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CSS3 First Look
Watching:

Can you use CSS3 now?


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CSS3 First Look

with James Williamson

Video: Can you use CSS3 now?

Chances are if you're watching this title one of the questions about CSS3 at the very top of your list is, can I use it now? Well, the short answer is yes, you can. Just like any emerging technology, however, you need to develop a strategy for deploying CSS3 on your sites that accounts for non-supported browsers or devices. By now you've probably come to terms with the fact that websites don't look exactly the same across different devices and browsers.
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  1. 3m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 45s
  2. 31m 30s
    1. What is CSS3?
      5m 26s
    2. The current status of CSS3
      3m 35s
    3. An overview of CSS3 capabilities
      2m 24s
    4. Can you use CSS3 now?
      5m 31s
    5. Detecting support for CSS3
      9m 0s
    6. Understanding vendor prefixes
      5m 34s
  3. 1h 9m
    1. An overview of child and sibling selectors
      3m 11s
    2. Using child and sibling selectors
      7m 17s
    3. An overview of attribute selectors
      3m 19s
    4. Using attribute selectors
      8m 32s
    5. Pseudo-class UI selectors
      5m 56s
    6. Negation pseudo-class selectors
      6m 48s
    7. Target pseudo-class selectors
      5m 39s
    8. Structural selectors
      3m 58s
    9. Nth-child selector syntax
      10m 0s
    10. First, last, and only structural selectors
      5m 39s
    11. Using structural selectors to write more efficient code
      8m 52s
  4. 45m 28s
    1. Color formats in CSS3
      7m 9s
    2. Transparency in CSS3
      9m 10s
    3. CSS3 gradients
      4m 11s
    4. Creating linear gradients
      13m 57s
    5. Creating radial gradients
      11m 1s
  5. 49m 8s
    1. Working with web fonts
      6m 38s
    2. @font-face syntax
      4m 52s
    3. Downloading sample fonts
      6m 5s
    4. Writing @font-face declarations
      7m 57s
    5. Using web fonts
      6m 42s
    6. Using text shadows
      7m 14s
    7. Creating multi-column text
      9m 40s
  6. 50m 55s
    1. An overview of the flexible box model
      4m 42s
    2. Controlling box orientation
      5m 2s
    3. Setting element flexibility
      12m 59s
    4. Distributing boxes
      7m 54s
    5. Controlling box alignment
      12m 38s
    6. Working with box-sizing
      7m 40s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. Using border-radius
      6m 20s
    2. Creating custom rounded corners
      10m 21s
    3. Understanding border images
      5m 15s
    4. Using border images
      8m 52s
    5. Creating box shadows
      8m 58s
    6. CSS3 backgrounds
      4m 55s
    7. Controlling background size
      8m 46s
    8. Creating multiple background images
      6m 4s
    9. Using background-origin
      3m 18s
    10. Clipping background content
      3m 2s
  8. 40m 8s
    1. An overview of CSS3 2D transforms
      4m 26s
    2. Using 2D transforms
      8m 16s
    3. Setting transform origins
      5m 24s
    4. An overview of CSS3 transitions
      5m 0s
    5. Animating CSS properties
      6m 12s
    6. Using easing in animations
      5m 41s
    7. An overview of 3D transforms
      5m 9s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding media queries
      6m 18s
    2. Strategies for targeting multiple devices
      6m 4s
    3. Writing styles for target screen sizes
      12m 11s
    4. Deploying styles through media queries
      3m 55s
    5. Basing media queries on page orientation
      2m 24s
    6. Targeting media queries for iOS devices
      7m 4s
  10. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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CSS3 First Look
6h 34m Appropriate for all Nov 29, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In CSS3 First Look, staff author James Williamson provides an in-depth introduction to the newest CSS standard, detailing its modular format, history, and current level of browser support, while also demonstrating its capabilities and applications. The course includes tutorials on using new selectors, modifying typography and color, working with the box model, and understanding media queries. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the history of CSS3
  • Working with the new selectors
  • Adding transparency and gradients
  • Specifying web fonts with @font-face
  • Understanding the advances to page layout
  • Looking at CSS3 box model capabilities
  • Using 2D and 3D transforms
  • Understanding media queries
Subject:
Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Can you use CSS3 now?

Chances are if you're watching this title one of the questions about CSS3 at the very top of your list is, can I use it now? Well, the short answer is yes, you can. Just like any emerging technology, however, you need to develop a strategy for deploying CSS3 on your sites that accounts for non-supported browsers or devices. By now you've probably come to terms with the fact that websites don't look exactly the same across different devices and browsers.

If you've been designing sites for a while, you probably already have a strategy in place for dealing with browser inconsistencies. In most cases, your existing workflow will work just fine for integrating CSS3 into your sites. However, there are some specific considerations that you need to be aware of when dealing with CSS3. So let's take a moment to discuss strategies for introducing it into your sites. First, make sure that using CSS3 makes sense for the site itself.

Now, occasionally we get so caught up in using the latest features and technology that we lose sight of the needs of our users. Before using any of the new capabilities of CSS3, make sure that using them actually enhances your design. Once you've settled on using CSS3, it's best to approach it as a means of enhancing the design of your site rather than driving it. Make sure you have a solid layout and design, without relying on CSS3 techniques to make it work. Then gradually enhance your design with CSS3 to present a much more robust experience to those using supporting devices.

This will allow you to present functional designs to your users regardless of the device they are using. This approach, called progressive enhancement, is a common way of dealing with device inconsistencies for both styling and behavior and it's a great foundation for any CSS3 deployment strategy. It's worth mentioning here as well that if you're providing fallback content for non-supporting devices, make sure that the absence of CSS3 features doesn't actually harm the design.

Features like multiple backgrounds, transparency, and drop-shadows can cause content to either look odd when absent or even cause readability issues with text. In those cases, make sure that alternate styles are presented that ensure the clarity of your content. Since many of the workarounds for providing CSS3 support are time-consuming, result in larger and slower pages, and can cause rendering errors if not executed properly, it's a good idea to think about whether the extra effort is actually worth it.

In many cases, simply providing those users with a more basic functional site is the better solution. Any current discussion on utilizing CSS3 would be incomplete without dealing with Internet Explorer. So what's the deal? Can you use CSS3 with Internet Explorer? While Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome, have all been gradually adding support for CSS3 to their browsers, the same is not true for IE. Until version 9 is released, CSS3 for the most part will not work in Internet Explorer.

That alone is enough for some designers to ignore it and frankly that's a shame. One browser's shortcomings should not prevent you from enhancing the design of your sites. When dealing with Internet Explorer specifically, you have a few choices in how to progressively enhance your designs. First, you could simply write CSS 2.1 base styling and let IE ignore the selectors or properties it doesn't support. For more complex designs or for cases where the lack of CSS3 styling would cause rendering issues in IE, you could pass alternate style sheets for Internet Explorer to use through the use of conditional comments.

Conditional comments are a widely used technique for addressing the specific styling needs of IE and they're a great way of overriding unsupported CSS3 styling. Another way to use CSS3 with Internet Explorer is to use the Progressive Internet Explorer or CSS3 PIE library. PIE is a small JavaScript library that has limited CSS3 support to older versions of Internet Explorer. It's free, easy-to-use, lightweight, and gives you a way to use CSS3 features such as border radius, box shadow, and gradients through a single line of code.

It's definitely worth checking out. I also recommend taking a look at using Modernizer. Modernizer is a free JavaScript library as well. It provides detection support for a wide range of next generation web capabilities. Not surprisingly, CSS3 is among them. Although Modernizer won't add capabilities to non-supporting browsers, it will allow you to provide one set of styles to supporting devices while providing fallback content to non-supporting devices. I also want to mention that there is a lot more rolled into the Modernizer library as well such as HTML5 support.

So I would encourage you to go out and explore its capabilities. If you want to learn more, stick around. We'll explore Modernizer in a little bit more detail later on in this title. Without a doubt, CSS3 gives designers an exciting set of features to use with styling page content. However, its evolving nature and inconsistent support requires you to have a solid strategy for its use.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about CSS3 First Look.


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Q: I'm following along with the video "Transparency in CSS3".  James shows us how to achieve transparency in Internet Explorer by going to Kimili.com and entering a HSLA value to generate code for transparency.

Here that code:

background: transparent;-ms-filter: "progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=#BF0E0C0B,endColorstr=#BF0E0C0B)"; /* IE8 */
filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=#BF0E0C0B,endColorstr=#BF0E0C0B); /* IE6 & 7 */ zoom: 1;

When this code is added to my HTML file it removes transparency on browsers that do in fact support it. So I'm left with NO transparency. Why?
A: The problem is in the filter code. If the IE background is called last, the first "transparent" declaration will remove all previous colors, regardless of browser. To resolve this, place the rule inside a conditional comment for IE or remove the "transparent" declaration at the front of the rule.
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