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Show and Edit Style Element

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

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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.

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 …

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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 …

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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.

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 …

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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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.…

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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.
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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.
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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, …

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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 …

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.…

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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 …

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
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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 …

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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.
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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.

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

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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 …

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, …

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Rotating Feature Boxes

Three boxes: a main feature box and two sub features. Click on the sub feature boxes and the whole shebang rotates to make that the main feature. The animations happen via CSS3 (the future) and the clicks and class shuffling is done by JavaScript (its forte).

WebKit Gradient Syntax

... is now the same as the Mozilla / Official spec version, which is great because 1) it's easier to write and technically more powerful and 2) yay standards!

It's only in the WebKit nightlies, but I'm sure will be …

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Five Questions with Nicolas Gallagher

Nicolas has one of those web design blogs that everybody should subscribe to. He explains things with a thoroughness and understanding that we all should strive for. I caught up with Nicolas to ask him some questions about the future …

Google Dropping H.264

Google Chrome is dropping support for the video codec H.264. Kinda feels like an Apple vs. Google pissing match as H.264 is so heavily used by Apple and WebM was developed by Google.

For HTML5 video, this is how it …

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What’s the Difference?

Reader Paul writes in:

What's the difference between .container div { } and div.container { }?

It's great you are asking questions like this Paul. The answer is very important to understanding CSS, because these two selectors select very …

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Moving Highlight

I recently noticed a subtle and nice effect in the Google Chrome UI. As you mouse over inactive tabs, they light up a bit, but also have a gradient highlight that follows your mouse as you move around on them. …

Mother Effing HSL

From the source code:

this site is by Paul Irish
i made it cuz hsla is wayyyy cooler than rgba and more sensible too!

HSL is better than RGB. The reason it isn't used as much (according to me) is …

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Links

Got a couple of slightly-oldie-but-goodies for you:

  • A jQuery plugin by Manos Malihutsakis which allows you do to create custom scrollbars for content areas that do some neat things like move their position and size, style them differently, and use
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Why use Classes or IDs on the HTML element?

Reader Nicolas writes in:

I'm frequently seeing ID and class specifications to <body></body> and <html></html> elements. I'm curious as to why one would do this? If it is unique to either element, then why not specify body or html in …

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The MoveUp Menu

I got an email quite a while back from Dirk Tucholski who showed me a site called FLOWmarket. He was wondering about how the menu system worked. I thought it looked neat and so set out to build it …

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Thank You (2010 Edition)

It's been a tradition for years now around here for me to do a year-end wrap-up. It's a great way of reflecting on the year, sharing some random interesting statistics, and most importantly, saying thank you to everyone who comes …

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Poll Results: HTML5 on New Projects

Several folks pointed out that this last poll question was worded a bit strangely:

Would you start a new web project today and not use HTML5?

I worded it that way to elicit comments on why a person or organization …

Body Borders without Markup

Harry Roberts  with a nice technique on using pseudo elements to create the body border effect without extraneous markup (same idea with extra markup gets you older browser support). Read the comments for some other good suggestions. …

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Load More Sidebar Content When There Is Room

One classic layout conundrum is how much stuff to put in a sidebar. Ideally the height of the main content area and the sidebar are about the same, to avoid either area having a large blank area which can be …

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WebKit Image Wipes

It's not "spec," but WebKit browsers support image masks. If you are familiar with Photoshop, they work like that. You declare an image to use as as mask. The black parts of that image hide what it is over, …

The Hacktastic Zoom Fix

Nicole Sullivan on forcing elements to create new formatting contexts with display: table-cell and a string of X's as pseudo content to force it full width. …

The lean, mean, CSS-reset machine.

There are all kinds of CSS resets, from the ever-popular Meyer reset, to the newfangled HTML5 reset. Do you know what the difference between the different ones are? It's a bit hard to picture, even when looking at and comparing …