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CSS: Core Concepts

Reducing conflicts through planning


From:

CSS: Core Concepts

with James Williamson

Video: Reducing conflicts through planning

Before we move on to our lab for this chapter, I want to take a brief moment and talk about a few techniques that you can use to help reduce styling conflicts when planning your styles. Now as I mentioned earlier, understanding the cascade, inheritance, and specificity are crucial to avoiding conflicts. They can also be put to good use in creating styles that are easy to maintain and reduce the amount of code necessary for your styles. First, avoid using local styles whenever possible. While it's true that embedded styles give you an easy way to override the global side-wide styling found in external style sheets, you're also going to add on a layer of unnecessary complexity to your sites.
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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

Reducing conflicts through planning

Before we move on to our lab for this chapter, I want to take a brief moment and talk about a few techniques that you can use to help reduce styling conflicts when planning your styles. Now as I mentioned earlier, understanding the cascade, inheritance, and specificity are crucial to avoiding conflicts. They can also be put to good use in creating styles that are easy to maintain and reduce the amount of code necessary for your styles. First, avoid using local styles whenever possible. While it's true that embedded styles give you an easy way to override the global side-wide styling found in external style sheets, you're also going to add on a layer of unnecessary complexity to your sites.

When updating or modifying your styles, you have to remember each and every page that has embedded local styles. Once the size of your site starts to grow, this can become a very tedious task if you have a lot of embedded styles. It's also very easy to miss embedded styles, especially if you work in a team environment or are editing someone else's site. I'm not saying I don't use them; just to make sure that you carefully consider how the local styles fit into your overall site strategy. Second, avoid using inline styles altogether.

There's simply no compelling reason to use them, unless you're targeting a user agent like an email client that doesn't support other styling methods. They're almost impossible to detect, they can cause styling conflicts that make you want to pull your hair out, and they are a maintenance nightmare. Next before you begin writing styles, develop a strategy for rule specificity before you begin to write your styles. Now what I mean by that is that you don't want to mix in selectors that make heavy use of IDs in one section with selectors that use no IDs or just classes later on.

This creates an imbalance in selectors that can be difficult to overcome. Unlike some designers, I have no qualms about using ID selectors in my styles. I use them all the time. However, they're so specific that I have to really think about how I'm going to use them before I begin to write my styles. Overusing them can create a style sheet that becomes difficult to add styling to later on as the existing rules are so specific. A good rule of thumb is this: if you begin to find that you're consistently writing descendent selectors that use more than two selectors combined together, you've got a problem with your styles.

At that point, maybe take a step back and think about how you can reduce the specificity of your rules and still achieve the styling that you're looking for. Also, take advantage of inheritance. If you carefully consider the page structure and your styling goals before writing your styles, you should be able to identify formatting requirements that are consistent across pages and elements. These styles can be written as global styles on parent elements and inherited by their children. For you as an author, it means that there are fewer styles for you to write and editing those styles requires you to only make changes to a single rule, not multiple rules.

Now more than anything else, try to think about how your styles will relate to each other. The biggest mistake I see new designers make when writing CSS is to go through a page and style each element individually without thinking about how those elements relate to each other. This approach leads to bloated style sheets, conflicting styles, and unorganized styles that are just difficult to maintain and update. By thinking of your site and your styles as a whole before authoring them, you'll have a better idea of how those styles should be organized and how you can write them more efficiently.

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