Articles by
Dan Wilson

Animating Single Div Art

One thing that single div pieces rarely do is animate. If you can transform your div or one of its pseudo elements, that's fair (as Lynn Fisher does with her fantastic BB-8). But you cannot directly change the opacity or transform of the individual "elements" you create inside your div, since they are not actual DOM elements.

I am a big believer of trying something a little different and interesting to learn tools you otherwise might never learn. Working with the constraints of a single div might not be great for production work, but it can be a great exercise (and challenge) to stretch your skills in a fun way. In that spirit, we'll use this technique to explore how Custom Properties (CSS Variables) work and even provide us a path to animation inside our div.

Making Custom Properties (CSS Variables) More Dynamic

CSS Custom Properties (perhaps more easily understood as CSS variables) provide us ways to make code more concise, as well as introduce new ways to work with CSS that were not possible before. They can do what preprocessor variables can… but also a lot more. Whether you have been a fan of the declarative nature of CSS or prefer to handle most of your style logic in JavaScript, Custom Properties bring something to the table for everyone.

Most of the power comes from two unique abilities of Custom Properties:

  • The cascade
  • The ability to modify values with JavaScript

Even more power is exposed as you combine Custom Properties with other preexisting CSS concepts, like calc() .

(more…)

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