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Being Aware of Initial Values in Your CSS

Initial Values in Your CSSIn CSS, every property has what’s referred to as an initial value. Sometimes this is called the default value, but the spec uses the term initial, which I think is a slightly better term.

Technically speaking, the initial value of any given property needs to be declared only if that value is overriding a previously-defined value that’s not the initial value. But initial values are often present even when they’re not necessary.

For example, suppose I have a block-level element that I want to take up the full width of its parent. I want it to sit on its own “line”, so to speak, in the layout, so I add the following CSS:

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A Huge List of Summer Learning Resources for Front-end Devs

Learning ResourcesAs summer officially approaches, you might find a little down time during a vacation or other weekend getaway to do some reading, watching, or listening — or maybe even take a full-blown online course of some sort in order to pick up a new skill.

In the past, I did the occasional “Learning Tools” issue in my newsletter, where I would list resources like these. But because I have so many regular tools to include, I’ve stopped doing those for now. My list of learning resources is still pretty big, so I thought a roundup here would be appropriate. Enjoy!

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A Deeper Look at Generic Font Names in CSS

A Deeper Look at Generic Fonts in CSSIf you’ve been writing CSS for some time, then you’ve certainly done something similar to the following, and likely multiple times in a single stylesheet:

The lone declaration in the rule set above is what’s commonly referred to as a font stack. This line defines the font that the browser should use for the specified element (in this case, for the <body> element). The stack is “Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”. This instructs the browser to take the following steps:

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On Leading and Trailing Spaces in HTML Attribute Values

On Leading and Trailing Spaces in HTML Attribute ValuesIn most cases, you should not use a leading or trailing space in an HTML attribute value. For example, if you add a leading or trailing space to an ID attribute, you wouldn’t be able to hook into that value in CSS using the ID selector (not that you use IDs as selectors, right?):

This happens because spaces are not allowed in an ID selector. But interestingly, there is a way around that using CSS’s attribute selector:

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HTML5’s Global `hidden` Attribute

HTML5's Global `hidden` AttributeAs you probably know, there are a number of HTML attributes that are considered global because they can be applied to any HTML element. Common examples include class, id, style, and tabindex.

One that was added a number of years ago in HTML5, and you may have forgotten about, is used on two elements in the following code:

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Using the `for` Attribute on the `output` Element in HTML5

Using the `for` Attribute on the `output` ElementThere are two things here that you’re probably already aware of. First, HTML includes an <output> element that allows you to display the “result of a calculation”. It’s a form element and it’s been around for some time, having been added in HTML5.

The other thing you’re likely to be aware of is that the for attribute is normally used on the <label> element to associate a <label> with a form element. This aids accessibility and usability, as you’ve probably discovered as both a developer and a user. But interestingly, the for attribute can also be used on the <output> element:

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Learning From “Support” Comments in the jQuery Source

Learning From 'Support' Comments in the jQuery SourceBack in 2014 a couple of developers launched a website called You Might Not Need jQuery that listed alternatives to jQuery features using vanilla JavaScript and DOM techniques, along with browser support. The site was shared quite a bit in the community.

In response, a couple of other developers released a Google doc that explains why you should not be too quick to drop jQuery without careful consideration of all the problems it overcomes.

In this post, based on some instructions in that Google doc, I’ll describe how you can examine the DOM bugs and incompatibilities that jQuery attempts to address.

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What is JSON? An Introduction and Guide for Beginners

What is JSON? An Introduction and Guide for BeginnersIf you’re new to web development and have some basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and possibly a little bit of JavaScript, a practical area in which to expand your front-end skills is JSON.

But even if you already have a basic understanding of what JSON is and have used it in some of your projects, there might be a few things you weren’t aware of. So in this JSON tutorial and guide, I’m attempting to provide a fairly comprehensive discussion of JSON, its history, and its usefulness. I’ll close with a list of some practical JSON tools that might come in handy in future projects.

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npm for Beginners: A Guide for Front-end Developers

npm for BeginnersUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years or you’re an absolute beginner to front-end coding, then you’ve probably heard of npm, and npm for beginners is a subject you’re looking into.

Maybe you’ve clicked through to the GitHub repo of a tool of some kind, and you noticed the installation instructions had a couple of different possibilities, including something like this:

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