With the world of web development expanding at an ever-increasing pace, it's easy to let parts of your mental model become stale and outdated. For me, CSS (Cascading Stylesheets) is one of these areas. In particular, CSS-based transitions and animations are not tools that I would consider part of my standard toolbox. To help update my mental model and close this knowledge gap, I read Transitions and Animations in CSS by Estelle Weyl.
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According to O'Reilly, this book is actually an excerpt from the upcoming fourth edition of "CSS: The Definitive Guide;" but, this book easily stands on its own as an in-depth guide for CSS transitions and animations. At no point did the book feel like it was missing context or read like it should be part of a larger dialogue; it was cohesive and thorough and was exactly what I was looking for.
While I've been using some simple CSS transitions for a while, this book really fleshed out my understanding of how they work. Most importantly, I now understand that the browser uses the target state as the primary source of the transition definition (with the source state as a cascading set of properties). The mechanics of this were something that I had, heretofore, accomplished through trial and error.
And, as far as animations are concerned, I've never written a single production animation. But now, I feel confident that I understand how they work and can more clearly articulate when and why I would want to choose an animation over a transition. I used to think that animations were nothing more than a more robust "transition;" I now understand how flawed that thinking was and that transitions and animations are two completely separate concepts that happen to have overlapping phenotypes.
All in all, Transitions and Animations in CSS was a quick read that was well worth my time. If you're not familiar with how CSS transitions and animations work, this book will bring you up-to-speed quickly. In fact, based on my enjoyment of this book, I'll likely check out a few of Estelle Weyl's other "Definitive Guide" expert books - I mean, what the heck is "flexbox" anyway?
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