QuirksBlog - CSS for JavaScripters

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Custom properties and @property

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You’re reading a failed article. I hoped to write about @property and how it is useful for extending CSS inheritance considerably in many different circumstances. Alas, I failed. @property turns out to be very useful for font sizes, but does not even approach the general applicability I hoped for.

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Inherit, initial, unset, revert

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Today we’re going to take a quick look at a few special CSS keywords you can use on any CSS property: inherit, initial, revert, and unset. Also, we will ask where and when to use them to the greatest effect, and if we need more of those keywords.

The first three were defined in the Cascading Level 3 spec, while revert was added in Cascading Level 4. Despite 4 still being in draft revert is already supported. See also the MDN revert page, Chris Coyier’s page, and my test page

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aspect-ratio

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This week we’ll take a look at the new aspect-ratio declaration and its use. Una Kravets wrote the introductory article, but there are some additional technical points to be made. I also wrote a little fallback that you might use if you need aspect-ratio right now.

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aspect-ratio and grid

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I’m currently investigating the new aspect-ratio declaration and plan to write an article about it. However, I got stuck on aspect ratios in a grid context. Chrome/Safari and Firefox do something different here, and I understand neither approach. So I hope I can get some help.

aspect-ratio is currently supported by Chrome 90, by Firefox 88 with the correct flag enabled, and by Safari Technology Preview. I tested mostly in the first two — for complicated reasons I cannot install STP right now, but a kind Twitter follower sent me a few screenshots. It behaves as Chrome.

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Two options for using custom properties

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Recently I interviewed Stefan Judis for my upcoming book. We discussed CSS custom properties, and something interesting happened.

We had a period of a few minutes where we were talking past one another, because, as it turns out, we have completely opposite ideas about the use of CSS custom properties. I had never considered his approach, and I found it interesting enough to write this quick post.

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fit-content and fit-content()

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Today we will look at fit-content and fit-content(), which are special values for width and grid definitions. It’s ... complicated — not as a concept, but in its practical application.

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CSS terminology question

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I need to figure out how to call a pair of fundamental CSS concepts in my upcoming book and would like to hear which option you think is best — or least confusing.

When introducing width and height I explain that by default width takes as much horizontal space as it can, while height takes as little vertical space as possible. This leads to a discussion of these two opposed models that I excerpt below.

My question is: which names do I give to these models?

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Negative margins in CSS

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I’m writing the Box Model chapter of the new book and came to the point where I had to treat negative margins. To my surprise, I found that there is no systematic treatment of negative margins anywhere. So I had to figure it out for myself. Below is my initial draft of the negative margin section.

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What is CSS4?

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If we want CSS4 to be a thing it is necessary to define it a little more. However, that does not mean it’s necessary to divide all existing CSS modules into CSS3 and CSS4 buckets. This article discusses these issues, and goes through some of the feedback to my original article.

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CSS4 is here!

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I think that CSS would be greatly helped if we solemnly state that “CSS4 is here!” In this post I’ll try to convince you of my viewpoint.

I am proposing that we web developers, supported by the W3C CSS WG, start saying “CSS4 is here!” and excitedly chatter about how it will hit the market any moment now and transform the practice of CSS.

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Book draft: overflow chapter

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today I present the first draft of the short overflow article. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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CSS and accessibility

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I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today’s topic is CSS and accessibility. I want to warn people for common accessibility pitfalls, but on the other hand want to do it in a sneaky, underhand way. In order to do so I need a list of common problems.

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CSS book Table of Contents — draft 1

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today I present the first draft of the book’s table of contents for feedback — both on the topics, and on the chapter order.

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Scope in CSS

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today we treat the knotty problem of CSS selector scope. JavaScripters rightly feel that the fact that all CSS selectors are in the global scope complicates their applications. What can we do about it?

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if statements and for loops in CSS

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today I continue to look at CSS as a programming language. The question whether it is one or not is a very hot topic right now, but I’m not terribly interested in the answer.

Instead, I’d like to know if describing certain CSS structures in programming terms helps you learn CSS better or quicker, or if it hinders you. In other words, is there any educational value in treating CSS as a programming language?

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Algorithms in CSS

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today we’ll discuss the writing of CSS algorithms, inspired by Lara Schenck’s excellent article on that topic, which states that not only CSS is a programming language, but you can write algorithms in it.

What follows are my words; not hers — I have different points to make, and give different examples. If you want to hear Lara’s own words on CSS algorithms, drop by at CSS Day, 13th and 14th of June, Amsterdam, where she will speak.

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The CSS mental model

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters. This series of article snippets are a sort of try-out — pre-drafts I’d like to get feedback on in order to figure out if I’m on the right track.

Today we will attempt to describe the different mental models for CSS and JavaScript. Everybody agrees there is a difference, but nobody’s able to define exactly what that difference is. So let’s try.

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CSS for JavaScripters 1

Permalink | in CSS for JavaScripters

I am likely going to write a “CSS for JavaScripters” book, and therefore I need to figure out how to explain CSS to JavaScripters.

Below I take a stab at explaining CSS files as JSON files. What I’d like to know from you is if this comparison makes sense.

If you’re a JavaScripter who’d like to learn some more CSS, please tell me if this helps you understand CSS better or not, and what could be improved. I’d be grateful for your feedback.

If this article generates useful feedback I might do it again. What better way to figure out if you’re making sense than to actually ask the target audience?

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This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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