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Article Archives

Converge SE 2011

June 24-25, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina. It was awesome last year and this year should be ever better as it's at a nicer venue and I'll be speaking at it! $150 bucks for both days = super affordable as …

March 22, 2011

How to Avoid Common CSS3 Mistakes

Article I wrote for the new online version of .net magazine.…

March 22, 2011

Comma Separated WebKit Animation Keyframes

Another little thing I learned from Estelle at the SXSW 2011 CSS3: Beyond The Basics panel was that you can comma separate the keyframe values in a WebKit animation declaration. Let's say you wanted to create a pulsing effect as …

March 22, 20116 comments

ZEN Audio Player

Really cool audio player by simurai using HTML5 <audio, jPlayer (jQuery plugin), and CSS3 for the fancy animations. This made the rounds a few months back but I decided to wait until it was on GitHub, which then happened …

March 21, 2011

Get Your CSS Easing Code Here

A code generation and visualization tool by Matthew Lein for CSS3 transition timing functions. Biggest triumph? Making cubic bezier understandable. …

March 21, 2011

The Current State of HTML5 Forms

By me!

If you see any mistakes or missing info, please report it. We want to make this as accurate and comprehensive as possible.…

March 21, 2011

IEMobile Conditional Comment

Heads up: there is a conditional comment for targeting Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 7 mobile devices. Plus, other random thoughts.
March 21, 201132 comments

Crivestivus

This has almost nothing to do with web design, but I want to help promote an event going on in Northern Wisconsin put on by some friends of mine: Crivestivus.

They used to hold it just for friends and …

March 19, 20117 comments

New Poll: Conditional Tags for All Browsers

There is a very low chance this would ever happen, and as far as I know nobody is talking about it seriously. I think it might make for an interesting discussion and poll though:

Do you wish there was conditional …

March 18, 201194 comments

currentColor

CSS variables are always a hot topic when "the future of CSS" is discussed. They are actually coming natively, but using them in production (without a CSS preprocessor framework) is a long way off. However there is a feature that …

March 17, 201118 comments

Google Map as a Background

Cool idea and execution by Wade Hammess.…

March 15, 2011

Progressively Enhancing HTML5 Forms

This is what I'm thinking is the best current way to progressively enhance forms. That is, use HTML5 features when they are available and fall back to JavaScript alternatives when they are not.

Load up Yepnope.js <script src="scripts/yepnope.js"></script>

Yepnope is …

March 13, 201149 comments

SXSW + HTML5 Forms

If you are at SXSW, Kevin Hale and I are talking about HTML5 forms and using them to improve lead generation (and generally how to make your forms better). It's a 2.5 hour workshop which we intend to be fun, …

March 11, 2011

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Roger Johansson has a neat quick-tip style article on centering page content both vertically and horizontally by making the html element display: table; and the body element display: table-cell; with vertical-align: middle;. See the full code to make it …

March 10, 201141 comments

Styling Texty Inputs Only

A CSS3 technique for selecting only texty inputs, without the burdon of listing every single attribute selector for every single new HTML5 input type. Plus alternates.
March 8, 201159 comments

What We Learned Publishing Digging Into WordPress

Long writeup about the experience Jeff Starr and I had self publishing our book.…

March 8, 2011

Method & Craft

New must-subscribe-to site. Under the hood: curiously not HTML5. Almost feels rare these days. …

March 7, 2011

Open Source Ampersands

Little download packages by Mark Pilgrim that contain @font-face files that are super tiny because they contain just a single character: the ampersand. They come with an HTML demo so using them is an easy copy-and-paste job.…

March 7, 2011

It’s The Final Countdown

Microsoft themselves is tracking and promoting the demise of IE 6. China? 34.5%? Seriously?

And I can't help but hum a little Europe:

We're leaving together
But still it's farewell
And maybe we'll come back
To earth, who can tell?…

March 4, 2011

More Generated Content Tricks

Trevor Davis from Viget Labs with some clever and real-world implementations of pseudo elements.

There is so much to talk about with these pseudo elements it's crazy. I'm speaking at a few conferences coming up and I'm putting together a …

March 3, 2011

Quick Thoughts on Sharing Buttons

Randomly this week, I've had more-than-normal number of comments from folks who ask me something like:

Went to go tweet/share a blog post of yours, and noticed you don't have any of those on your site. Interesting, any reason why?…

March 3, 2011102 comments

Show and Edit Style Element

Kind of a classic little trick for ya'll today. You know the <style> blocks you can put in the <head> of your HTML to do styling? You don't actually have to put those in your head, they can be anywhere …

March 2, 201157 comments

Sans-Serif

Declaring just 'sans-serif' as the font-family means you'll get Helvetica on Mac, Arial on PC, and still have the good generic keyword fallback.
February 28, 201154 comments

Generated Background Noise

jQuery plugin by Daniel Rapp to fill any element with background noise. Uses <canvas> to create, then turns it into an image and sets a repeating background-image. Even if you'd be against using this on a production site, it's …

February 27, 2011

Stacking Order of Multiple Backgrounds

Multiple background images is a cool feature of CSS3. The syntax is easy, you just comma separate them. I find it's easiest/best to use the background shorthand property so you can declare the position and repeating and whatnot and keep …

February 25, 201134 comments

CSS3 Progress Bars

Just a fun experiment creating progress bars made with just CSS3 (no images). Loads of progressive nerdery packed into one little element.
February 24, 201147 comments

Bokeh with CSS3 Gradients

Bokuh is the effect of backgrounds in photographs with deep depth of field. Shapes round out and get blurry. Think of a really out of focus picture of a lighted Christmas tree. Divya Manian creates that effect in WebKit by …

February 24, 2011

I found it!

Funny article from Thierry Koblentz on CSS selector efficiency. Although there are cases where multiple ID selectors are needed, a selector like #nav li ul li a#active is almost certainly too heavy and inefficient. …

February 21, 2011

Letter Flipper

Randomly, I made a letter flipper thingy the other day. I saw a similiarish effect on a Flash site and tried doing it with JavaScript instead. You can view source on that page to see the simple code. It's just …

February 20, 201126 comments

Poll Results: HTML5 Features in Use on Production Sites

As a follow up to asking people if they are using HTML5 or not, I asked the people who are:

What features of HTML5 have you used on production sites?

These are the levels of popularity, from almost 3,000 …

February 17, 201131 comments

How Should We Calibrate Monitors for the Web?

When designing for print, having a properly calibrated monitor makes all the sense in the world. If done perfectly, what you see on the monitor should look like what you get on paper from a printer. No surprises.

When designing …

February 15, 201176 comments

Fade Image Into Another (within a Sprite)

Creating an image rollover is pretty easy with CSS. Give the element a background-image, then on it's :hover, change the background-image. It's best practice to combine both images into one and shift the background-position rather than use two …

February 14, 201144 comments

The Bright (Near) Future of CSS

Just in case anyone doesn't read Smashing Magazine, Eric Meyer has a long excerpt from his latest CSS book here which is loaded with good stuff. I particularly liked the bit about clearing :nth-child elements combined with media queries.…

February 11, 2011

CSS3 Loading Spinner

A WebKit-only demo of a loading animation. Loading text slowly reveals itself over and over while a spinner rotates around in a circle over and over infinitely.
February 10, 201129 comments

Rein In Fluid Width By Limiting HTML Width

You can set a max-width on the html element which helps keep fluid width sites under control with zero extra markup. Plus it's got pretty good browser support with a No Big Deal™ fallback.
February 9, 201122 comments

The Shapes of CSS

I made a page with the shapes you can make with a single HTML element and CSS. Here is an example:

View Demo   Download Files

The CSS you see on the page is the real CSS rendering that shape, …

February 8, 201160 comments

WebKit Adjacent/General Sibling & Pseudo Class Bug

Good news everyone! This is fixed in both stable releases of the WebKit browser Safari (5.1) and Chrome (13)

It's not every day you come across a solid bug in WebKit, which it seems to me leads the pack in …

February 4, 201117 comments

The New Bulletproof @Font-Face Syntax

I bet a lot of you are using @font-face in your designs. It's probably worth updating to this new syntax, which deals with IE9 and Android better than previous popular methods.…

February 3, 2011

Different Transitions for Hover On / Hover Off

In other words, "Different transitions on mouseenter and mouseleave" as those are the DOM events that happen, but we're not using JavaScript here, we're talking about CSS :hover state and CSS3 transitions. Hover on, some CSS property animates itself …

February 3, 201135 comments

Lessons with Media Queries

Sam Collins with a big writeup on his experience using media queries and comparing them against other mobile optimization techniques. There are lots of good practical tips to use inside your media queries like:

  • Remove all CSS and JavaScript animations
February 1, 2011

Implied Block

Jeff Starr tweeted a simple tip the other day:

If you're floating an inline element, it's treated as block, so no need to include "display: block;" in your stylesheet.

Indeed that is exactly what happens. The spec:

The values …

February 1, 201129 comments

Equal Height Blocks in Rows

A jQuery based solution for equalizing the heights of boxes across the horizontal row they are in. Different rows can have different heights. Originally by Stephen Akins.
January 31, 201179 comments

Ajax Load Container Contents

Use jQuery to replace a section of the page with that same section of the page from a different URL. The trick is to grab the contents of the section, not the section itself.
January 28, 201151 comments

CSS properties that affect type rendering

Tim Brown reminds us that:

When it comes to type rendering on the web, there’s not much web designers can do.

He's talking about literally how well type renders on the screen. There are a handful of properties that have …

January 27, 2011

Five Questions with Zoe Mickley Gillenwater

Zoe is a hero of the modern web. I first heard of her from her book Flexible Web Design, which is a super comprehensive and sensible look at building fluid width websites (and other techniques to make websites take …

January 27, 20118 comments

Unmatched Style Site Review

My buddies at Unmatched Style reviewed this here very site. Make sure to check out the video at the top where Gene and I talk about some of the design decisions and behind the scenes tech. …

January 26, 2011

humans.txt

I kinda like this idea:

It's a TXT file [at the root of your site] that contains information about the different people who have contributed to building the website.

A lot of websites should just have an about page where …

January 25, 2011

Native CSS Variables Closer To Reality

Tab Atkins Jr:

...the time until this starts showing up in nightly builds of Webkit is measurable in months.

and

...this is one of those things that you'll have to wait a decade for before you can reliably use in …

January 25, 2011

Animated Knockout Letters

I was watching some commercial the other day and they had these letters fly in over a black screen and reveal an image beneath them. It was a pretty cool looking effect and it reminded me how WebKit has that …

January 24, 201134 comments

The Shadow DOM

You know the little blue knobby on WebKit range inputs? And all those fancy <video> controls? That stuff is all built with regular ol' (styled) HTML elements, only they are behind a bit of a glass wall. You can see, …

January 20, 2011

*May or may not contain any actual "CSS" or "Tricks".