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Writing an e-Book and CSS Customization - What do you want?

  1. Hi everybody,

    I'm a huge fan of css customization on WordPress.com and planning to publish an e-book on this topic. I have been reading a lot lately on this forum and would like to hear a little bit of feedback. I'm currently targeting the absolute novice to webdesign, who has limited understanding of HTML and CSS. Further, I would like to focus on the Sandbox theme because I offers a great platform to start your design. The table of content is currently outlined as follows and should be a total of 50 to 75 pages:

    1. Introduction

    2. Seperation (Provides a basic understanding of the nature of a website
    2.1 HTML (Introduction to HTML)
    2.2 CSS (Introduction CSS)
    2.3 Javascript (Introduction to Javascript)

    3. Tools (Selection of software tools you should use)

    4. WordPress.com
    4.1 HTML of Sandbox
    4.2 CSS

    5. Basics
    5.1 Changing Colours
    5.2 Changing Fonts
    5.3 ...

    6. Layouts
    6.1 One-Column Layout
    6.2 Two-Columns Layout
    6.3 Three-Columns Layout

    7. Digging Deep
    7.1 Taking advantage of classes and ids.
    7.2 (...)

    What other topics would you like to be covered? What topics should not be covered? What is missing_

    Cheers,
    Thoams

    The blog I need help with is trsweblog.wordpress.com.

  2. If your target audience are wp.com users, then you shouldn't include "2.3 Javascript (Introduction to Javascript)". That would lead people to believe they can use JavaScript when they actually can't.

    A "Best Practices" section would be nice. For instance (and you and I might have different views on this one), encourage the use of "em" or "%" units when setting "font-size" instead of "px" units; or encourage the use of "%" instead of "em" units when defining flexible widths.

    I consider this kind of coding silly and inappropriate.

    #element {
    font-size: 12px;
    margin: 1.5em;
    }

    Whereas this is better:

    #element {
    font-size: .75em;
    margin: 150%;
    }

    If you and I have different views on this, please disregard my suggestion.

    Something that might be useful is the differences of the 3 versions of Sandbox available on wp.com. This might be too much, though. If I was writing the book, I would probably not do it.

    One thing I try to encourage people I help on these forums, is to be organized in their code. Also, I encourage them to write their properties in alphabetical order and use shortcuts. For example, instead of this:

    #element {
    width: 400px;
    padding: 5px 10px 15px 10px;
    background-image: url(image.gif);
    backgrond-color: #FFFFFF;
    background-attachment: scroll;
    margin: 0px 10px 0px 10px;
    }

    Write them like this:

    #element{
    background:  #fff url(image.gif) 0 0;
    margin: 0 10px;
    padding: 5px 10px 15px;
    width: 400px;
    }

    Also, I tell them that writing selectors like this is not necessary unless you really have to:

    div#id {
    ...
    }
    
    span.class{
    ...
    }
    
    etc.

    You could also write about the proper use of elements. I ranted about this some time ago.

    These are the things I can think of right now.

    Good luck with your ebook!

  3. Thanks a lot for your feedback. I added Javascript to my list to give readers a full understanding of separation, yet won't touch this in detail. I love the idea on best practices with focus different approaches of using units in CSS and further code organization. I'll include this within the tool-section.

    Thanks a lot for your feedback!

    Thomas

  4. My pleasure.

  5. Are you going to include simple things like navigation bar, page buttons? That is one area I really struggled with when changing my blog's CSS!

    Can't wait to read!

  6. Absolutly,

    currently I'm aiming to provide a solid foundation to start off a little bit of css hacking.Therefore, I wish to include several simple modifcations to Sandbox, e.g. layout, navigation, content formatting, fonts, colors, alignment etc. Depending on its success, I might start a second ebook on advanced topics.

    Thomas

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