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  1. I kind of become inspired over the weekend to actually read some web design books all thanks to the series of books by the publisher A Book Apart. Right now I am on book three of the series 'The Elements of Content Strategy", but I thought I catch myself up on reviews. I previously reviewed the first book "HTML5 for Web Designers", which you can read here and so I will be reviewing book #2, called "CSS3 For Web Designers" written by Dan Cederholm. Before I begin my review I would to point out this book is completed outdated in the sense that this was written in 2010 and since then CSS3 has updated a lot in the three years that this book came out. However, being a perfectionist in some weird way I still read the book knowing that fact. Like the first book, "CSS3 For Web Designers" is a light read at 120 pages and the point of this book was to let people know, back then, that many of the browsers such as Firefox 3, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer 9 could have some of the CSS3 built already into their perspective browser engines. Such as the ability to use transitions, animations, hover effects, border radius, text shadow, multiple backgrounds (parallax), and even RGBA. So, Cederholm packs in a lot information and examples to show you how powerful CSS3 would and has become since it was first introduced. As for the reading itself, its light and fun and doesn't really get to technical with some of the CSS3 concepts of which I know everyone will enjoy. On top of that, the author takes the time to explain everything and I will say this, I had a better understanding of the code what I could do instead of visiting a few hundred websites or using generators. Granted, I still will use them to get through the quick stuff, though I wish they had a parallax generator I could work with. Might have to do some searching later about that. But most enjoyable about this book is that he provides sample website he used to apply the CSS3 features and of course provided a couple of pages worth of useful links and resources to help get your hands dirty with CSS3 and attempt to stay current with the code. As for who this book is for, hard to say really just because most of the information is old and outdated. Though if your a perfectionist like I am when it comes to numbered books you may want to collect it in order to have all the books. Is the book critical reading? No but if your looking to take a break coding websites or whatever and need a light read, this books will help relax your brain a bit and who knows give you that aha moment.
  2. Coming off their success "Professional Web Design Vol. 1" Smashing Magazine comes out with Volumn 2 of this series, and while most part 2 books cover the same topics and provide little updates, but not these boys and girls. Professional Web Design Volumn 2, covers 20 new topics at a whopping 283 pages, may not seem much. However, when your talking about 2011, well lets just say after reading each topic, you will Google your brains out and try to catch up. This book covers CSS3, HTML5, Responsive web design, UX, latest trends (2011), naviggation, more concepts and items, and what the heck they threw in some working with clients as well. Of course, what makes this book great is this, most of the information you read can be found on the smashing website and so the comments you read there are just as insightful, but here it is more focus driven and easier to find (lol). As for my usal chapter review, I am having a real difficult time, but I think I found a topic that hits home for thousands of freelance web designers and it is titled "Web Designers, Don’t Do It Alone" by Paul Boag and right away in this topic he drives it home in just his first sentence. "Whether freelancers, small agency founders or website owners, too many of us work alone." That is very true indeed, but he really gets to the heart of the matter when you even work in teams you feel that isolation and I find that a very interesting thought, because I wouldn't think it be possible to be isolated even while on a team. Nonetheless, he provide six common traps for web designers that would categorize them as isolated; they include Dry up creatively, Lose confidence, Become over-confident, Reach the limit of your knowledge, Have a blinkered perspective, and Feel overwhelmed. Reading at how he describes these traps I would have to say I have #1, #2, #5, and #6. Though in the case of #6 I am more overwhelmed at all the things you can do in web design and so you really have to spread yourself thin in order to learn as much as you can. Of course, this reflects upon #5 of being in a comfort zone and trying to limit myself. Of course, he goes on to say that you need a partner to get yourself out of these traps, but some are easier said then done. Such as an external consultant, a mentor or someone outside of the business. To help you get your thoughts and ideas out there and realize your potential. On the other hand, I see the potential of adding sub-groups into that partner list and so it is a matter of just putting them in the right spot. So, just like this chapter, the rest of the book provides very insightful information as helps expand what it means to be a web designer. Of course, it also opens up a lot ideas for you to explore and in some cases, opens some wounds in which you have to realize that it is time to get out there and expand your knowledge base in order to be a more effective designer/developer. To end, I would like to point out that the book isn't on individual sale, except for Kindle, but you can get it with a bundle package from the Smashing Magazine store at the following address. http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/ In this bundle it includes this book, and volume 2, and another book titled "Getting the Hang of Web Typograph" so check the bundle out and the rest of the Smashing book series.
  3. The Book I would like to talk to you all today for all you web designers and web developers today is called The Book of CSS3 - A Developer's Guide to the Future of Web Design by Peter Gasston and would briefly like to talk to you all about what this book consists of and that of course is all the exciting and somewhat new and somewhat old features CSS3 has to offer. This book consists of 17 chapters of awesomeness to say the least because Gasston gives a pretty descent break of the syntax of the CSS3 and how they should be set up. On top of that, there are quite a few updates as well especially to the Background, font, and text properties, which I feel are the most important sections in this book. Of course, with all what CSS has to offer and what designers and developers are using now, everything is important. Besides the break down of the syntax of the features, Gasston also talks about which browsers currently accept the features, and surprisingly not all of them do, but i will note that this book did come out in May and so some features might have been updated since then. Earlier, I had mention that some of the CSS3 properties are somewhat new and somewhat old, I meant that in two ways. The first being that some of the stuff this book covers has been well established on the internet, such as gradients, font face, box shadow and text effects like Letterpress. the somewhat new I would say that some of the techniques required the use of JavaScript or engine specific code like Webkit, got the CSS3 treatment again Box Shadow, 2D and 3D, transitions to name a few. Better yet, designers and developers are slowly making that transition as CSS3 is doing a lot that Flash and JQuery have been doing for years in order to produce the same results. So, this does two things for you, it makes your website load faster and the learning process quicker. But I digress, when it comes to this book it is a handy started to get you going but to keep yourself current, go on the web and see what people have done and see what else has been added to the CSS3 specturm
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