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Wise Women List Archive File

Beginning CSS

I am at a point now where I can spend the next few weeks teaching myself CSS but I don't know where to start or even what good resources to use. My client wants me to teach myself CSS so that way we can improve the sites I have already done for him with what I have taught myself to do since I got out of school 2 years ago.

I have had a little bit of programming background but it's been 15 years since I have had any major programming. I am familiar enough with the HTML coding so I think that part will go ok. The problem is that I am a visual learner and need to see where things are placed and then go from there.

I plan to use Dreamweaver to do the CSS - is this a good learning environment for CSS? Or should I try using Top Styles or Coffee Cup HTML?

I figured that CSS would be the next logical step up for me to go. Any comments or suggestions on what I should do please let me know.

I use CSS for all my sites, at least for all font, color, etc. I am still leery about using it in place of tables but definitely use it for my formatting. I always use Top Style. I use it in conjunction with Dreamweaver. I find the CSS tools in Dreamweaver to be lacking. Top Style makes it very easy to make CSS files. As far as books, a good, inexpensive book is the CSS book in the Visual Quick Start Guide series. There are also a couple of good on-line resources for CSS. I have those links on my computer at work, not here at home.

If you can get your hands on the book called "Cascading Style Sheets, Designing for the Web" Second Edition by Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos. I think you will find that you won't be intimidated. I'm working my way through it and I find it very straightforward.

I use Dreamweaver for basic, simple CSS, and supplement it with TopStyle. It seems to me that it won't take you several weeks to learn. This is one of those things that seems complex until you do it, and then whoa! This is no big deal, and so cool!

Here are some links I've found helpful, especially Mako's site.

Don't forget Shirley's site: http://www.websitetips.com/css/index.shtml

It's a great resource for CSS.

you might want to check out the CSS tutorials at w3schools.com:


I would recommend downloading TopStyle, it is an excellent css program and very easy to use. There is a free version even! Also I would recommend going to Shirley's websitetips.com and looking under CSS, she has a huge amount of resources to look at and that will give you a good start.

I found css relatively easy to learn (this was just using it for fonts mainly not tables or layout)-I would put it on par with HTML. I found the major difference between the two was that there were a huge amount of browser issues with CSS versus HTML.

The very best online tutorial I've found is here:


A lot that I couldn't make sense of before reading it, finally dropped into place while I worked through it.

The first issue to decide is how far you want to go. If all you want to do is style text, then Shirley's http://www.websitetips.com has all the information you will ever need. If you want to do absolute positioning and remove everything from tables, then it is a much bigger challenge. My personal choice has been to use CSS for text styling and wait to see how everything else shakes out.

Right now, the glitches and workarounds required to satisfy various builds of Netscape and MSIE can be frustrating. My personal taste is also that many of the sites doing strict standards are quite plain, which works for some of the people I work with but not others.

Just my $.02

I use CSS for everything except for positioning, I am still using tables and I am not ready to let them go. Like [someone else], pure CSS layouts are not my cup of tea. I sell quite a lot of templates to people who are looking for something *aesthetical* and this is my niche because there will be always people who will like that type of layouts. I combine CSS and tables and I am quite happy with the result...

CSS are pretty easy once you have grasped the concept. I suggest you to start with a site dedicated to children but that I find very useful for adults too!


and the one below is one of the best resources on CSS (besides Shirley's site of course)


I use TopStyle Pro (which is linked to my HTML editor HomeSite) for writing all my CSS, very handy!!!




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