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Revealing the "CSS Secrets"

Revealing the "CSS Secrets"

The first time I actually discovered Lea Verou's work was at the Smashing Conference in 2012. Back then, she talked about 10 things you may not know about CSS. Her way of exposing CSS secrets was entertaining and engaging and I remember that, at that time, I was really inspired and motivated to try all those new tricks I had heard about.

Today, the majority of books that cover technical topics usually cannot provide us with practical techniques as CSS Secrets can. Here we have a great collection of useful tips and tricks all in one place.

As a W3C Invited Expert, Lea guides us through a glimpse of history where we find out how CSS standards are actually developed. Inspired by her talks at numerous web development conferences she has held all around the world, Lea has collected all the informations and put them in this book.

"CSS has grown so much that it's practically impossible for any single person to hold all of it in their brain"

I must say that this book is not a book for beginners. As the author says, the primary audience for this book is intermediate to advanced CSS developers. It is assumed that readers are quite familiar with CSS 2.1 and have certain knowledge of the most popular CSS3 features.

CSS Secrets reveals to us 47 (yes!) undocumented tips and techniques that can help us in solving everyday design problems using - guess what? CSS! In each secret, Lea shows us how to solve one design issue in the most applicable way. As a developer, I really liked this approach because it is much better than having long lists of features that we don't know how to apply. Also, all the secrets have nice explanations of what the code does and every example has a proper illustration. Most of the secrets include a live example that can be accessed with short URLs (for example play.csssecrets.io/blink if you want to play around with secret 44 - Blinking). At the end of every secret we can find a list of related specifications whose features were mentioned. Finally, here we can find the topics that include:

  • background & borders
  • shapes
  • visual effects
  • typography
  • UX
  • structure and layout
  • and my favorite, transitions and animations

Books about web development are mostly designed to look like programming textbooks. This book is certainly following the trends by showing us the spirits of both HTML and CSS at their best, as something beautiful and exciting and mysterious at the same time.

Here we won't find just the solutions for 47 problems, but we will have an insight in all the best practices and advices how to make our code backwards compatible. As this book is of course focused on writing great CSS, it also gives us great lessons in design, accessibility, UX, writing DRY code, HTML5 APIs, and great uses of JavaScript. CSS Secrets covers all the important technologies we should know about: Sass, JavaScript, SVG,...

As a conclusion, I can say that this book is a must read for anyone who codes and loves CSS.

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