Web Design Articles

This section of Impressive Webs features articles covering front-end technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Some of these posts are opinion pieces and others are more research-based discussions of standards and best practices, with occasional roundups.

CSS: The Bad Parts

CSS: The Bad PartsEvery programming language has its good parts and its ugly parts. CSS (I know, it’s not a programming language, but whatevs) is no different.

In this post, I do nothing but vent. I’ve been coding websites for almost 12 years, and I’ve been doing CSS layouts for nearly half that (yeah, I was a late bloomer). I’ve come to realize what is good and bad about CSS, and here are what I consider “the bad parts”.

CSS Specificity Should Be (Mostly) Irrelevant

CSS Specificity Should Be IrrelevantThere have been numerous articles written by some very reputable people discussing the topic of CSS specificity.

I think it’s great if a CSS developer wants to learn the ins and outs of specificity, because it is an important aspect of how CSS works. But I’m going to put forth an argument here that CSS specificity is quite overrated and, in fact, learning about CSS specificity has the potential to degrade the quality of your code.

Browser Support for CSS3 Selectors

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Browser Support for CSS3 SelectorsNow that the numbers for IE6 and IE7 usage are diminishing rapidly, more and more development teams are starting to weed out support for those older browsers.

Most readers will probably have removed IE6 completely from the equation and soon IE7 will follow. Despite IE8 still having the highest share of any single browser version, the demise of IE6/7 now allows us to be more creative with CSS selectors.

This post will provide a comprehensive review of support for CSS3 selectors in the most troublesome browsers (guess which ones?). Each selector links to the appropriate location in the CSS3 spec.

Every Time You Make a Good Business Decision, a Puppy Gets Cloned

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Puppy Gets ClonedA List Apart’s Issue #344 went live yesterday with a focus on the recent vendor prefix drama. I didn’t get a chance yet to read the entire Meyer/Tantek interview, but I did read Lea Verou’s piece.

First of all, congratulations to Lea for getting published in ALA. She’s certainly one of the most talented web developers I know, and deserves to be featured in such a context. I hope Zeldman and company continue to use new and fresh authors like her.

So what’s the point of my post here? And what’s the deal with the hyperbolic title that resembles Lea’s? Well, in many ways, this post is a response to what Lea wrote in her article. But this is not to say that what I’m going to write necessarily contradicts or opposes what she’s written. For the record, I agree with the spirit and forward-thinking approach in her post.

A Call For Better Fragment Identifiers

A Call For Better Fragment IdentifiersWhere would the web be without links? Links are what hold together what we know as the World Wide Web. Without links, the World Wide Web would be more appropriately called the World Wide Set Of Unrelated Pages, or, incidentally, WWSOUP.

While it’s great how simple and effective the process is of “linking” pages together, I think there’s room for improvement.

New CSS3 Properties to Handle Text and Word Wrapping

New CSS3 Properties to Handle Text and Word WrappingAbout a year and a half ago, I wrote about CSS3’s word-wrap property. The angle of the article was the fact that it was a feature that was new in CSS3 that didn’t exist in CSS2.1 and it worked in just about every browser, including old IE.

Well, now that’s all changed, which I discovered while researching additions to my CSS3 Click Chart. The word-wrap property has been removed from the CSS3 spec and other related properties have been added.

Things We Wish Clients Would Say

Things We Wish Clients Would SayYesterday I tweeted the following: “On current client project, client says CSS only needs to work in Chrome. Let me know how jealous you are.”

The results weren’t too surprising. Below I brainstormed a list of some other things we wish clients would say. I guess this is the polar opposite of what you find here, except these quotes aren’t real. Enjoy.

Why Use jQuery for Simple JavaScript Tutorials?

Why Use jQuery for Simple JavaScript Tutorials?A trackback on one of my previous posts (yeah, trackbacks aren’t just for spam) alerted me to an interesting point brought up by a blogger named Matt Pass. In his post entitled Walnut, Meet jQuery Sledgehammer he politely explains why he feels it’s overkill to use jQuery in a simple tutorial post.

His main point is summarized in this quote: “Do you really need a 90k JavaScript library (and thats the minified version) to toggle the size of a menu?”