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HTML5 First Look
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CSS3 overview


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HTML5 First Look

with James Williamson

Video: CSS3 overview

Perhaps a technology that is most often confused with being part of HTML5 is CSS3. CSS3 is the next generation of Cascading Style Sheets and it greatly expands your ability to control the presentation of your sites. The confusion between what is HTML5 and what is CSS3 is actually quite understandable as the two work very closely together to produce the final rendered page. Now a good way of understanding the difference between them is that HTML controls the structure of your documents while CSS controls their presentation.
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  1. 3m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 50s
    3. Who is this course for?
      1m 5s
  2. 21m 12s
    1. Exploring prior standards
      4m 26s
    2. Why do we need HTML5?
      3m 32s
    3. HTML5 timeline
      4m 24s
    4. Current HTML5 support
      4m 25s
    5. What HTML5 is (and what it isn't)
      4m 25s
  3. 27m 49s
    1. HTML5 vs. HTML4
      3m 25s
    2. New structural tags
      6m 1s
    3. New content tags
      4m 7s
    4. New application-focused tags
      5m 32s
    5. Deprecated elements
      4m 28s
    6. API overview
      4m 16s
  4. 22m 29s
    1. Content models
      5m 33s
    2. Understanding the outline algorithm
      3m 21s
    3. The role of ‹div› tags
      4m 20s
    4. Using ID and class attributes
      2m 6s
    5. DOCTYPE declarations
      4m 16s
    6. Character encoding
      2m 53s
  5. 41m 27s
    1. Basic page structure
      3m 40s
    2. Structuring top-level elements
      7m 30s
    3. Structuring interior content
      8m 42s
    4. Building headers
      9m 11s
    5. Checking document outlines
      5m 46s
    6. Ensuring cross-browser structure
      6m 38s
  6. 27m 53s
    1. New input types
      5m 57s
    2. Setting form autofocus
      2m 53s
    3. Using placeholder data
      4m 4s
    4. Marking required fields
      3m 24s
    5. Working with number inputs
      5m 49s
    6. Using date pickers
      5m 46s
  7. 1h 1m
    1. Canvas overview
      6m 21s
    2. Adding canvas content
      8m 58s
    3. Drawing in the canvas environment
      12m 9s
    4. Drag-and-drop API overview
      6m 18s
    5. Offline applications overview
      7m 11s
    6. Video overview
      5m 45s
    7. Encoding video
      8m 23s
    8. Adding video
      5m 58s
  8. 57m 33s
    1. Geolocation API overview
      5m 50s
    2. Web storage API overview
      5m 40s
    3. WebSockets overview
      4m 16s
    4. CSS3 overview
      6m 38s
    5. Enhancing typography with CSS3
      7m 42s
    6. Using @font-face
      7m 11s
    7. Styling HTML5 with CSS3
      10m 23s
    8. Using CSS3 transitions
      9m 53s
  9. 5m 6s
    1. Final thoughts
      3m 49s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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HTML5 First Look
4h 28m Beginner Aug 23, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In HTML5 First Look, author James Williamson introduces the newest HTML specification, providing a high-level overview of HTML5 in its current state, how it differs from HTML 4, the current level of support in various browsers and mobile devices, and how the specification might evolve in the future. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the history of HTML5
  • Using new tags
  • Understanding HTML5 semantics
  • Coding ID and class attributes in HTML5
  • Structuring documents
  • Building forms
  • Exploring HTML5 native APIs
  • Encoding and adding HTML5 video
  • Exploring associated technologies such as CSS3
Subjects:
Developer Web Web Design Web Development
Software:
HTML
Author:
James Williamson

CSS3 overview

Perhaps a technology that is most often confused with being part of HTML5 is CSS3. CSS3 is the next generation of Cascading Style Sheets and it greatly expands your ability to control the presentation of your sites. The confusion between what is HTML5 and what is CSS3 is actually quite understandable as the two work very closely together to produce the final rendered page. Now a good way of understanding the difference between them is that HTML controls the structure of your documents while CSS controls their presentation.

Just like HTML5, CSS3 is a continuation of previous standards and it's worth taking a moment to go over a brief history of the evolution of CSS. Cascading Style Sheets were originally designed to allow browsers to specify the styling of elements within HTML documents. In 1996, the CSS1 specification became a recommendation, with the goal of allowing authors and users to specify the styling of page elements independently of the user agent.

Now, this was followed by the CSS2 recommendation two years later in 1998. Although the excitement around what CSS would allow authors to do continue to build, browser implementation lagged behind and CSS had not yet taken its rightful place alongside HTML. Now that same year, the W3C drafted a note to suggest improvements to the CSS2 specification. You can still view it online at the W3C. Now this note helped form the basis of the CSS3 specification, which was submitted as a working draft in April of 2000.

Now, that part usually surprises people. Really CSS3 has been around since 2000? Yeah, sort of. Now remember working drafts are just that. Now in the meantime a very significant event in the life of CSS occurred in 2002. That's when CSS2.1 was issued as a working draft. As of this recording, CSS2.1 has reached the candidate stage and is usually what people are referring to when they refer to CSS.

Most major browsers now implement the majority of the 2.1 specification. So what's going on with CSS 3? Well, in order to make the process of working with such a large specification a little easier, CSS3 has been split into modules. The development of these modules is occurring independently and some have a higher priority than others. There are an incredible amount of modules. Certainly, more than I can list here, but to give you an idea what I'm talking about, sample modules include selectors, mobile profiles, values and units, text, text layout, fonts, color, 2D transformation.

I think you get the idea. But if you want a more detailed look at the module the W3C is working on, in their current status, visit the W3C's CSS Current Work page. So what are the really cool things about CSS? Well, it's designed to improve element and content targeting. Replace many of the outdated or complicated techniques currently used to achieve stylistic effects like rounding corners or drop shadows and controlling background images. It's also designed to allow for more robust typography and font support and to replace some actions and behaviors currently found in JavaScript.

Although splitting the specification into modules allows the working group to focus on specific areas and then issue recommendations based on priorities, the slow process of the overall procedure and the demand by designers for these new features has led to browsers issuing proprietary extensions to either test or implement a CSS3 property that hasn't reach candidate recommendation yet. Now this is causing a bit of a headache for designers as we seek to add CSS3 capabilities to our sites. Let me give you an example.

So let's say I want to take this div tag and round the corners to give it that cool look that all the kids like. Well, if I'm following the CSS3 specification, this is all I need to do. That's pretty easy, right? Well, here's the problem. Not all browsers support the border-radius property. I could just leave it at that and let the unsupported browsers show an ugly old box, but using vendor specific properties, I can extend the reach of my rounded corners to other browsers. Here we go! Now here I'm adding vendor specific properties to make sure that it works in Firefox and WebKit browsers.

Hey, what if I want to do asymmetrical corners? Now that would look really cool! Well, vendor specific markup results in this. That's without adding specific markup for Opera or Konqueror browsers. As you can tell, that is a mess. So the good thing about this is that allows us to use properties before their finalized as part of the recommendation. However, it creates a confusing amount of code and filters that must be written in order to achieve the desired results. What's more, the CSS3 specification advises against using these vendor specific extensions, since the CSS properties they represent could change before being standardized.

The reality is that until more of the CSS3 specification is standardized and then natively supported by browsers, vendor specific extensions are a necessary evil when using many of the new features in CSS3. If you're interested in using much of the CSS3 specification now, you'll need to learn these properties and when it's appropriate to use them. So while it's easy to get excited about many of the new features and capabilities of CSS3, it's not just as easy as learning the specification. If you want to make the process of writing CSS3 styles a bit easier, I recommend taking a look at eCSStender.

It's a JavaScript library created by Aaron Gustafson that simplifies the process by allowing you to write clean CSS3 code and then passing the proper value to the current browser based on its level of support. Another handy site is the CSS3 Generator. This page allows you to choose a property, set a value, and then presents you with a code required to achieve cross-browser usage. CSS3 is a huge subject and trying to cover it all a few movies would be impossible. To get a taste of what it can do when combined with HTML5, in the next series of movies, we are going to add some CSS3 properties and features to our HTML5 layout.

Hopefully, this'll give you an idea of how typography, styling, and even behavior can be influenced by the next generation of Cascading Style Sheets.

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