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Where Style Guides Fit Into Process

Brad Frost was showing me some slides from one of his talks recently. He had some graphics that demonstrated different approaches to where a style guide can fit into a team's process. As you might imagine, it's a matter of just having one or not that will determine its effectiveness.

I thought I would attempt to explain my own thoughts on these approaches based on my own experiences.…


HTML vs Body in CSS

The difference between <html></html> and <body></body> is easy to overlook. It seems to be one of those things that falls into the category of trivial. Admittedly, I have a bad habit of applying all global styles to <body></body> and, when that falls short, I move to <html></html> without thinking about it.

There are differences, however, and it's a good idea to be aware of them regardless of whether we're CSS veterans or rookies. We'll go over those in this post …

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That's why I'm glad there are companies like Mack Weldon that make high quality clothes that used to suck to shop for: underwear, undershirts, and socks. This is what they …

Cut and Copy (from JavaScript)

Matt Gaunt shares that IE 10 and bleeding edge Chrome and Opera how support document.execCommand('copy'); and friends, which can make for some mighty convenience UX opportunities. …


Using Chrome DevTools to Debug JavaScript in Any Browser with Ghostlab 2

The following a guest post by Andi Dysart and Matthias Christen of Ghostlab. I was pretty impressed when I heard that the newly-released Ghostlab 2 could do this. I think a lot of us developers use Chrome because the DevTools are so good, and it sure would be able to use them in other browsers, even on mobile devices. And why not? Chrome DevTools are a part of Blink, which is open source, right? We just needed a tool


More Control over Text Decoration

Marie Mosley just finished up a revamping of the text-decoration property (and friends) in the Almanac. You're probably aware of this property. For instance, most default browser styles include underlined links by way of text-decoration: underline; - which you can remove with text-decoration: none;.

But you may not be aware that there is more you can do with this property, as well as various sub-properties offering more fine-grained control.…


CSS-Tricks Chronicle XXII

We put up a proper Team page. CSS-Tricks isn't just me, but a whole team of part-time staff that keep this ship sailing. That includes writers. We've always had guest posts, but now, for the first time, you'll be seeing articles not written by me that also aren't "guest" posts, because they work here! Example. Notice it doesn't have an introduction written by me like a guest post would. We'll get proper author archives up soon. …

Be Careful with will-change

The concept behind the will-change property is to stop using hacks like transform: translateZ(0) to tell browsers where to optimize and standardize it. The typical, understandable gripe is that this complicates CSS. Shouldn't browsers be smart enough to do these optimizations, rather than leaving it up to us authors? To which browsers say: it's near impossible to heuristically determine these things. Much like the sizes property in responsive images - just telling the browser allows it to act on that …


Override Gmail’s Mobile Optimized Emails

Many emails are designed with a large screen in mind. Text that looks great on a large screen can be difficult to read on a mobile device, though. If Gmail deems that the font-size of any text in an email is too small to be legible, it will increase the size and flag the message. That’s pretty nice. What could have been illegible is made legible, eliminating the need to pinch and zoom our screens. It can also be a little frustrating.

Starting a Refactor with CSS Dig

The following is a guest post by Tom Genoni. Tom built an open source Chrome Extension for analyzing CSS. I'll let him introduce it.

It's a new web project. You're starting from scratch. The front end is going to be clean and orderly. You've set your defaults. Your CSS files are organized. You've got a system! This time will be different. What could possibly go wrong?…

Be experienced, not cynical.

Jamison Dance:

If you don't share experience with others, your effectiveness will never scale beyond your own efforts. If you impart your battle scars on others without considering the circumstances in which they were inflicted, people who believe you will miss out on awesome things. The challenge of the experienced developer is to pass on wisdom without passing on dogma, but most developers think their personal experience should be enshrined as a best practice.…

Accessibility Wins

Marcy Sutton's new site "showcasing accessible user interfaces".

I don't know about you, but I sure like the idea of celebrating the good to balance out all the shaming of the bad.…


BEM 101

The following is a collaborative post by guest Joe Richardson, Robin Rendle, and a bunch of the CSS-Tricks staff. Joe wanted to do a post about BEM, which we loved, and just about everybody around here had thoughts and opinions about BEM, so we figured we'd all get together on it and do it together.

The Block, Element, Modifier methodology (commonly referred to as BEM) is a popular naming convention for classes in HTML and CSS. Developed by

Browser representatives on CSS [selector] performance

My anecdotal evidence regarding CSS selector performance is: I've never once bothered with optimizing for it, and typically outright ignore traditional "advice" around it, and it's never been a problem.

Ben Frain looks around at what browser people say about it and:

At this point I'm happily re-concluding that CSS selectors are rarely a problem with static pages. Plus, attempting to second guess which selector will perform well is probably futile.

If you're doing something extraordinarily DOM-heavy, I think you …

Loading CSS without blocking render

Typically you do want CSS to block rendering. Pages would load in a very awkward manner if you saw the page load with no CSS first, then shift around as the CSS is parsed and applied to the page.

But there are some situations where you want to defer loading of CSS - for instance a stylesheet of custom fonts you don't mind downloading late. Or even your main stylesheet if you're doing critical CSS.

Keith Clark presents a …



A (very) brief look at custom font loading. How browsers handle that, how we can exert control over it, and the acronyms invented to describe it.

WordPress Functionality Plugins

The following is a guest post by Jason Witt. I've known for quite a while that I should port a lot of the stuff from my `functions.php` in my WordPress theme into a functionality plugin. But you know, hours in the day and all that. I recently had Jason work on this project for me, and he did a bang up job. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read on.

Adding new functionality to a WordPress …


Server Side Mustard Cut

In this article we'll look at how useful client-side "mustard cutting" is and look at a technique where saving that information to a cookie so it can be used server-side can be useful.

Choose a Random Option based on a Range

I have three options and I need to randomly pick one (in JavaScript). But not equally random. I want there to be a 10% chance of the first option, 20% chance of the second one, and 70% chance of the third.

Here are some ways to do that.…


Numeric Inputs – A Comparison of Browser Defaults

The spec, purposefully, stops short of telling implementations (browsers) how to handle UI. In this article we're looking specifically at <input type="number"/>, and you might be surprised to learn that the spec specifically says:

This specification does not define what user interface user agents are to use.

It goes on to explain that different languages, cultures, and regions might have good reason to handle numeric inputs differently. So browsers are on their own here, and perhaps this time …


WordPress Front End Security: CSRF and Nonces

In our last article, we covered Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and the functions WordPress provides to prevent XSS attacks. Today, we'll look at another security concern for front end developers: Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF). …


Introduction to WordPress Front End Security: Escaping the Things

If you're a WordPress developer that writes HTML/CSS/JS (which is 100% of theme developers and 99% of plugin developers), you need to know the basics of front end security for WordPress. WordPress gives you all the tools you need to make your theme or plugin secure. You just need to know how and when to use each tool.

For example, one huge responsibility you have as a front-end developer is to prevent unescaped content from being printed to the page


SVG patterns for Data Visualization by Riccardo Scalco.

This is like all my favorite web things smashed together. Beautiful design, SVG, accessibility, programmatic control with JavaScript, and open source. #swoon…

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Probably Use initial-scale=1

If you're doing responsive design, you're using viewport <meta /> tags. These tell the browser what width it should render the viewport at. If you don't use this tag, it will render at the device's default, which almost certainly isn't what you want. But even if you are using viewport <meta />, there are subtle differences in the value you put in it.

I just wanna focus on one little difference here.…


Left Half and Right Half Layout – Many Different Ways

A whole bunch of years ago, we posted on this idea here on CSS-Tricks. We figured it was about time to update that and do the subject justice.

Imagine a scenario where you need to split a layout in half. Content on the left and content on the right. Basically two equal height columns are needed inside of a container. Each side takes up exactly half of the container, creating a distinct break between one. Like many things in CSS, …


Strategies for Staying on Top of Web Performance

Step one is caring about the performance of your websites. Step two is doing things to make it better. Step three is staying on top of performance for the long haul.

That means not just poking at trying to improve your web performance a few times a year, but making it a part of your active development and trying to prevent regressions. Certainly something that gets harder the more actively developed your site is.…

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New Poll: You get this email…

Maybe you know the kind. It's from someone you've never met, but it sounds like good news. They have an idea for new web thing. They know what you do, and they want your help. In fact, they want to cut you in on it, perhaps co-found this company. Control over the parts that matter to you. It's a decent idea. Not mind-blowing, but lots of ideas seem kind mediocre at first right? It's what you do with them, you …

What Does My Site Cost?

With the average website size closing in on 2 MB (!), Tim Kadlec's new site forces us to think how much money it costs to load a single website when you're paying for data on a mobile connection. In Germany, that's a dang U.S. quarter for one site. …

Em-based media queries are based on…

(drumroll please)

Stephanie Rewis (off a lead from Susan Robertson):

the em base in media queries comes from the user's setting (which is the 16px browser default if not changed by the user).

Intuitively, it seems like changing the font-size at the :root / html level would change what 1em is and thus change where breakpoints hit, but it doesn't.

Em-based media queries got very popular after Lyza Gardner detailed how breakpoints didn't hit as you'd expect with browser zooming. …


Poll Wrapup: The Number of People Touching CSS

The last poll around here was:

How many people touch the CSS in your current main project?

Defined as:

  • Actually author and edit it.
  • Or, are an active consumer of it. You/they write HTML and use the CSS available thus have a vested interest in the actual CSS, not just the outcome.

My desire with this poll was to get a sense of how shared CSS is. Is CSS the kind of code that is generally in and out of …


Using the HTML5 History API

The HTML5 History API gives developers the ability to modify a website's URL without a full page refresh. This is particularly useful for loading portions of a page with JavaScript, such that the content is significantly different and warrants a new URL.

Here's an example. Let's say a person navigates from the homepage of a site to the Help page. We're loading the content of that Help page with Ajax. That user then heads off to the Products page which …


Moving to HTTPS on WordPress

I just recently took CSS-Tricks "HTTPS everywhere". That is, every URL on this site enforces the HTTPS (SSL) protocol. Non-secure HTTP requests get redirected to HTTPS. Here's some notes on that journey.…

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Creating responsive, touch-friendly carousels with Flickity

The following is a guest post by David DeSandro. David is a legend in front-end design and development. He's worked for top agencies like nclud and huge products like Twitter, all the while building amazing open source projects like Masonry and Packery. Lately he's been full time on these open source projects as Metafizzy, the latest one he'll tell you about here.


I like how percentage background-position works

I learned something the other day when we were fleshing out the background properties in the Almanac. It's such an intuitive thing, that I guess I just never stopped to think about it before.

By default, background-position is 0 0, the top left corner. Now imagine you set it to 50% 0. That background image is now center top. It figures out the size of that image, and positions the center of it at the center of …

Quantity Queries for CSS

Heydon Pickering with some clever CSS selectors like:

li:nth-last-child(n+6), li:nth-last-child(n+6) ~ li { /* Selects all list items if there are 6 or more */ }

Similar to Matt Mastracci's article where he focuses on styles for groups of specific numbers. …


Considerations on Choosing a University CMS

The other day a friend of mine, who works at a university, told me he was on a committee to choose a CMS for the whole university. I definitely don't envy that task, but I do find it quite interesting. …


Using AngularJS for Data Visualisations

The following is a guest post by Nick Moreton. I gotta say I find this idea rather intriguing. I know that I love working in HTML, SVG, and CSS, so when Nick shares that we can use that for structure and use the data directly to style a chart, that appeals to me. And then to know that, because you're using Angular, the chart can automatically change when the data changes... that's just dang cool.


Dropdown Menus with More Forgiving Mouse Movement Paths

This is a fairly old UX concept that I haven't heard talked about in a while, but is still relevant in the case of multi-level dropdown menus. A fine-grained pointer like a mouse sometimes has to travel through pretty narrow corridors to accurately get where it needs to in a dropdown menu. It's easy to screw up (have the mouse pointer leave the path) and be penalized by having it close up on you. Perhaps we can make that less …



The following is a guest post by Dennis Gaebel. Dennis created some pretty captivating polygon SVG effects on CodePen, and here he'll share how he did it.


Accidental CSS Resets

Any time you use a shorthand property in CSS, you set all the values for all the properties it deals with. It's not a bug, it's just how CSS works. I've seen it confuse people plenty of times. Let's shine a light on the issue to hopefully make it more understood.…


Thoughts on the Advertising Ecosystem

There are lots of business on the web. One type of those is a website that sells products or services. Those websites employ people who work on the site, incur server costs, material costs, etc. The products and services they provide are useful to people, and they pay for them. Business. Cool.

Those websites need customers. They need people to come to those sites. There are all sorts of ways to do that. Word of mouth. SEO. Wear a costume …


CSS-Tricks Chronicle XXI

As I write I'm half way through my month-long stay at Hilton Head Health. I like coming here to keep my weight in check. I hope to break some personal records while I'm here this time. It's also been a good way to escape some of the Wisconsin winter. It has been mild up until I left, but it sounds like February has been pretty rough so far. …

Sponsor: Stack

Stack is what we use here at Team CSS-Tricks to keep organized. Check out our interview over on their site.

There is a lot to keep track of: article ideas, site bugs, site improvement ideas, guest posts, etc. Also business things like invoicing statuses, accounting tasks, and merchandise. Stack allows us to break all those things up into projects. Then each project has tasks, like "Update the Sprites article" or "Order more green T-Shirts" - which get organized by custom …

FLIP Your Animations

First, Last, Invert, Play.

Paul Lewis demonstrates a performant way to approach animations. It's the opposite of how you normally think of them. In this approach, the state you first see elements in is the the result of manipulation from the elements final state. Then you remove all the transforms (et al.) to trigger the animation.…

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