css variables

Theming With Variables: Globals and Locals

Setting CSS variables to theme a design system can be tricky: if they are too scoped, the system will lose consistency. If they are too global, you lose granularity.

Maybe we can fix both issues. I’d like to try to boil design system variables down to two types: Global and Component variables. Global variables will give us consistency across components. Component variables will give us granularity and isolation. Let me show you how to do it by taking a fairly simple component as an example.

What Houdini Means for Animating Transforms

I've been playing with CSS transforms for over five years and one thing that has always bugged me was that I couldn't animate the components of a transform chain individually. This article is going to explain the problem, the old workaround, the new magic Houdini solution and, finally, will offer you a feast of eye candy through better looking examples than those used to illustrate concepts.

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Everything you need to know about CSS Variables

This is by far the biggest deep dive I've seen on CSS Variables posted to the web and it's merely Chapter One of complete e-book on the topic.

Truth is, I'm still on the thick of reading through this myself, but had to stop somewhere in the middle to write this up and share it because it's just that gosh-darned useful. For example, the post goes into great detail on three specific use cases for CSS Variables and breaks the code down to give a better understanding of what it does, in true tutorial fashion.

Scoping, inheritance, resolving multiple declarations, little gotchas—there's plenty in here for beginners and advanced developers alike.

OK, back to reading. 🤓

Simplifying CSS Cubes with Custom Properties

I know there are a ton of pure CSS cube tutorials out there. I've done a few myself. But for mid-2017, when CSS Custom Properties are supported in all major desktop browsers, they all feel... outdated and very WET. I thought I should do something to fix this problem, so this article was born. It's going to show you the most efficient path towards building a CSS cube that's possible today, while also explaining what common, but less than ideal cube coding patterns you should steer clear of. So let's get started!

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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() .

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Autoprefixing with CSS Variables

I'd call this a bonafide CSS trick, courtesy Lea Verou.

Don't miss the comments, in which Sérgio Gomes reminds us this might make it easier to change values in JavaScript, because you could skip worrying about prefixes there. Changing CSS variables in JavaScript is already rather appealing, as the changes will disperse throughout wherever they are used naturally.

And Andrea Giammarchi's trick, where you create a setup that behaves almost like a @mixin with default values:

* {
  --box-shadow:
    var(--box-shadow-x, 0)
    var(--box-shadow-y, 0)
    var(--box-shadow-blur) /* no default, required */
    var(--box-shadow-radius, 0)
    var(--box-shadow-color, black);
  box-shadow: var(--box-shadow, initial);
}

p {
  --box-shadow-blur: 8px;
}

p.special {
  --box-shadow: 10px 0 0 green;
}
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