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Topic: CSS

  • Apps vs. the Web

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    There’s an app for that, and you’re the folks who are creating it. But should you design a web-based application, or an iPhone app? Each approach has pluses and minuses—not to mention legions of religiously rabid supporters. Apple promotes both approaches (they even gave the web a year-long head start before beginning to sell apps in the store), and the iPhone’s Safari browser supports HTML5 and CSS3 and brags a fast JavaScript engine. Yet many companies and individuals with deep web expertise choose to create iPhone apps instead of web apps that can do the same thing. Explore both approaches and learn just about everything you’ll need to know if you choose to create an iPhone app, from the lingo, to the development process, to the tricks that can smooth the path of doing business with Apple.

  • Supersize that Background, Please!

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    Background images that fill the screen thrill marketers but waste bandwidth in devices with small viewports, and suffer from cropping and alignment problems in high-res and widescreen monitors. Instead of using a single fixed background size, a better solution would be to scale the image to make it fit different window sizes. And with CSS3 backgrounds and CSS3 media queries, we can do just that. Bobby van der Sluis shows how.

  • Prefix or Posthack

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    Vendor prefixes: Threat or menace? As browser support (including in IE9) encourages more of us to dive into CSS3, vendor prefixes such as -moz-border-radius and -webkit-animation may challenge our consciences, along with our patience. But while nobody particularly enjoys writing the same thing four or five times in a row, prefixes may actually accelerate the advancement and refinement of CSS. King of CSS Eric Meyer explains why.

  • Taking Advantage of HTML5 and CSS3 with Modernizr

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    Years ago, CSS browser support was patchy and buggy, and only daring web designers used CSS for layouts. Today, CSS layouts are commonplace and every browser supports them. But the same can’t be said for CSS3 and HTML5. That’s where Faruk Ateş’s Modernizr comes in. This open-source JavaScript library makes it easy to support different levels of experiences, based on the capabilities of each visitor’s browser. Learn how to take advantage of everything in HTML5 and CSS3 that is implemented in some browsers, without sacrificing control over the user experience in other browsers.

  • Stop Forking with CSS3

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    You may remember when JavaScript was a dark art. It earned that reputation because, in order to do anything with even the teensiest bit of cross-browser consistency, you had to fork your code for various versions of Netscape and IE. Today, thanks to web standards advocacy and diligent JavaScript library authors, our code is relatively fork-free. Alas, in our rush to use some of the features available in CSS3, we’ve fallen off the wagon. Enter Aaron Gustafson’s eCSStender, a JavaScript library that lets you use CSS3 properties and selectors while keeping your code fork- and hack-free.

  • Responsive Web Design

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    Designers have coveted print for its precision layouts, lamenting the varying user contexts on the web that compromise their designs. Ethan Marcotte advocates we shift our design thinking to appropriate these constraints: using fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries, he shows us how to embrace the “ebb and flow of things&#8221 with responsive web design.

  • Creating Intrinsic Ratios for Video

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    Have you ever wanted to resize a video on the fly, scaling it as you would an image? Using intrinsic ratios for video and some padding property magic, you can. Thierry Koblentz shows us how.

  • Fluid Grids

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    How awesome would it be if you could combine the aesthetic rigor and clarity of fixed-width, grid-based layouts with the device- and screen size independence and user-focused flexibility of fluid layouts? Completely awesome, that’s how awesome. And with a little cunning and a tad of easy math, ALA’s Ethan Marcotte gets it done. We smell a trend in the offing.

  • Return of the Mobile Stylesheet

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    At least 10% of your visitors access your site over a mobile device. They deserve a good experience (and if you provide one, they’ll keep coming back). Converting your multi-column layout to a single, linear flow is a good start. But mobile devices are not created equal, and their disparate handling of CSS is like 1998 all over again. Please your users and tame their devices with handheld style sheets, CSS media queries, and (where necessary) JavaScript or server-side techniques.

  • Progressive Enhancement with CSS

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    Organize multiple style sheets to simplify the creation of environmentally appropriate visual experiences. Support older browsers while keeping your CSS hack-free. Use generated content to provide visual enhancements, and seize the power of advanced selectors to create wondrous (or amusing) effects. Part two of a series.

  • Understanding Progressive Enhancement

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    Steven Champeon turned web development upside down, and created an instant best practice of standards-based design, when he introduced the notion of designing for content and experience instead of browsers. In part one of a series, ALA’s Gustafson refreshes us on the principles of progressive enhancement. Upcoming installments will translate the philosophy into sophisticated, future-focused design and code.

  • CSS Sprites2 - It’s JavaScript Time

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    In 2004, Dave Shea took the CSS rollover where it had never gone before. Now he takes it further still—with a little help from jQuery. Say hello to hover animations that respond to a user’s behavior in ways standards-based sites never could before.

  • Multi-Column Layouts Climb Out of the Box

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    “Holy Grail,” “One True Layout,” “pain in the @$$”... Alan Pearce presents a cleaner approach to designing multi-column layouts.

  • Faux Absolute Positioning

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    CSS layout is awesome, except when your layout calls for a header, a footer, and columns in between. Use float, and content changes can cause columns to wrap. Use absolute positioning, and your footer can crash into your columns. Add the complexity of drag-and-drop layouts, and a new technique is needed. Enter “faux absolute positioning.” Align every item to a predefined position on the grid (as with absolute positioning), but objects will still affect the normal flow (as with float).

  • Accessible Data Visualization with Web Standards

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    When designing interfaces for browsing data-driven sites, creating navigation elements that are also visualization tools helps the user make better decisions. Wilson Miner demonstrates three techniques for incorporating data visualization into standards-based navigation patterns.

  • Version Targeting: Threat or Menace?

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    Version targeting shakes our browser-agnostic faith. Its default behavior runs counter to our expectations, and seems wrong. Yet to offer true DOM support without bringing JScript-authored sites to their knees, version targeting must work the way Microsoft proposes, argues Jeffrey Zeldman.

  • Keeping Your Elements’ Kids in Line with Offspring

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    Alex Bischoff introduces Offspring, a JavaScript library bringing the power of advanced CSS selectors to browsers that can’t quite handle the real thing.

  • Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8

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    For seven years, the DOCTYPE switch has stood designers and developers in good stead as a toggle between standards mode and quirks mode. But when IE7, with its greatly improved support for standards, “broke the web,” it revealed the flaw in our toggle. The quest was on to find a more reliable ensurer of forward compatibility. Is version targeting the answer?

  • How to Size Text in CSS

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    It’s a tug-of-war as old as web design. Designers need to control text size and the vertical grid; readers need to be able to resize text. A better best practice for sizing type and controlling line-height is needed; and in this article, Richard Rutter obligingly supplies one.

  • CSS @ Ten: The Next Big Thing

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    Ten years ago, Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos gave us typographic control over web pages via CSS. But Verdana and Georgia take us only so far. Now Håkon shows us how to take web design out of the typographic ghetto, by harnessing the power of real TrueType fonts.