Professional CSS review
My little brother (soon to be Dr. Smith) hooked me up with a Barnes & Noble gift certificate for my birthday, so I put it to good use. I just bought this book last night, and so far have made it through the first few chapters. I was surprised that they started not immediately with CSS, but with planning out your project timeline, developing wireframes, and determining client deliverables.
I guess I assumed since it's geared towards the intermediate to advanced CSS guru, that the book would gloss over these aspects and dive right into the code. I for one, appreciate that they help build the solid foundation of planning out the site, as this is one aspect that is often overlooked by clients, to the detriment of the overall project. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down with a church/ministry that said they really "need" a website, only to find there was little forethought put into it. This helps you prepare for these inevitable situations, so that you can help guide their thought process.
Professional CSS also has a good section about setting a client sign-off schedule, to cover yourself from their "innovations " that are thrown at you well after the site development has begun. In short: This book is about how to be professional, in not only your usage of CSS, but in your creative & business approaches to web design. It would make an excellent resource for anyone considering the venture into doing freelance web design for a living. Point-and-click programs that hash out tables are so 2003 (aka: outmoded).
The list of people who collaborated on this book reads like a Who's Who of the web: Todd Dominey, Ethan Marcotte, Dunstan Orchard, Christopher Schmitt, and Mark Trammell. There are also interviews with Doug Bowman, Dan Cederholm, and Mike Davidson. The technical editor was Molly Holzschlag and the forward was written by none other than Jeffrey Zeldman.
Basically, it's a bunch of people who do professional web design for a living, who have already written numerous books about it, all collaborating on one book that's jam-packed with helpful information. Suffice it to say, that if you want to learn about what drives many of the big-name sites out there, such as ESPN, this is the book to buy. Read more at Amazon: Professional CSS.
Hey, hold on there for a second, champ. Before you quit your day-job to start a freelancing career, armed with this book in hand, you might want to consider some other factors as you strike out on your own. Allow me to direct you to an article written by Garrett Dimon, which describes some of the trials and pitfalls of being a self-employed web designer: About Going Solo.