I'm a strong proponent of using web standards. While using proprietary code may make complex web design faster/easier, it also has the best chance of not working correctly when new browsers come along.
If you're like me, I find selecting colors to be one of the most time consuming tasks. I created a series of color scales and samples to assist with color selection.
16 Named Colors / Grayscale / Six prime color scales In theory, every browser is supposed to display these 16 colors the same way. I haven't checked into what the hex codes are for the named colors. (Although they're apparently the original 16 colors that those simple "paint" programs used way, way back in the day.) I also added scales for the six prime colors: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta.
A Red / Green / Blue color scale I find this useful for finding color "bands" on different platforms. While I prefer the web-safe color pallet, I designed this page to give me a quick look at samplings of simple incremental hex/decimal coding.
What is a color "band"? Hopefully, you already know that different machines have different color depths and pallets. If not, run a Google search to learn about color pallets and web design. Anyway, I've found these scales useful to find out just how a particular color set will be displayed on a particular machine. By looking at the visual results, I can see where "bands" of color codes all look alike. Believe me, that perfect red can turn into a hideous purple on a different machine. (Or even the same machine if its color pallet is altered.)
Eric Meyer's home page I have found his work on Cascading Style Sheets to be the best. I've found that, for me at least, he can put complex syntax and concepts into a more managble chucks to read and absorb at different paces of learning. Plus he has an "On the Edge" section which shows just how far CSS can go. Practically every "advanced" work I've read about CSS cites Eric Meyer's efforts. He also links to other leaders in the field--so this is a good starting point, I think, for those who want to learn even more.
Elizabeth Castro and Laura LeMay are two other authors whose books I've found very helpful.