Breaking down CSS Box Shadow vs. Drop Shadow

Drop shadows. Web designers have loved them for a long time to the extent that we used to fake them with PNG images before CSS Level 3 formally introduced them to the spec as the box-shadow property. I still reach for drop shadows often in my work because they add a nice texture in some contexts, like working with largely flat designs.

Not too long after box-shadow was introduced, a working draft for CSS Filters surfaced and, with it, a method for drop-shadow() that looks a lot like box-shadow at first glance. However, the two are different and it's worth comparing those differences.

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MDN Product Advisory Board

We all know and love MDN for already being the best documentation for web features out there. It looks like it's poised to get even better with Google and Microsoft both joining a new board.

Mozilla's vision for the MDN Product Advisory Board is to build collaboration that helps the MDN community collectively maintain MDN as the most comprehensive, complete, and trusted reference documenting the most important aspects of modern browsers and web standards.

Interesting none of them mentioned WebPlatform, the previous attempt at this that kinda fizzled out. This effort seems a little more likely to succeed as it already has a successful foundation, actual staff, and a benevolent dictator in Mozilla. It's great to see browsers complete on user features but cooperate on standards and education.

Worth a shout that we dabble in "docs" for CSS features ourselves here at CSS-Tricks with the Almanac, but if anything in there is worth taking for a unified resource like MDN, be our guest. Not to mention everything public on CodePen is MIT, and there are loads of Pens that demonstrate web features wonderfully. For instance, that's why I built this one.

5 Tips for Starting a Front-End Refactor

For the last two weeks, I've been working on a really large refactor project at Gusto and I realize that this is the first time that a project like this has gone smoothly for me. There haven't been any kinks in the process, it took about as much time as I thought it would, and no-one appears to be mad at me. In fact, things have gone almost suspiciously well. How did this happen and what was the issue?

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Sponsor: Media Temple

Media Temple is my web host here at CSS-Tricks. I still remember what it was like buying my first web hosting, pointing a domain name to it, FTPing into that server, and having the files I put there appear in the web browser. Powerful stuff, kids. Watch out or you might try to turn it into a career!

I've upgraded my server a few times since then, but it's still a pretty standard grade Media Temple server that happily hosts this site with little trouble. When there is anything weird, I use the same support system to get help as is available to anybody else, and they always go out of there way to investigate what's going on and explain what's up.

A Look Back at the History of CSS

When you think of HTML and CSS, you probably imagine them as a package deal. But for years after Tim Berners-Lee first created the World Wide Web in 1989, there was no such thing as CSS. The original plan for the web offered no way to style a website at all.

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I haven’t experienced imposter syndrome, and maybe you haven’t either

In recent years it’s become trendy to discuss how we all apparently suffer from this imposter syndrome - an inability to internalize one's accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I take two issues with this:

  • it minimizes the impact that this experience has on people that really do suffer from it.
  • we’re labelling what should be considered positive personality traits - humility, an acceptance that we can’t be right all the time, a desire to know more, as a “syndrome” that we need to “deal with”, “get over” or “get past”.

It's not an officially recognized syndrome (yet?), but you can have medical diagnoses that are like imposter syndrome. A general feeling that you're faking it or don't know as much as you should isn't it.

Prettier + Stylelint: Writing Very Clean CSS (Or, Keeping Clean Code is a Two-Tool Game)

It sure is nice having a whole codebase that is perfectly compliant to a set of code style guidelines. All the files use the same indentation, the same quote style, the same spacing and line-break rules, heck, tiny things like the way zero's in values are handled and how keyframes are named.

It seems like a tall order, but these days, it's easier than ever. It seems to me it's become a two-tool game:

  1. A tool to automatically fix easy-to-fix problems
  2. A tool to warn about harder-to-fix problems

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The Art of Comments

I believe commenting code is important. Most of all, I believe commenting is misunderstood. I tweeted out the other day that "I hear conflicting opinions on whether or not you should write comments. But I get thank you's from junior devs for writing them so I'll continue." The responses I received were varied, but what caught my eye was that for every person agreeing that commenting was necessary, they all had different reasons for believing this.

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A Bit on Buttons

Here's three recent things that have come across my desk in recent days regarding buttons. One, an accessibility flub that needed to be fixed. Two, an article about the fundamental differences between links and buttons but how they can look too similar for our own good. Three, the logical extreme of the button element: never use them outside of forms unless injected with JavaScript.

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