Code monkey?

Books about coding are so hard for me to evaluate without using them — it’s nearly impossible (at least at this stage) for me to figure out what will really be useful until I have actually used it. So I recently got a couple of books out of the Somerville Public Library — “The CSS Anthology,” by Rachel Andrew, and “Stylin’ with CSS,” by Charles Wyke-Smith.

Anyway, I spent several hours working on the design for my site the other day, and I’m pleased with the changes (I’ve got to get photos up along the left hand side, still.) I know it’s not perfect — the navigation at the top isn’t as liquid as I would like, so if you open it in a small browser window it looks all wonky. I’m sure there are other issues that I’m not thinking of at the moment. For now, I figure people can just resize or deal. 😉

I had both of these when I started working on this, and “The CSS Anthology” was a great resource for me. It gives you the code to do whatever it is you’re trying to do, then walks you through how to do it, showing the changes to the code step-by-step. I like this, because I can read through that to understand what everything does, and then I can quickly type in the code myself, which helps me learn more than simply doing a copy-and-paste from code in an online tutorial. (According to the book, all of the code is available to download if you don’t care to type.)

I haven’t read it straight through — this is the sort of thing that I’ll consult when I need to figure out how to do something. But it was immensely helpful and easy to understand.

I really haven’t done more than flip through “Stylin’ with CSS.” I think I took the anthology out of my bag first, and it fit my needs. When I just looked through “Stylin’,” one thing that struck me was that I prefer the layout of the anthology — they’ve put the code in shaded boxes to differentiate it, very strongly, from the rest of the text. “Stylin'” simply puts the text in a different color and font (courier, of course). It’s a slimmer volume that might be more appropriate for someone just starting out and trying to teach him- or herself CSS. There’s a much longer “general intro” type chapter in this one.

Anyway, I’ll soon be on the hunt for cheap copies “The CSS Anthology” (and “Everyday Italian!”) on the web. I refuse to pay $35 – $40.

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