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CSS3 First Look

Controlling box orientation


From:

CSS3 First Look

with James Williamson

Video: Controlling box orientation

In this movie, we'll begin to explore the flexible box model by learning to control box element orientation. Now the first step in using the flexible box model is to assign the display property to all parent elements that we want to control and then to define an orientation for their child objects. So I have the flexible.htm. This is a very simple document. If I scroll down to the HTML, you can see that the structure of it is a simply a wrapper div tag which contains another div tag with ID of container.
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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

Controlling box orientation

In this movie, we'll begin to explore the flexible box model by learning to control box element orientation. Now the first step in using the flexible box model is to assign the display property to all parent elements that we want to control and then to define an orientation for their child objects. So I have the flexible.htm. This is a very simple document. If I scroll down to the HTML, you can see that the structure of it is a simply a wrapper div tag which contains another div tag with ID of container.

The container div tag has five child div tags in it and they're all labeled 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The styling is also pretty basic. If I were to preview this in the browser, you could see that there were five div tags that are just using normal document flow currently to stack one on top of each other. So what we are going to do is we are going to enable flexible box model positioning for the container div tag and then display these children horizontally rather than vertically. Now you might be wondering why did we need the container div tag? Why don't we just use the wrapper div tag as the parent and set its display property to box? Well, the big problem with that is in browser implementation, it's not anywhere in the spec and I can't find it in Mozilla's developer's website.

However, when you set a container's display property to box, in Mozilla the element is removed from normal document flow very similar to a float. That's not the way the implementation is done in WebKit, but in order to allow my wrapper div tag to center all the content on the page and to control it, I need to have that container inside of it, so that I can still keep it within normal document flow. And it's just little differences in implementations like that with experimental standards that you really have to look out for.

That's one of the reasons why it's so important to test. Okay, so with that in mind, I am going to come up to my styles and find the container selector. And inside the container selector, we are just going to go ahead and set the display property to box. Now, if we were going to do this by the specification, we would just do this. We would say display: box. And that's all there is to it. It's a new available value for display property, which has been around for a very, very long time, but the problem is, again, this isn't supported by all browsers and if we wanted to work in the browsers that do support it, we need to use a vendor prefix.

So on top of that, I am going to go ahead and create a couple of empty lines and then on top of that, I am going to go ahead and place my vendor prefixes. So I am just doing display: -webkit-box, and we'll do the same thing on top of that. Again, display: -mozilla-box, so -moz-box. Okay, so now we have three display properties and they are passing the vendor proprietary prefixes and then just the normal display property box, so that eventually if it gets dropped or other browsers begin to support it, it would still work within those browsers as well.

Now if we were to save the file and test it right now, we really wouldn't notice a change in it at all. The reason we wouldn't is because vertical stacking is the default for the flexible box model, the same as the normal document flow. So you really wouldn't notice a change. In order to effect a change, we are going to have to change the orientation of our child elements and we are going to do that by using the box-orient property. Now this is a property that does require the prefixes as well. So, we're going to go ahead and do - moz-box-orient, and we are going to set that to horizontal.

I am going to do the same thing for WebKit. So -webkit-box-orient, and again, horizontal, and then the next we are just going to use the default box- orient and again we are going to do horizontal here as well. Okay, cool! That is all there is to it. If I save the file and preview this in one of my browsers, now the boxes instead of just stacking and displaying vertically are displaying horizontally. I want to double-check that in Firefox just to make sure it's working in both.

It is indeed working in both, and really throughout this chapter I am going to be previewing in both of them, because I want you to see the differences in implementations. Usually differences in the implementations of standards are pretty subtle. You don't really notice them that much unless specific things come up. In this particular standard, the flexible box model, there are large differences in implementation and you can physically see them. So I want to point those out to you when they arise. Now you got to admit, the ability to create a horizontal layout like this without the use of floats is pretty cool.

That means later on I have to worry about clearing anything or worrying about margins and padding and how they affect floats and how floats affect them. It's fantastic. Now I think it is important to remember, however, the differences between the implications in Mozilla and WebKit could cause issues with certain layouts. So it's a good idea to keep an eye on how these implementations evolve in the future and how they might affect any of the layouts that you are experimenting with as you start to learn about the flexible box model.

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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