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CSS: Core Concepts
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Exploring default styling


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CSS: Core Concepts

with James Williamson

Video: Exploring default styling

So I want to start here by opening an unstyled page in a browser. So you can go ahead and do this with me. Now although I am using Firefox, feel free to use your favorite browser. And I'm just going to go up here and open a file. And I want you to go out to your exercise file, so I am going to go out to my Desktop/Exercise Files/Chapter_01/ 01_01, and I am going to find this index.htm page in there. So I am going to go ahead and open that up, and wow, nothing really special going on here at all, or is there? You see, even though it's common to refer to a page like this as unstyled, that's not exactly accurate.
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  1. 4m 57s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 2s
  2. 1h 7m
    1. Exploring default styling
      4m 56s
    2. CSS authoring tools
      2m 29s
    3. CSS syntax
      4m 45s
    4. Writing a selector
      4m 10s
    5. Setting properties
      8m 40s
    6. Common units of measurement
      7m 47s
    7. Inline styles
      5m 1s
    8. Embedded styles
      5m 19s
    9. Using external style sheets
      10m 34s
    10. Checking for browser support
      8m 48s
    11. Dealing with browser inconsistencies
      5m 30s
  3. 2h 15m
    1. Structuring HTML correctly
      2m 51s
    2. Element selectors
      4m 52s
    3. Class selectors
      6m 4s
    4. ID selectors
      3m 27s
    5. Using classes and IDs
      10m 7s
    6. Element-specific selectors
      4m 35s
    7. The universal selector
      5m 42s
    8. Grouping selectors
      4m 49s
    9. Descendent selectors
      7m 32s
    10. Child selectors
      5m 7s
    11. Adjacent selectors
      5m 30s
    12. Attribute selectors
      12m 43s
    13. Pseudo-class selectors
      3m 54s
    14. Dynamic pseudo-class selectors
      8m 29s
    15. Structural pseudo-class selectors
      6m 45s
    16. Nth-child selectors
      13m 10s
    17. Pseudo-element selectors
      12m 40s
    18. Targeting page content: Lab
      8m 56s
    19. Targeting page content: Solution
      7m 59s
  4. 42m 39s
    1. What happens when styles conflict?
      4m 0s
    2. Understanding the cascade
      5m 47s
    3. Using inheritance
      6m 11s
    4. Selector specificity
      6m 55s
    5. The !important declaration
      4m 5s
    6. Reducing conflicts through planning
      3m 33s
    7. Resolving conflicts: Lab
      6m 45s
    8. Resolving conflicts: Solution
      5m 23s
  5. 1h 47m
    1. Setting a font family
      7m 10s
    2. Using @font-face
      9m 18s
    3. Setting font size
      7m 35s
    4. Font style and font weight
      6m 52s
    5. Transforming text
      3m 58s
    6. Using text variants
      2m 49s
    7. Text decoration options
      4m 26s
    8. Setting text color
      3m 2s
    9. Writing font shorthand notation
      8m 49s
    10. Controlling text alignment
      6m 33s
    11. Letter and word spacing
      9m 11s
    12. Indenting text
      4m 30s
    13. Adjusting paragraph line height
      10m 30s
    14. Controlling the space between elements
      6m 41s
    15. Basic text formatting: Lab
      8m 45s
    16. Basic text formatting: Solution
      7m 14s
  6. 2h 1m
    1. Understanding the box model
      16m 53s
    2. Controlling element spacing
      14m 29s
    3. Controlling interior spacing
      10m 49s
    4. Margin and padding shorthand notation
      6m 27s
    5. Adding borders
      8m 57s
    6. Defining element size
      10m 7s
    7. Creating rounded corners
      6m 58s
    8. Background properties
      2m 51s
    9. Using background images
      5m 10s
    10. Controlling image positioning
      10m 25s
    11. Using multiple backgrounds
      7m 5s
    12. Background shorthand notation
      5m 25s
    13. Styling container elements: Lab
      7m 55s
    14. Styling container elements: Solution
      8m 17s
  7. 47m 51s
    1. Color keyword definitions
      5m 4s
    2. Understanding hexadecimal notation
      6m 5s
    3. Using RGB values
      4m 58s
    4. Using HSL values
      5m 17s
    5. Working with opacity
      2m 23s
    6. Using RGBa and HSLa
      3m 8s
    7. Styling drop shadows
      5m 38s
    8. CSS gradients
      6m 32s
    9. Working with color: Lab
      4m 26s
    10. Working with color: Solution
      4m 20s
  8. 1m 58s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 58s

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CSS: Core Concepts
8h 49m Beginner Nov 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this hands-on course, James Williamson demonstrates the concepts that form the foundation of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), including styling text, adding margins and padding, and controlling how images display. The course also explores the tools needed to work with CSS, the differences between embedded and external styles, how to use selectors to target elements, and what to do when styles conflict.

Topics include:
  • Exploring default styling
  • Writing a selector
  • Setting properties
  • Working with common units of measurement, including ems and pixels
  • Structuring HTML correctly
  • Understanding the cascade and inheritance
  • Setting a font family, font size, text color, and more
  • Understanding the box model
  • Styling container elements
  • Working with RGB vs. HSL values
  • Styling drop shadows
Subject:
Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Exploring default styling

So I want to start here by opening an unstyled page in a browser. So you can go ahead and do this with me. Now although I am using Firefox, feel free to use your favorite browser. And I'm just going to go up here and open a file. And I want you to go out to your exercise file, so I am going to go out to my Desktop/Exercise Files/Chapter_01/ 01_01, and I am going to find this index.htm page in there. So I am going to go ahead and open that up, and wow, nothing really special going on here at all, or is there? You see, even though it's common to refer to a page like this as unstyled, that's not exactly accurate.

What's actually happening here is that the browser that you're using is applying its own default style sheet to the page and that results in the formatting that we are seeing here. So font that's being used, the size of the text, whether it's bold or italic, the color of the links, the space between paragraphs and headings--the browser's default styling is controlling all of that. There might be some slight differences between one browser or another, but for the most part, all desktop browsers will render elements in ways similar to what you see here.

Now browsers can take this usually a step further as well, because they usually give users the ability to change certain styling preferences as well. So really quickly I am going to go into Firefox's Preferences here and show you what I'm talking about. If I go over to the Content tab, notice that I can choose which default font I want to use, so if you don't feel like using Times, for example, if I wanted to use something different, like say Arial, I can go ahead and choose that, and you can see the page goes ahead and changes.

I can also go ahead and change the size of the text as well. If I would like it a little bit larger to help make it a little bit easier for me to read, I can go ahead and select that. It goes ahead and changes the default size of the text as well. If I go to Advanced, notice that I can deselect this check box that says Allow pages to choose their own fonts instead of my selections above. And if I do that, anything they choose here for fonts-- for proportional or monospace fonts, serif or sans-serif--it's going to override whatever the browser's default styles are.

So as a user, I have a fair amount of control over how my pages look and feel and act, and that's before I deal with any of the author's CSS styles. So I am just going to close the Preferences. So what's the point of me showing you all that? Well, to make sure that you focused on a very fundamental truth of CSS when you begin writing your styles, and it's really, really important for you to understand this: as you author your own style sheets, you're not just defining how you want the page elements to look; you are also going to be overriding the browser's default styling, so you are going to be overriding all of this.

Now if you fail to take these styles into account or forget what an element's default styling is, you might end up with some unexpected formatting or some spacing issues that become really hard to track down, because you start looking for them in your styles and they are not in your styles at all; they are coming from the default browser styles. In fact, dealing with browser-default styling has even resulted in its own technique, and it's something called a CSS reset. A CSS reset is a collection of styles that zero out the formatting from these browser default style sheets, and they help to give you a consistent point from which to begin writing your own styles.

Now if you want to learn a little bit more about those, I have a couple of sites for you to take a look at. First Six Revisions has an article. You can just go to the Six Revisions site and search for this. It's a comprehensive guide to CSS resets, and it gives you a little bit of background about CSS resets and then goes over some of the more popular ones. There is another site that I really like. This is cssreset.com. This one gives you a really quick and concise way to grab some of the code from the more popular CSS resets out there, as well as some documentation. And there's a lot of information on this site as well, about what a CSS reset is and when you should use them.

And if you want to learn a little bit more about browser's default style sheets, there's an older, but still incredibly useful collection of user agent style sheets at Jens O. Meiert's--and I hope I'm pronouncing these names right--blog. Just go to his blog and search for "User Agent Style Sheets." And he's got a whole collection of user agent style sheets. Again, these are a little bit old, but they help give you a really nice idea of what the foundation-level styles are for most of your user agents. I don't want you to worry too much about default styles; for the most part, they focus on the really basic formatting that you're likely to end up overriding anyway in the course of writing your styles.

Just be sure to pay attention to browser's default styling, and keep them in mind when planning and authoring your own styles.

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