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Topic: CSS

  • Why Sass?

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    “I was a reluctant believer in Sass. I write stylesheets by hand! I don’t need help! And I certainly don’t want to add extra complexity to my workflow. Go away!” So says designer, CSS wizard, and Dribbble co-founder Dan Cederholm at the beginning of his new book Sass For Web Designers, released today by A Book Apart. Yet the reluctant convert soon discovers that the popular CSS pre-processor can be a powerful ally to even the hand-craftiest front-end designer/developer. Dan has never learned a thing about CSS he wasn’t willing to share (and great at teaching). And in this exclusive excerpt from Chapter 1 of Sass For Web Designers, you’ll get a taste of how Dan learned to quit worrying and use Sass to take better control of his stylesheets and websites.

  • Improving UX Through Front-End Performance

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    Adding half a second to a search results page can decrease traffic and ad revenues by 20 percent, says a Google study. For every additional 100 milliseconds of load time, sales decrease by 1 percent, Amazon finds. Users expect pages to load in two seconds—and after three seconds, up to 40 percent will simply leave. The message is clear: we must make performance optimization a fundamental part of how we design, build, and test every site we create—for every device. Design for performance; measure the results.

  • Responsive Comping: Obtaining Signoff without Mockups

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    If you’re making websites, chances are you’ve given some thought to what constitutes a responsive-friendly design process—and you’ve probably found that adding a mockup for every breakpoint isn’t a sustainable approach. Designing in code sounds like the answer, but you may be mystified at where to begin—or feel unmoored and disoriented at the prospect of giving up the approach you’ve long relied on. Enter responsive comping. This new, mockup-less web design process makes it easy to get that Photoshop monkey off your back, and have a fresh new beginning with your old friend the web browser.

  • Learning to Love the Boring Bits of CSS

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    The future of CSS gives us much to be excited about: On the one hand, there’s a whole range of new methods that are going to revolutionize the way we lay out pages on the web; on the other, there’s a new set of graphical effects that will allow on-the-fly filters and shaders. People love this stuff. Magazines and blogs are full of articles about them. But if these tools are the show ponies of CSS, then it’s time to give some love to the carthorses of the language. Learn why “boring bits” like selectors, units, and functions will be revolutionary to the way we work—albeit in humble, unassuming ways.

  • ALA Summer Reading Issue

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    Presenting the ALA Summer Reading Issue—our favorite articles from 355 issues of A List Apart. You can also read them all as an epub on your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Readmill, or other e-book reader.

  • A Case for Responsive Résumés

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    Grizzled job hunting veterans know too well that a sharp résumé and near-flawless interview may still leave you short of your dream job. Competition is fierce and never wanes. Finding new ways to distinguish yourself in today's unforgiving economy is vital to a designer/developer's survival. Happily, web standards whiz and mobile web developer Andrew Hoffman has come up with a dandy differentiator that is just perfect for A List Apart readers. Learn how to author a clean résumé in HTML5/CSS3 that scales well to different viewport sizes, is easy to update and maintain, and will never grow obsolete.

  • Building Books with CSS3

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    While historically, it's been difficult at best to create print-quality PDF books from markup alone, CSS3 now brings us the Paged Media Module, which targets print book formatting. "Paged" media exists as finite pages, like books and magazines, rather than as long scrolling stretches of text, like most websites. With a single CSS stylesheet, publishers can take XHTML source content and turn it into a laid-out, print-ready PDF. You can take your XHTML source, bypass desktop page layout software like Adobe InDesign, and package it as an ePub file. It's a lightweight and adaptable workflow, which gets you beautiful books faster. Nellie McKesson, eBook Operations Manager at O'Reilly Media, explains how to build books with CSS3.

  • Say No to Faux Bold

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    Browsers can do terrible things to type. If text is styled as bold or italic and the typeface family does not include a bold or italic font, browsers will compensate by trying to create bold and italic styles themselves. The results are an awkward mimicry of real type design, and can be especially atrocious with web fonts. Adobe's Alan Stearns shares quick tips and techniques to ensure that your @font-face rules match the weight and styles of the fonts, and that you have a @font-face rule for every style your content uses. If you're taking the time to choose a beautiful web font for your site, you owe it to yourself and your users to make certain you're actually using the web font , and only the web font ,  to display your site's content in all its glory.

  • Dive into Responsive Prototyping with Foundation

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    There are hundreds of devices out there right now that can access the full web, as Steve Jobs once put it. They come with different capabilities and constraints, things like input style or screen size, resolution, and form. With all these devices set to overtake traditional desktop computers for web traffic next year, we need tools to help us build responsively. Jonathan Smiley shows how to dive into responsive design using Foundation, a light front-end framework that helps you rapidly build prototypes and production sites.

  • The Vendor Prefix Predicament: ALA’s Eric Meyer Interviews Tantek Çelik

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    During a public meeting of the W3C CSS Working Group, Mozilla web standards lead Tantek Çelik precipitated a crisis in Web Standards Land when he complained about developers who misunderstand and abuse vendor prefixes by only supporting WebKit’s, thereby creating a browser monoculture. Tantek’s proposed solution, having Mozilla pretend to be WebKit, inflamed many in the standards community, especially when representatives from Opera and Microsoft immediately agreed about the problem and announced similar plans to Mozilla’s. To get to the bottom of the new big brouhaha, exclusively for A List Apart, our Eric Meyer interviews Tantek on Mozilla’s controversial plan to support -webkit- prefixed properties.

  • Every Time You Call a Proprietary Feature “CSS3,” a Kitten Dies

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    Any -webkit- feature that doesn’t exist in a specification (not even an Editor’s draft) is not CSS3. Yes, they are commonly evangelized as such, but they are not part of CSS at all. This distinction is not nitpicking. It’s important because it encourages certain vendors to circumvent the standards process, implement whatever they come up with in WebKit, then evangelize it to developers as the best thing since sliced bread. In our eagerness to use the new bling, we often forget how many people fought in the past decade to enable us to write code without forks and hacks and expect it to work interoperably. Lea Verou explains why single-vendor solutions are not the same as standards and not healthy for your professional practice or the future of the web.

  • Building Twitter Bootstrap

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    Bootstrap is an open-source front-end toolkit created to help designers and developers quickly and efficiently build great stuff online. Its goal is to provide a refined, well-documented, and extensive library of flexible design components created with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for others to build and innovate on. Today, it has grown to include dozens of components and has become the most popular project on GitHub, with more than 13,000 watchers and 2,000 forks. Mark Otto, the co-creator of Bootstrap, sheds light on how and why Bootstrap was made, the processes used to create it, and how it has grown as a design system.

  • Getting Started with Sass

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    CSS' simplicity has always been one of its most welcome features. But as our sites and apps get bigger and become more complex, and target a wider range of devices and screen sizes, this simplicity, so welcome as we first started to move away from font tags and table-based layouts, has become a liability. Fortunately, a few years ago developers Hampton Catlin and Nathan Weizenbaum created a new style sheet syntax with features to help make our increasingly complex CSS easier to write and manage, and then used a preprocessor to translate the new smart syntax into the old, dumb CSS that browsers understand. Learn how Sass ("syntactically awesome style sheets") can help simplify the creation, updating, and maintenance of powerful sites and apps.

  • CSS3 Bling in the Real World

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    It’s here, it’s queer, get used to it! CSS3 is fun and fabulous, and if we design with progressive enhancement in mind, we can add all kinds of CSS wizardry to our websites and applications without worrying about how things work (or don’t) in old browsers and outdated devices. But what happens if our audience includes folks who use non-Webkit-powered phones? And what if our clients still believe a web page is supposed to look and work the same in every device? Learn to make CSS3 yumminess as cross-browser as possible.

  • Fluid Images

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    Learn to how to make fixed-width images fluid and how to add them to your fluid grids to build a site that responds to the size of the viewport without sacrificing aesthetics. We are delighted to present an excerpt from Ethan's new book, (and the fourth title from A Book Apart), Responsive Web Design.

  • CSS Floats 101

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    The float property is a valuable and powerful asset to any web designer/developer working with HTML and CSS. Tragically, it can also cause frustration and confusion if you don't fully understand how it works. Test or refresh your knowledge as Noah Stokes explores float theory and behavior, and guides us through common float-related coding pitfalls.

  • Understanding CSS3 Transitions

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    From advanced selectors to generated content to the triumphant return of web fonts, and from gradients, shadows, and rounded corners to full-blown animations, CSS3 is a universe of creative possibilities. No one can better guide you through these galaxies than world-renowned designer, author, and CSS superstar Dan Cederholm of SimpleBits and Dribbble fame. We are delighted to present an excerpt from his new book (and the second publication from A Book Apart), CSS3 For Web Designers.

  • CSS Positioning 101

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    If you're a front end developer or a designer who likes to code, CSS-based layouts are at the very core of your work. Designer slash developer Noah Stokes scrutinizes the CSS position property to show how you can use it to create standards-compliant, table-free CSS layouts. Test or refresh your knowledge of static, relative, absolute, fixed, and inherited positioning, and how they work together to create any web layout the mind can conceive.

  • Forward Thinking Form Validation

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    When users complete a form to buy your product or sign up for your service, you want to reduce mistakes and guide them to success. Now, with HTML5 form input types and attributes, you can set validation constraints to check user input. With CSS3’s new UI pseudo-classes, you can style validation states to make form completion quick and effortless.

  • The Look That Says Book

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    Hyphenation and justification: It’s not just for print any more. Armed with good taste, a special unicode font character called the soft hyphen, and a bit o’ JavaScript jiggery, you can justify and hyphenate web pages with the best of them. Master the zero width space. Use the Hyphenator.js library to bottle fame, brew glory, and put a stopper in death. Create web pages that hyphenate and justify on the fly, even when the layout reflows in response to changes in viewport size.