing style has changed very little.