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Stylebot

Chrome users and CSS wranglers, check this out. It's an extension which adds a "css" link on the right in your URL bar. Click it to open a CSS Edit-like pane on any website where you can click elements and adjust their CSS on the fly. The CSS that you edit will automatically be applied any time you visit that domain, allowing you to make persisting changes to the sites you visit. …

.net Magazine Awards

The Oscars of web nerdery. I'm nominated for a flatteringly high number of categories! Web personality of the year? You know it.…

54 comments

New Poll: Multiple JavaScript Libraries

Have you ever tried to debug a site where a beginner web designer has loaded the page with scripts? There's a couple copies of jQuery in various versions, maybe a little Prototype or MooTools thrown in. We can laugh a bit, but many of us went through that stage where we just didn't really understand things well enough to know there was any problem with that. And is there? Aside from the bandwidth concerns, most libraries have steps you can …

FireQuery

This is a very cool extension for Firebug (add-on for an add-on?) that expands Firebug's capabilities with jQuery. For instance, a built in jQueryify button, showing attached event handlers in the Content / DOM tree view, and highlighting all elements in a jQuery collection. I don't think it's new but I hadn't seen it until I finally watched Remy Sharp's debugging tools screencast from last month. …

38 comments

Intentional Difficulty

Here's some food for thought.

When designing something that you are reasonably certain the user is willing (or forced) to invest time in learning to use proficiently, is it beneficial to intentionally make some tasks just slightly more difficult than they could be?

Not incredibly hard, not convoluted, not outright counter-intuitive. But perhaps making some information a little more buried, or placing an action in a slightly strange place. If the user is really looking, they'll be able to find …

15 comments

Poll Results: Action Verb Clarity

The latest poll was all about picking the best sentence for a user to perform a specific action on a website. The choices are listed below, sorted from most popular to least:

  • 39% - Select a user and then click the Update button.
  • 37% - Select a user and then click Update.
  • 8% - Select a user and Update.
  • 7% - Select a user and then press the Update button.
  • 5% - Select a user and then press Update.
  • 3%

Fixing Background “Bleed”

Mike Harding with a desperately needed fix for when backgrounds "leak" out of elements with borders and border-radius.…

37 comments

Forums Downtime

Quick public service announcement: The CSS-Tricks forums will be unavailable starting now as the undergo awesomeness upgrades. I'll update this post when they are back!

And they are back! Might be a bug here and there. Definitely let me know if you see one.…

97 comments

Browser Jumping

If you asked me right now, Hey Chris, what's your favorite browser? I wouldn't know what to tell you! I've been a Firefox user primarily over the past few years, but over the last several months my allegiance is no longer to any one browser. I'm a browser jumper. I feel like it's only fairly recently that the tools are finally there that I can do that without too much trouble. …

Blogging is Still Awesome & Yours Can Kick-Ass

That's the title of my proposed talk for SXSW. I'm rather excited about it. I'm going to be talking a lot about this blog and how I've done things over the years and what has and hasn't been successful for me (which I've never really talked about before). Then, how you can take these ideas and improve your own blog. I promise it's not going to be a bunch of junk you've heard a million times about how content is …

44 comments

Getting Started with CakePHP: An Event Manager

The following is a guest post by r0mk1n. I was able to easily follow along and have the demo app up and running on my machine in just a few minutes. It's pretty cool how easy it has become to quickly build powerful web applications.

CakePHP is a free, open-source, rapid development framework for PHP. It’s a foundational structure for programmers to create web applications and enables you to work in a structured and rapid manner–without loss of flexibility. …

42 comments

Show Markup in CSS Comments

Let's say you are creating a CSS file for a modular bit of a webpage. Perhaps you are the type that separates your CSS files into bits like header.css, sidebar.css, footer.css, etc. I just ran across an idea I thought was rather clever where you include the basic markup you will be styling as a comment at the top of your CSS file. For example, a sidebar.css file might look like:…

232 comments

Design v7

I rolled out a new design this weekend! As usual it's a bit of an aesthetic overhaul (blue!). I'm going to cover the why, the new aspects, and some of the new technology involved. RSS readers, you'll have to make the jump and look around =).

And now, a note about critiquing: I love critiques! If you want to rip this design to shreds, please do so. I have my bachelors in Art and part of that was getting …

BetterSource for Safari 5

One of the major bummers about Safari is that the "View Source" view is totally lackluster. No code highlighting, no live links, no line numbers, no refresh. Boooo. The BetterSource extension solves every one of those problems. I do wish there was an option to show only one of the buttons or the other in the header bar though (one is for original source and one is for generated source) I don't need both. Update: You can just right click …

52 comments

iPhone “slide to unlock” Text in WebKit/CSS3

There are a couple of WebKit specific properties that make giving text a gradient background possible:

-webkit-background-clip: text; -webkit-text-fill-color: transparent;

Those will allow the background of the parent element to become the background of the text inside. I gots to thinkin', if we made a made a horizontal gradient that faded in a gray-white-gray pattern, then animated it from left to right, we could make the iPhone/iPad's "slide to unlock" screen with no images at all!

WebKit only demo:

View

37 comments

CSS Sprites Workflow

When you are coding up a brand new site, I think this is a pretty efficient workflow for how to handle CSS Sprites.…

Wufoo API Contest

We're giving away a friggin' Battle Axe (and $3,000) to the winner of the Wufoo API contest. Cash prizes and Wufoo accounts for life to the second and third place winners as well. Developers, you have until the end of this month! Check out the page for ideas and API wrappers.…

20 comments

Double Click in CSS

With the recent proliferation of touch devices, the web designers of the world are losing our beloved mouse pointer. There has been some interesting talk about how we essentially lose the :hover pseudo class in CSS as well as mouseenter, mouseleave, and mousemove in JavaScript. Then just earlier this week I did a post about how you can use the tabindex attribute to basically respond to a click with pure CSS. It got me thinking, can we somehow pull off …

one comment

Performance of CSS Selectors

The idea here was to compare different styles of writing CSS and see how they affect the page rendering. So using all ID's, using all classes, using OOCSS techniques, etc. I gave some best practices advice on this a little while ago, but had no tests to back anything up. So the most interesting part of it all to me was how the tests were being measured. The test idea came from a Jon Sykes article where he writes:

At …

3 comments

Cross-Browser HTML5 Video and Audio

MediaElement.js is a jQuery-based package for allowing us to:

  1. Use the HTML5 elements <videoand <audioand have them work cross-browser (including mobile WebKit)
  2. Deliver a consistent UI for controls
  3. Using only a single format

I'll be using it in the redesign of this site. I was all prepared to just say I'm using HTML5 video and if your browser doesn't support that then just download directly and use VLC or something. But then I realized I'd have to re-encode …

19 comments

Linkage Returns

Way back when I used to do "Links of Interest" style posts. I'm happy to announce now that 1) There is a new design of this site coming within the next few weeks and 2) Linkage is coming back. I'm going to do it like it's done currently on Digging Into WordPress, sort of Tumbr/Daring Fireball style. There will be no comments on this site for that style of post (comments should happen on the linked post). The title …

45 comments

Expanding Images using HTML5’s contenteditable tabindex

HTML5 has a new attribute, contenteditable, which can be applied to any element which allows it to be edited directly in the browser window. Think of text input with a predefined value, but it can literally be any element. Form elements like text inputs support the :focus pseudo class, which allow us to style those elements when they are clicked upon or otherwise navigated to. Giving an element the contenteditable attribute means it also now supports the :focus pseudo class, …

44 comments

Fix Inserted HTML5 Content with HTML5 innerShiv

When working with HTML5 today, many of you know that you'll need to include the "HTML5 shiv" to ensure that CSS will recognize and be able to style those elements in browsers that aren't yet hip to HTML5.

<!--[if IE]> <script src="//html5shiv.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js"></script> <![endif]-->

Credit for that to Remy Sharp, Jon Neal, John Resig and anybody else who contributed to that idea. Also for the benefit of those non-hip browsers, it's best to reset many of the HTML5 elements to block-level …

57 comments

Inset Border Effect jQuery Plugin

This is a guest post by Robin Thrift who wrote to me with some demo code for creating this effect. Together we turned it into a jQuery plugin. Enjoy!

I was browsing through a few Flash templates on ActiveDen when I came across an effect I see very often on Flash website galleries. It's a very simple but neat effect. The images have a border, but unlike CSS borders, it covers up part of the image. I wanted to use …

111 comments

Guidelines for URI Design

This is a guest post by Jacob Gillespie who started an interesting thread on Forrst about this topic. I invited him to post it here, to which he graciously accepted.

Over the past several years, I have taken an interest in usability and web design. One of the areas that seems to be often overlooked when it comes to design of a site is the design of the URIs on that site. Modern CMS systems allow for varying degrees …

41 comments

CSS Run-in Display Value

CSS has a value for the display attribute called run-in. It's like this:

h3 { display: run-in; }

The point is to allow a header to run into text below it, without sacrificing semantics or running into the problems you might run into trying to force it with other layout techniques.

Let's take a closer look.…

199 comments

Dude, you browse with JavaScript on?

Dude, you browse with JavaScript on?

Uhm, yeah, why wouldn't I?

It's totally insecure. Hackers could destroy your computer.

Hackers? What is this 1995? And, no they can't.

They can definitely steal information about you without you knowing.

Like what?

Like you're address book information or your browsing history, depending on your browser and settings.…

32 comments

Understanding border-image

The new CSS3 property border-image is a little tricky, but it can allow you to create flexible boxes with custom borders (or drop shadows, if that's your thing) with a single div and a single image. In this article I explain how the border-image shorthand property works in today's browsers.…

23 comments

Local Previews of Images from File Inputs (fail)

A little while back there was a guest post about Ajax image previews. It's a nice technique but it left myself and a few other commenters thinking: wouldn't it be cool if you didn't have to upload the image at all to preview it? After all, the image is on the persons computer already why can't we just snag the local file path and use that as the src of an image.

Well, it's that snagging of the file …

88 comments

Textarea Tricks

Oh, <textarea></textarea>'s. How many quirks you posses. Here is a collection of nine things you might want to do related to textareas. Enjoy.…

24 comments

Tips for Web Design that Crosses Cultures

The internet has the potential to put a global audience at your fingertips, but there's far more to reaching across cultural divides than simply putting your website out there and waiting for people to visit it. There are issues to do with language, design and SEO that all need to be addressed before your website becomes truly accessible ‘world-wide’. Thankfully, though, there are a number of simple tricks you can apply that will make it all a less daunting process.…

55 comments

Google Maps Slider

Google Maps has a JavaScript API now in it's third version. I remember playing with some version of the API back in v2 and thought it was kinda cool but a bit obtuse. For one thing, v3 no longer requires applying for an API key which is nice.

I'm sure it's partly me getting better at JavaScript, but I found the API quite well done and easy to work with. For one thing, it's fully evented. That means you can …

38 comments

The difference between ‘return false;’ and ‘e.preventDefault();’

Have you ever seen those two things (in the title) being used in jQuery? Here is a simple example:

$("a").click(function() { $("body").append($(this).attr("href")); return false; }

That code would append the href attribute as text to the body every time a link was clicked but not actually go to that link. The return false; part of that code prevents the browser from performing the default action for that link. That exact thing could be written like this:

$("a").click(function(e) { $("body").append($(this).attr("href")); e.preventDefault();
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CSS Media Queries & Using Available Space

We've covered using CSS media queries to assign different stylesheets depending on browser window size. In that example, we changed the layout of the entire page based on the space available. It isn't required that we make such drastic changes with this technique though, so in this tutorial we'll go over a design tweak with a smaller scope. We'll also cover the syntax for using media queries within a single stylesheet and more examples of that.…

79 comments

CSS Content

CSS has a property called content. It can only be used with the pseudo elements :after and :before. It is written like a pseudo selector (with the colon), but it's called a pseudo element because it's not actually selecting anything that exists on the page but adding something new to the page. This is what it looks like:

.email-address:before { content: "Email address: "; }

With this CSS in place, we could have this HTML:

<ul> <li class="email-address">chriscoyier@gmail.com</li> </ul>

And …

46 comments

Happy Fourth!

Today is America's birthday and also (more importantly) the birthday of CSS-Tricks, which turns 3 today. If it was a human being, that means it would be starting to string together sentences of five words or more, socializing well with others, and not wetting himself most nights. I guess it still has some work to do.…

17 comments

Five Questions with Jeff Starr

I first knew of Jeff through his website Perishable Press, which has long been a fantastic web design resource blog focusing on CSS, WordPress, and a lot of hard-to-find-elsewhere .htaccess stuff along with a good amount of Jeff's personality (which I consider to be a prerequisite of any good blog) . As you may know, Jeff and I co-author Digging Into WordPress together, both the book and the blog. Jeff is really a get-things-done kinda guy and I've always …

44 comments

Illustrators I Like

If there is one (non-superpower) skill I wish I could acquire without having to spend thousands of hours practicing, it's illustration. I took a bunch of drawing in college but I was never that great and I've let myself go out of practice. I look at a lot of illustrators work today and it makes me jealous! Illustration can really kick up the awesomeness level of any project.

I also find that Illustrators tend to take good care of their …

61 comments

New Poll: Action Verb Clarity

Let's say you were writing some text-only documentation describing how to do something on a website. The idea was that you came to a point where someone was presented with a list of users and their job was to select one, then there was a button below that they needed to interact with in order to get the job done. You decided "Select a user" was clear enough because of good user interface. But what is the best way to …

27 comments

Poll Results: How Many Websites Do You Launch Per Year?

  • 20+ (14%)
  • 10-20 (12%)
  • 5-10 (24%)
  • 2-4 (31%)
  • 1 (13%)
  • 0 (6%)

I'm probably in the 2-4 camp myself, which is the winning choice. I don't freelance, but I do do sites for family and friends once in a while. Even when I was at Chatman Design the vast majority of work we did was on sites that already were launched. This data would be more interesting if it was cross referenced with what kind of job you have. I …

12 comments

On Boagworld

In more podcast news, I got to be on Boagworld as well! I was interviewed by Paul Boag himself in the final interview ever on Boagworld. Bittersweet, isn't it? We talk about CSS-Tricks, CSS3, Flash, and you know, just some general back and forth about stuff. …

6 comments

On WordPress Podcast

I got to be on the WordPress Podcast with Joost de Valk yesterday. It's already out and you go to the blog post (with player and show notes), or snag it from iTunes.

We had fun talking about Digging into WordPress, WordPress 3.0, CSS-Tricks, and more. My voice is a little booming and heavy on bass (my bad) but I just turned the bass way down to listen to this track and it sounds fine.…

27 comments

CSS for Blockin’ Stuff

I am not a big proponent of ad blockers. Besides than the fact that this site has ads on it, I generally just don't mind it. I am a big proponent of you doing whatever you want to on your computer to control what is displayed to you on your screen. If you want to use user stylesheets, ad blockers, flash blockers, or whatever else, more power to you. Here are some CSS projects intended for blockin' stuff.…

34 comments

Feature Table Design

I ran into the feature table design from Shopify over on Pattern Tap and I was like DAMN SHOPIFY, that is one sexy table. I was inspired to try and replicate it. First in Photoshop, then in HTML/CSS. Recreating cool stuff you find on the web is definitely an excercise I recommend (a few days after, I read this - couldn't agree more). As these exercises typically do, it lead me down some interesting paths.

Here's my knockoff:

View Demo

109 comments

Should you use a template?

I absolutely think that beginner web designers should use templates. And by templates, I mean something that you might buy off ThemeForest or other template selling service. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Tweaking = learning. Templates need to be changed/altered/tweaked. That's the whole idea of a template. When a beginner designer does those things, they are learning how code works. Tweaking WordPress themes is exactly how I got into web design.
  • Quality. When the site is "done", a beginner
54 comments

Photography and CSS

It sure seems like a heck of a lot of web designers are also photographers, doesn't it? And by "photographer", I mean they own a DSLR and heavily consider aesthetics when taking a picture. Why the overlap of interests? Well clearly web design often incorporates photographs. Maybe we like to have the equipment we need to take decent pictures for websites and it grows from there. Maybe it's because photography is a lot like design. You have a canvas of …