Best CSS books of 2020: Learn CSS from beginner to advanced

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a style sheet language, commonly used with HTML and JavaScript. CSS helps with the display of HTML elements, influencing their colors, size, layout and more. Without CSS, this website will be bland and void of all its color/layout. Do you want to learn CSS and get started with front-end web development? Are you an amateur looking to level up your skills? The following list shows the best CSS books for learners at all levels. Like the saying goes, “nothing good comes free”. All these books come at a price. Then again, can one really put a price on knowledge?

 

What are the best CSS books of 2020?

 

1) CSS: The Definitive Guide: Visual Presentation for the Web (Kindle—$34.99, Paperback — $40.29)

Best CSS books: CSS: The Definitive Guide
Book cover: CSS: The Definitive Guide: Visual Presentation for the Web

This book is the fourth book in this edition, at the time of writing. CSS: The Definitive Guide edition is one of the top CSS books tailored for web and app developers who are interested in sophisticated page styling, improved accessibility and saving time and effort. This revised edition provides a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation, along with a thorough review of the latest CSS specifications.

CSS is a constantly evolving stylesheet language. CSS is used in the presentation of web content on screen, printers, speech synthesizers, screen readers, and chat windows. It is used by all browsers on all screen sizes on all types of IoT devices, including phones, computers, video games, televisions, watches, kiosks, and auto consoles. The authors of this book are Eric Meyer and Estelle Weyl. Through concise writing and snippets of CSS code, they show you how to improve user experience, speed development, avoid potential bugs and add life and depth to your applications through layout, transitions and animations, borders, backgrounds, text properties, and many other tools and techniques.

CSS: The Definitive Guide: Visual Presentation for the Web covers:

  • Selectors, specificity, and the cascade
  • Values, units, fonts, and text properties
  • Padding, borders, outlines, and margins
  • Colors, backgrounds, and gradients
  • Floats and positioning tricks
  • Flexible box layout
  • The new Grid layout system
  • 2D and 3D transforms, transitions, and animation
  • Filters, blending, clipping, and masking
  • Media and feature queries

 

2) CSS: The Missing Manual (Kindle — $19.49, paperback — $24.19)

CSS: The Missing Manual
Book Cover: CSS: The Missing Manual

CSS lets you create professional-looking websites, but learning its finer points can be tricky—even for seasoned web developers. This fully updated edition provides the most modern and effective tips, tricks, and tutorial-based instruction on CSS available today. Authored by David Sawyer McFarland, this book teaches how to use new CSS tools such as CSS Flexbox and Sass to build web pages that look great and run fast on any desktop or mobile device. CSS: The Missing Manual, is ideal for casual and experienced designers alike.

This guide helps you go from zero to hero with CSS. It includes:

  • Start with the basics. Write CSS-friendly HTML, including the HTML5 tags recognized by today’s browsers.
  • Design for mobile devices. Create web pages that look great when visitors use them on the go.
  • Make your pages work for you. Add animations that capture the imagination, and forms that get the job done.
  • Take control of page layouts. Use professional design techniques such as floats and positioning.
  • Make your layouts more flexible. Design websites with Flexbox that adjust to different devices and screen sizes.
  • Work more efficiently. Write less CSS code and work with smaller files, using Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (Sass).

 

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems
Book Cover: CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems

This book is ideal for designers and developers at the intermediate level. In this practical guide, Lea Verou, a CSS expert, provides 47 undocumented techniques and tips to help intermediate-to advanced CSS developers devise elegant solutions to a wide range of everyday web design problems.

Rather than focus on design, CSS Secrets shows you how to solve problems with code. You’ll learn how to apply Lea’s analytical approach to practically every CSS problem you face to attain DRY, maintainable, flexible, lightweight, and standards-compliant results.

Inspired by her popular talks at over 60 international web development conferences, Lea Verou provides a wealth of information for topics including:

  • Backgrounds and Borders
  • Shapes
  • Visual Effects
  • Typography
  • User Experience
  • Structure and Layout
  • Transitions and Animations

 

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions
Book Cover: CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions

CSS Mastery is meant for intermediate and advanced web designers and developers. It offers a quick recap of the main points of CSS, while dispelling some common myths, but then moves forward to delve into the higher-level aspects of CSS. It contains fully up-to-date information throughout and acts as a one-stop-shop for current CSS best practices.  Fully updated to the latest CSS modules, make the journey to CSS mastery as simple and painless as possible. This book dives into advanced aspects of CSS-based design, such as responsive design, modular CSS, and CSS typography. Through a series of easy-to-follow tutorials, you will learn practical CSS techniques you can immediately start using in your daily work.

While most books concentrate on basic skills, this one is different, assuming that you already know the basics and why you should be using CSS in your work, and concentrating mainly on advanced techniques. This new edition covers all of the CSS fundamentals such as the importance of meaningful markup, how to structure and maintain your code, and how the CSS layout model really works.

This new edition contains:

  • New examples and updated browser support information
  • Full coverage of modular CSS and responsive design
  • Essential information on CSS typography and layout control
Readers of this book will learn:
    • Discover the best practice concepts in CSS design
    • Master the most important (and tricky) parts of CSS
    • Identify and fix the most common CSS problems
    • Deal with the most common bugs
    • See the latest information on CSS features and support

5) CSS Pocket Reference: Visual Presentation for the Web (Kindle — $9.97, paperback — $10.49)

CSS Pocket Reference: Visual Presentation for the Web
Book Cover: CSS Pocket Reference: Visual Presentation for the Web

When you’re working with CSS and need an answer now, this concise yet comprehensive quick reference provides the essential information you need. Revised and updated for CSS3, this fifth edition is ideal for intermediate to advanced web designers and developers.

You’ll find a short introduction to the key concepts of CSS and alphabetical summaries of CSS selectors and properties. You’ll also discover information on new properties, including grid, flexbox, clipping, masking, and compositing.

  • Quickly find the information you need
  • Explore CSS concepts, values, selectors and queries, and properties
  • Learn how new features complement and extend your CSS practices
  • Discover new properties including animations, grid, flexbox, masking, filtering, and compositing in this new edition

 

6) The Book of CSS3: A Developer’s Guide to the Future of Web Design (Kindle — $20.39, paperback — $21.46)

The Book of CSS3: A Developer's Guide to the Future of Web Design
Book cover: The Book of CSS3: A Developer’s Guide to the Future of Web Design

The Web can be an ugly place. Make it pretty with The Book of CSS3. CSS3 is the technology behind most of the eye-catching visuals on the Web. But the docs can be dry, murky, and full of dastardly caveats for inconsistent browser implementations.

This completely updated second edition of the best-selling Book of CSS3 distills the dense technical language of the CSS3 specification into plain English and shows you what CSS3 can do now, in all major browsers. You’ll find fully revised coverage of the updated syntax of gradients, grids, and flexible box layout, as well as all-new chapters on values and sizing, and graphical effects like filter effects and blend modes.

With an abundance of real-world examples and a focus on the principles of good design, The Books of CSS3 will help you expand your CSS skills, as you learn how to:
–Style text with custom font choices, drop shadows, and other effects
–Create, position, and resize background images on the fly
–Spice up static web pages with event-driven transitions and animations
–Apply 2D and 3D transformations to text and images
–Use linear and radial gradients to create smooth color transitions
–Take control of layout with grids, columns, and flexible alignment
–Tailor a website’s appearance to every type of web-capable device

The companion website includes up-to-date browser compatibility charts, links to tutorials and resources, and live CSS3 examples.

7) CSS Visual Dictionary (Kindle — 25.99$, paperback —$34.99)

CSS Visual Dictionary
Book Cover: CSS Visual Dictionary

This list of CSS books will not be complete without the CSS Visual Dictionary. CSS Visual Dictionary is the perfect CSS learning resource of visual learners. In this book, several CSS properties will be covered using visual diagrams. This includes a visualization of the CSS flexbox and CSS grid box, working with text, element position modes, 3D transforms and many others. Over 200 visual diagrams explaining all CSS properties and values currently supported by all major browsers in common use.

8) CSS Master (Kindle — 19.47$, paperback —$20.49)

CSS Master book
Book Cover: CSS Master

CSS Master is tailor-made for the web designer or front-end developer who’s really serious about taking their skills to the next level. Discover how to keep ahead of the game by adhering to best practice and employing the most effective, cutting-edge CSS techniques. Author Tiffany B. Brown, a freelance web developer, and technical writer, teaches you how to:

  • Organize your CSS to create the most efficient and most maintainable code
  • Employ advanced approaches to achieve complex layouts: flexbox, grid layouts, multi-column, and more
  • Use next-level effects: transitions, transforms, filters, animations, and more
  • Combine CSS and SVG to create seriously powerful visuals
  • Use efficient debugging techniques
  • And much more!

9) CSS in Depth (Paperback —$27.79)

CSS in Depth
Book cover: CSS in Depth

This is one of the best CSS books, written for web developers who know the basics of CSS and HTML. CSS in Depth exposes you to a world of CSS techniques that range from clever to mind-blowing. This instantly useful book is packed with creative examples and powerful best practices that will sharpen your technical skills and inspire your sense of design. Some websites really pop. They look great, they’re visually consistent, and they feel interactive and responsive. You can bet their developers knew CSS in depth. CSS specifies everything from the structural layout of page elements to their individual look and feel. True masters know the patterns of CSS development, the techniques to implement them, and the subtle touches that result in beautiful typography, fluid transitions, and balanced graphics. Join them!

CSS in Depth exposes you to a world of CSS techniques that range from clever to mind-blowing. This instantly useful book is packed with creative examples and powerful best practices that will sharpen your technical skills and inspire your sense of design. You’ll gain new insights into familiar features like floats and units, and experiment with emerging ideas like responsive design and pattern libraries. Bottom line: this book will make you a better web designer and your apps will look fantastic!

Author Keith J. Grant,  a senior web developer who builds and maintains web applications and websites, teaches you how to:

  • Avoid common CSS pitfalls
  • Master misunderstood concepts
  • Use flexbox and grid layout
  • Responsive designs for any device
  • Code for reuse and maintainability
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