As web based designer who has designed web sites using tables but never with css, how can a novice get started with css?
I'm a big fan of reading tech books, so I learned from Beginning CSS Web Development: From Novice to Professional
The book that got me started was Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook. by Dan Cederholm It is not a reference, but gives you a good start with real-world examples. Dan does a good job of holding your hand, taking it slow and not boring you. I bought it several years ago and still refer to it on occasion.
This is the only CSS book I own. I use the web as my CSS reference.
Am using django framework, am pretty comfortable with the backend logic using python, but whats bothering me is the front-end bit where i have to work with css, how can i learn easily the workings of css or is there a tool i can use to create the front-end interfaces for django easily?
I have to agree that it's a lot of trial and error. There are sometimes many ways to achieve what you need to...some more "proper" than others. CSS Zen Garden was one of the first sites I discovered that really helped things click in my own head. View the design, view the source, view the design, etc...
A couple of books I appreciate having around are Dan Cederholm's Bullet Proof Web Design and
Andy Budd's CSS Mastery
Both give solid ways of accomplishing some common techniques and issues you'll run into with css-based designs.
The best book I've read about CSS and HTML is Zeldman's Designing with Web Standards
Zeldman covers the historical aspects of HTML and CSS along with converting a table-based website to semantic CSS. He also covers web standards, graceful degradation and browser quirks. It's often considered the 'bible' of modern web development.
CSS isn’t really that easy — it kind of stands on its own in terms of its concepts.
If you’re delving into it deeply, CSS: The Definitive Guide is well worth it.