Book or trial and error?

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Brian Robertson, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    learn CSS. Obviously what works for one person might not for another, so
    I know there isn't a definitive answer, but would be interesting to hear
    opinions.

    Is it easier to learn CSS from a book or from taking an existing page to
    pieces and trying to adapt it to your own purposes while learning what
    makes it tick?

    Brian.
     
    Brian Robertson, Oct 21, 2007
    #1
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  2. Brian Robertson

    rf Guest

    "Brian Robertson" <brian@[nospam].com> wrote in message
    news:43HSi.24090$...
    >I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    >learn CSS. Obviously what works for one person might not for another, so I
    >know there isn't a definitive answer, but would be interesting to hear
    >opinions.
    >
    > Is it easier to learn CSS from a book or from taking an existing page to
    > pieces and trying to adapt it to your own purposes while learning what
    > makes it tick?


    Read the specifications:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/

    Play afterwards.

    --
    Richard.
     
    rf, Oct 21, 2007
    #2
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  3. Brian Robertson

    John Guest

    "Brian Robertson" <brian@[nospam].com> wrote in message
    news:43HSi.24090$...
    >I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    >learn CSS. Obviously what works for one person might not for another, so I
    >know there isn't a definitive answer, but would be interesting to hear
    >opinions.
    >
    > Is it easier to learn CSS from a book or from taking an existing page to
    > pieces and trying to adapt it to your own purposes while learning what
    > makes it tick?
    >
    > Brian.


    Go to ebay and get a CD/DVD movie tutorial.

    Regards
    John
     
    John, Oct 21, 2007
    #3
  4. John wrote:
    > "Brian Robertson" <brian@[nospam].com> wrote in message
    > news:43HSi.24090$...
    >> I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    >> learn CSS. Obviously what works for one person might not for another, so I
    >> know there isn't a definitive answer, but would be interesting to hear
    >> opinions.
    >>
    >> Is it easier to learn CSS from a book or from taking an existing page to
    >> pieces and trying to adapt it to your own purposes while learning what
    >> makes it tick?
    >>
    >> Brian.

    >
    > Go to ebay and get a CD/DVD movie tutorial.
    >
    > Regards
    > John
    >
    >


    Time is the enemy with me. I just don't have enough time to sit down and
    study something. I bought a book a few weeks ago that is ok and I
    regularly buy a mag that includes tutorials, but I have learnt more this
    morning from just taking a website template to pieces and seeing how it
    works.

    The other problem I have - time based again - is that I learn something
    and then it is so long before I get to use it that I have forgotten it
    again!

    Brian.
     
    Brian Robertson, Oct 21, 2007
    #4
  5. On Sun, 21 Oct 2007 12:07:17 GMT, rf wrote:
    > "Brian Robertson" <brian@[nospam].com> wrote in message
    > news:43HSi.24090$...
    >> I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    >> learn CSS.
    >> [...]

    >
    > Read the specifications:
    > http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/



    I think that's definitely the best approach. The CSS specification is very
    readable - if only all specifications were as clear. It also helps to have
    a reference on browser bugs to hand - for example:

    http://www.positioniseverything.net/


    --
    Safalra (Stephen Morley)

    Sortable Tables In JavaScript:
    http://www.safalra.com/web-design/javascript/sortable-tables/
     
    Safalra (Stephen Morley), Oct 21, 2007
    #5
  6. Brian Robertson

    William Gill Guest

    Brian Robertson wrote:
    >
    > The other problem I have - time based again - is that I learn something
    > and then it is so long before I get to use it that I have forgotten it
    > again!


    This is a critical necessity with me (I have a closed head injury from a
    55 mph head-on) so it's important that anything learned is correct the
    first time. That means validate all html and css whenever you do your
    trial and error. I have had some very strange and (almost) untraceable
    results, that were the result of a minor typo, not a logic/understanding
    error. Unfortunately, not catching the problem through religiously
    validation, caused me to "learn" things that were wrong, that later had
    to be un-learned. If time is of the essence, the few seconds it takes
    to validate are well worth the investment.
     
    William Gill, Oct 21, 2007
    #6
  7. Brian Robertson

    still me Guest

    On Sun, 21 Oct 2007 15:02:33 +0100, "Safalra (Stephen Morley)"
    <> wrote:

    >I think that's definitely the best approach. The CSS specification is very
    >readable - if only all specifications were as clear. It also helps to have
    >a reference on browser bugs to hand - for example:
    >
    >http://www.positioniseverything.net/


    I disagree. Unless you are familiar with reading those specs and/or
    the subject area, reading a specification (any, and certainly this
    one) is a prescription for frustration and slow learning for 999/1000
    learners. There's a lot of noise and tech talk that will confuddle the
    average learner.

    But, everyone has different learning styles. Some folks do best by
    reading a book. Some work best when instructor led (classroom or
    CD/DVD). Some learn best by immersion - just grab a couple samples and
    then try to get a job done... hunt as needed for more info. And a few
    work best by simply reading a specification and then jumping in.

    I'd suggest that whatever learning style has worked most efficiently
    and comfortably for the OP in the past is no doubt the way he tends to
    learn - and the best choice here.
     
    still me, Oct 21, 2007
    #7
  8. Scripsit Brian Robertson:

    > Time is the enemy with me. I just don't have enough time to sit down
    > and study something.


    Then don't do CSS, m'kay? I don't have enough time to learn surgery, so I
    leave it to others, instead of trying to exercise it without mastering it.
    CSS is somewhat easier to learn than surgery, but your lack of time does not
    magically turn it to simpler than it is.

    > I bought a book a few weeks ago that is ok and I
    > regularly buy a mag that includes tutorials, but I have learnt more
    > this morning from just taking a website template to pieces and seeing
    > how it works.


    You don't see how it works. In a pretty common scenario, you just see how a
    crappy CSS implementation (that spells "IE") mishandles lousy CSS code
    (which is what you mostly get when you view random pages) today in "Quirks"
    mode.

    There are lots of good tutorials on CSS, and of course even many more poor
    tutorials and guides. A quick test: when the tutorial first mentions setting
    color or background, does it emphasize that you should always set color and
    background together? If not, find a better tutorial. Also check whether it
    has a section on cascade. (That's the "C" in "CSS". You can't avoid
    encountering its effects, so you should not try to avoid understanding it,
    no matter how complicated it may sound on first encounter.)

    --
    Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 21, 2007
    #8
  9. Brian Robertson

    Neredbojias Guest

    Well bust mah britches and call me cheeky, on Sun, 21 Oct 2007 13:52:56
    GMT Brian Robertson scribed:

    > The other problem I have - time based again - is that I learn
    > something and then it is so long before I get to use it that I have
    > forgotten it again!


    There's a simple fix for that. Whenever you learn something, tell your
    girlfriend/wife/significant squeeze it reminds you of your relationship
    with her. She'll be talking about it for years...

    --
    Neredbojias

    The 16th century French satirical writer François Rabelais in his series of
    novels Gargantua and Pantagruel, discussing the various ways of cleansing
    oneself at the toilet, wrote that: "He who uses paper on his filthy bum,
    will always find his ballocks lined with scum"
     
    Neredbojias, Oct 21, 2007
    #9
  10. Brian Robertson

    dorayme Guest

    In article <sLLSi.240963$>,
    "Jukka K. Korpela" <> wrote:

    > Scripsit Brian Robertson:
    >
    > > Time is the enemy with me. I just don't have enough time to sit down
    > > and study something.

    >
    > Then don't do CSS, m'kay?


    If OP does find time, perhaps he could read:

    Cascading Style Sheets, designing for the Web, by Håkon Wium Lie
    and Bert Bos (2nd ed., 1999, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-201-59625-3)

    Here is a snippet on line:

    <http://www.w3.org/Style/LieBos2e/enter/>

    --
    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Oct 21, 2007
    #10
  11. On 2007-10-21, Brian Robertson wrote:
    ....
    > The other problem I have - time based again - is that I learn something
    > and then it is so long before I get to use it that I have forgotten it
    > again!


    Find a good online tutorial (Jukka mentioned one good test for
    quality). Skim it quickly. Do the same for the CCS2.1 specs.
    Remember what can be done, rather than how to do it.

    Bookmark the specs, so that you can quickly look up the correct
    way to use specific CSS features.

    Look at a few good websites. Check that they are valid HTML and
    CSS, and that they work in various browsers and at different font
    and window sizes. Examine the HTML and CSS.

    Most importantly, write some pages yourself. Try different things.
    Start with simple pages: e.g., take a sample of text (perhaps a
    chapter from a book downloaded from Project Gutenberg), and write
    the CSS to make it easy to read. Then try adding a menu to other
    chapters in a column to the right or left. If there illustrations,
    try positioning them in various ways (float:right, etc.).

    Always use the least amount of markup possible (both HTML and
    CSS).

    --
    Chris F.A. Johnson, webmaster <http://Woodbine-Gerrard.com>
    ===================================================================
    Author:
    Shell Scripting Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach (2005, Apress)
     
    Chris F.A. Johnson, Oct 21, 2007
    #11
  12. Brian Robertson

    Ivanovich Guest

    On Oct 21, 1:51 pm, Brian Robertson <brian@[nospam].com> wrote:
    > I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    > learn CSS. Obviously what works for one person might not for another, so
    > I know there isn't a definitive answer, but would be interesting to hear
    > opinions.
    >
    > Is it easier to learn CSS from a book or from taking an existing page to
    > pieces and trying to adapt it to your own purposes while learning what
    > makes it tick?
    >
    > Brian.


    Hi Brian.
    I think the best way to lear CSS is reading the w3c css specification.
    After that you find your own problems with the implementation i think
    that the best way to fix those problems its searching in google a
    solution (trial and error).
     
    Ivanovich, Oct 22, 2007
    #12
  13. Scripsit Ivanovich:

    > I think the best way to lear CSS is reading the w3c css specification.


    Hardly. The CSS specifications*) are attempts at kind-of exact
    specifications, not tutorials. They have not been written end users but for
    implementors and for people who write tutorials, and they aren't
    particularly good even in those areas.

    *) CSS 1 is seriously outdated and conflicts with CSS 2 and successors.
    CSS 2 is not taken seriously by anyone at the W3C or by implementors.
    CSS 2.1 is regarded as the de-facto "standard", but it is not a stable
    document and itself says that it should not be cited except as "work in
    progress".
    CSS 3 is just work in progress (to put it optimistically).

    --
    Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 22, 2007
    #13
  14. Brian Robertson

    William Gill Guest

    Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

    > CSS 3 is just work in progress (to put it optimistically).
    >


    That's optimistic?
     
    William Gill, Oct 22, 2007
    #14
  15. Scripsit William Gill:

    > Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    >
    >> CSS 3 is just work in progress (to put it optimistically).

    >
    > That's optimistic?


    It depends. CSS 3 is largely stagnated or apparently futile (designing
    features that won't be implemented in browsers), so "progress" isn't really
    descriptive of the status. But if you think that CSS needs to be extended,
    the CSS 3 work is probably your last, best hope.

    --
    Jukka K. Korpela ("Yucca")
    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 22, 2007
    #15
  16. Brian Robertson

    William Gill Guest

    Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
    >
    > It depends. CSS 3 is largely stagnated or apparently futile (designing
    > features that won't be implemented in browsers), so "progress" isn't
    > really descriptive of the status. But if you think that CSS needs to be
    > extended, the CSS 3 work is probably your last, best hope.
    >


    I wasn't aware of the specifics, but I got the impression from your
    first response that "progress" or "optimistic" were a stretch. "largely
    stagnated", "apparently futile", "won't be implemented in browsers" just
    reaffirm that impression. It must just be my mood, but I got a chuckle
    from your comment, and thought that was your intent.

    Seriously though, what do you think the alternative will be, if this is
    the "last, best hope?"
     
    William Gill, Oct 22, 2007
    #16
  17. Brian Robertson

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 21 Oct, 12:51, Brian Robertson <brian@[nospam].com> wrote:
    > I just wanted to ask what everyone thinks on here about the best way to
    > learn CSS.


    I only know one way with any real hope of success:

    Read "Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML" book

    Read Lie & Bos' "Cascading Style Sheets" book

    Read http://brainjar.com/css/positioning/

    Use the W3C CSS recommendation as a reference after you've done all
    these. In particular, read the section on glossary and definition of
    terms _very_ carefully, then read the explanation of how the cascade
    works.


    Seriously, I know of no other way to do this in any sort of reasonable
    time. The W3C rec is _unreadable_ (or at least, non-comprehensible) as
    any sort of tutorial.

    I know personally of no other web tutorials or books that are both
    readable and accurate. I know a vast majority that are neither.

    I also know of no competent CSS people who didn't find it a
    considerable effort and length of time to learn CSS and good-practice
    when writing with HTML/CSS. This is _particularly_ true of skilled
    programmers, particularly OO programmers, who all seem to fall into a
    couple of common misunderstandings about how CSS works, particularly
    around selector cascades.
     
    Andy Dingley, Oct 22, 2007
    #17
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