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Performance Budget Metrics

Tim Kadlec groups all the things you could measure in a performance budget into four groups:

  1. Milestone timings (Example: time to visually complete)
  2. SpeedIndex (WebPageTest's well-loved but isolated score)
  3. Quantity based metrics (Example: number of requests)
  4. Rule based metrics (Example: getting a "B" in "Use cookie-free domains")
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CSS-Tricks Chronicle XX

I thought for this edition of Chronicle I'd focus on some web stuff that I've been enjoying lately. …

CSS Specificity Graph Generator

Spikes are bad, and the general trend should be towards higher specificity later in the stylesheet.

Jonas Ohlsson created a tool around Harry Roberts concept.…

Fun Times with CSS Counters

Some bonafide CSS trickery from Will Boyd, like counted selected items and continuing a count across multiple sections.…

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Flexbox Nav Bar with Fixed, Variable, and Take-Up-The-Rest Elements

a CSS-Tricks reader wrote to me with a layout question. A variety of elements need to be arranged in a horizontal bar. Some of fixed size, some vary, and one needs to take up the rest of the space. Flexbox is beautifully suited for this, so I explain with that.

New T-Shirts! One Time Printing, Limited Time Only

It's weird. It's whimsical. It's light-hearted. It's soft'er'n'heck. Your mom will squint her eyes at you. It has a laptop with legs holding a floppy disk. It's designed by Jon Burgerman. I love it.

Taking orders for less than two weeks, then we'll print them and ship them out. Plus we'll send you an additional CSS-Tricks t-shirt for free. …

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Sketchy Avatars with CSS clip-path

The following is a guest post by Ryan Scherf. Ryan found a neat way to give avatars kind of rough, uneven, varied edges. Kinda like they were cut out with scissors by someone who wasn't very good at using scissors. What's nice is it's naturally a progressive enhancement technique and it can be done through just CSS.

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Little note from me here: OMGYOUGUYS Dash is super cool. Number one, building …

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5 Gotchas You’re Gonna Face Getting Inline SVG Into Production

The following is a guest post by Rob Levin. Rob is a Senior UI/UX Developer at Mavenlink, and coauthor of the Unicorn UI CSS Button Library. Their 2.0 release is using an SVG icon system, and here he shares some issues he's ran into along the way, and how you can watch out for them and fix them. Plus, Rob provides a full system you can use, including a working build process and demo.

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Collision Detection

I posted about jQuery UI's position feature years ago, but I was just thinking of how useful the collision detection part of that feature is. In a nutshell: you can position an element where you want them to go, but if it calculates that where you're putting it would be offscreen or otherwise hidden, it will adjust the positioning to fix it. …

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SVG Animation and CSS Transforms: A Complicated Love Story

The following is a guest post by Jack Doyle, author of the GreenSock Animation Platform (GSAP). Jack has been deep in the woods of web animation for a long time, trying to make it easier and better. He's written here before, talking about how JavaScript animation can be the most performant choice (Google even recommends it). This time, he focuses on SVG animation, some pretty scary issues you may come across while manipulating them with CSS, and how you

Firefox Developer Edition

  • For a normal front end dev like me, Valence is the most interesting feature. It's like how you can inspect iOS simulator through Safari, only it looks like you can do more with it, like inspect Chrome (weird), a Firefox OS app, or any other remote runtime.
  • There isn't too much else brand new and exciting that we haven't seen before from the Firefox Dev Tools. This seems just like a nice first step. A big public statement like: We

Sponsor: Extract for Brackets

Autocomplete is a pretty excellent feature of code editors, right? It helps us type faster and more accurately, and suggests things that might not immediately come to mind. (Was that white-space: prewrap; or whitespace: pre-wrap; again?)

Extract, a new Creative Cloud feature of the code editor Brackets, makes autocomplete way more powerful. Imagine if you had a specific layer selected in Photoshop, you're writing some CSS, and the color autocomplete suggested the fill color of that layer. Or …

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Styling Cross-Browser Compatible Range Inputs with CSS

The following is a guest post by Daniel Stern. Daniel shared with me a tool he created called range.css, which is for styling <input type="range"/>. This is one of those tricky things, because it requires a weird mix of normal standardized selectors and properties and non-standard and prefixed selectors and properties. I invited Daniel to explain all that.

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How SVG Fragment Identifiers Work

I've talked a good bit about SVG's <use></use> around here and using it to build an icon system. The beauty of <use></use> is that you can reference just a part of some SVG defined elsewhere and draw just that part somewhere else. That ability allows you to build a whole system out of it, solving the "many images in one request, because that's super efficient" problem that we've solved in the past with CSS sprites and icon fonts.

But …

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Taking Control of the CSS/JS that WordPress Plugins Load

The other day on ShopTalk a question we got led us down a short tangent on WordPress plugins, the resources they load, and what that would look like in a perfect world. I ended up writing up some thoughts on it and getting some feedback. I think it came to a somewhat satisfying conclusion so I figured I write it up.…

The Specificity Graph

Harry Roberts, on charting CSS selector specificity across entire codebases:

A spiky graph is a bad graph.

I would think if you went 100% on a methodology that encouraged class names for everything, your chart would be damn near flat. I wonder if that's a worthy goal. Something to draw a line in the sand on, for the good of a project. …

Sponsor: Wufoo

I'm posting this just as a big ol' high five to Wufoo for being a long time sponsor of CSS-Tricks.

Wufoo is a web app for building web forms. Things like contact forms, conference registration forms, t-shirt selling forms, wedding RSVP's, you name it. You put the forms on your own site (if you like). They work on small screens. They don't get spammed. They save their data forever. They can be multi-page and use logic. Everything you need a …

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Datalists for Different Input Types

I saw an HTML5 date input the other day, which had the dropdown arrow on the right, which I've grown accustom to clicking to reveal a calendar datepicker in which to choose a date.

Typically, that looks like this:…

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How SVG Shape Morphing Works

While animating SVG with CSS is easy and comfortable, CSS can't animate all the SVG properties that are possible to animate. For instance, all the properties that define the actual shape of the elements aren't possible to change or animate in CSS. You can animate them through SMIL though. Sara Soueidan covers this in her guide to SMIL here on CSS-Tricks, but I thought I would shine a light on this particular ability.…

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Lobotomized Owls

I had a post in my drafts for CSS-Tricks recently I called "Removing the Space from the Bottom of Modules". It's all about that tricky situation where you want even padding all the way around some elements to visually separate them. But elements inside will also need bottom margins, and that might lead to extra space along the bottom where that margin hits the padding.

Apparently I'm getting old and losing my mind, because I've already written about it. …

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Probably Don’t Base64 SVG

Perhaps you've heard of data URIs. It's a really nice way of including a resource that would have otherwise been a separate HTTP request. The format that you use in a data URI can vary. Essentially you just tell it what content type it is (e.g. image/png), semicolon, then the data of that file.…

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SVG Artboard Sizing

There are a couple of different (rational) approaches to SVG artboard sizing.

The term "Artboard" here is referring to that concept in Illustrator, basically the white drawing area you have for the document. Ultimately it refers to the viewBox in the actual SVG output. It matters very much for front end developers, because if there is no consistency, the positioning of the SVGs will always be a little one-off battle and really hurt the idea of SVG being a useful …

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How To Get Started in Web Design

Here's an answer to how to get started building websites that I fully endorse and isn't vague. This is going to cost a little money, just like learning to play the guitar requires buying a guitar and some accessories. This is also going to require a little time and mostly isn't directly about the coding itself. It's about getting you to a place where you're doing web design for real and you can't help but learn!

I'm going to …

Sponsor: Creative Market – October Big Bundle

It's always great to have a personal collection of design resources you know that you can use for whatever you like at your fingertips. Vectors flourishes and illustrations, photos, textures, patterns, fonts, layouts, all that good stuff.

No better place to stock up than Creative Market. This week, they have put together a Big Bundle of their best products. From graphics and fonts to photos and Photoshop actions. For only $39, you can fill up your designer's toolkit with 105

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A Guide to SVG Animations (SMIL)

The following is a guest post by Sara Soueidan. Sara has a knack for digging deep into web features and explaining the heck out of them for the rest of us. Here she digs into SMIL (and friends), and animation syntax built right into SVG, and gives us this epic guide.…

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I really like how Stack approaches this. It's exactly how I would have done it. There are projects - big buckets that tasks go into. Then each project has these columns that you can organize however you want. Each task is actually in a column. …

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Intermediary Pages in a Site Hierarchy

I had a reader write in with an interesting question:

When one has multi-level navigation, do you think it crucial to have an actual page for the top-level item? For instance, About Company, Founder, History.

There isn't really anything worth putting on the About page that wouldn't be on the three sub-pages. In the nav, should About just redirect to Company? Should there not be a Company page and its content be moved to About?

Any best practices you've found …

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When users leave the search box empty…

The following is a guest post by Brin Wilson of WinningWP. Brin wrote to me wanting to do a little advertising for his site. I of course would happily accept that, but even better, since Brin is a tech writer anyway, why not write a guest post. That's always a win-win, and since he had a good idea anyway... take it away Brin!

If you're reading this, my guess is you're someone who cares about user experience. …

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The Most Common Questions Asked on ShopTalk

As I type this, Dave Rupert and I have recorded 137 episodes of ShopTalk. ShopTalk is primarily a question-and-answer style show. Dave's early idea was to have it be loosely modeled after the most popular NPR show of all time, Car Talk, which is mostly Q&A. We have guests, and we talk a bit about the guest so people have a sense of who they are, but it's not exactly an interview show.

We solicit people's questions on …

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Responsive Images: If you’re just changing resolutions, use srcset.

If you're implementing responsive images (different images in HTML for different situations) and all you are doing is switching between different versions of the same image (the vast majority of usage), all you need is the srcset attribute on the <img />. Gaze upon this easy syntax:…

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Thoughts on Pagination

I've had some disparate thoughts regarding pagination lately, so I thought I'd attempt to organize them in a post. That's how blogging works right? …

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The Game of Life

It's not really a "game" - but more like a set of rules by mathematician John Horton Conway. Imagine a grid of cells, like a spreadsheet or a <table></table>. Each cell is either alive or dead. "Rounds" pass one by one. In each round, there are rules on whether a live cell should continue to live or die, and if a dead cell should continue to be dead or become alive.…

Don’t use `picture` (most of the time)

Jason Grigsby:

Unless you're solving for art direction, you don't need to the element. In fact, you're likely doing your users a disservice by using the <picture> element.

I'd wager that the majority of "responsive images" use is serving appropriately sized images for the situation. The situation = the size the image will be displayed at, screen pixel density, and bandwidth. That's exactly what <img sizes="" srcset=""> is best at. It does magical stuff that the browser can optimize for, …

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Build Web Layouts Easily with Susy

I've been coming around to the idea of using Susy (a Sass add-on for grids) lately. I like the idea of grids-on-demand, rather than a strict framework (no matter how simple). We even added support to CodePen. Last week I ran into Eric Suzanne, the creator of Susy, and I told him Zell Liew was working on a guest post for this site. He was "Oh, Zell! Yeah he's awesome, he's like the unofficial promoter and trainer for Susy." And

The Bézier Game

A game to help you master the pen tool.

By Mark MacKay.

Early in my career I had a job where a good half of it was cutting detailed clipping paths on photos (using the Pen Tool in Photoshop). We had an in-house photography department that shot furniture and electronics and the like, and I had to cut outlines around everything so designers could easily isolate things as needed. I'm sure I did thousands of photos. I'm still not a …

Getting Started with CSS Shapes

I just watched Jen Simmons give a talk Modern Layouts: Getting Out Of Our Ruts and she had some great examples of how easy CSS shapes are to use, even with safe progressive enhancement. If you haven't heard of them, essentially it's a way to wrap content (typically text) around custom SVG-like paths.

As serendipity would have it, here's Razvan Caliman with a megapost on how it all works and how to use it with real examples. …

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Scroll-Then-Fix Content

A reader sent me in a GIF showing off a cool effect they saw on Google on mobile. (Presumably the homepage you see when you launch Chrome on Android?) There is a search input in the middle of the page that scrolls with the page, but as it's about to scroll off the page, it becomes affixed to the header. Let's cover that, because, you know...

OH: I'm a mobile web developer, so I basically spend all day getting requests …

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A Look at SVG Light Source Filters

The following is a guest post by Joni Trythall. Joni recently finished a Pocket Guide to Writing SVG. I've been excited about SVG for a while now, working with it, learning about it, writing about it... but there is so much to know. It really is another whole universe of the web. So I reached out to Joni to see if she would like to write something for CSS-Tricks on SVG and she agreed! Here's Joni on lighting in

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Remote Beta Classes begin October 27th & December 8th with recommended application deadlines of September 29th and November 10th, respectively. Apply today and take …

AMCSS

"Attribute Modules for CSS"

An idea by Glen Maddern for moving styling with attributes rather than classes. Not an entirely new concept, but it's interesting to give it a name and explain a system based around it. Thoughts:

  • It avoids namespacing. Using modifiers like "large" is often a tempting naming convention, but too generic for a class name on its own. "Large" would be fine as an attribute value e.g. am-Button="large"
  • Cleaner on the HTML side, messier on the CSS
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Give Designers Tools To Get You What You Need

Let's say you're having a healthy back-and-forth between you (a front end developer) and a designer. All the best work comes through collaboration and iteration, right? I believe that. But I also believe there are time traps in there. If you feel you're wasting time by getting peppered with tiny design tweaks, there might be salvation in giving designers tools to do the tweaks and then give you exactly what you need.

Let's see some simple examples.…

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Glitch Effect on Text / Images / SVG

Lucas Bebber's Glitch is a super cool effect. It's like you're looking at some text displayed on a progressive scan monitor that has been dropped on the ground one too many times and so the alignment of the pixels is off in weirdly un-even amounts time and space.

It's bonafide CSS trick if there ever was one! It took me a bit to figure out how it was working, so I thought I'd explain. Then I ended up making it …

Sponsor: Frontend Masters – Expert Web Development Training

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Centering in CSS: A Complete Guide

Centering things in CSS is the poster child of CSS complaining. Why does it have to be so hard? They jeer. I think the issue isn't that it's difficult to do, but in that there so many different ways of doing it, depending on the situation, it's hard to know which to reach for.

So let's make it a decision tree and hopefully make it easier.…