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Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer and author based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs about front-end code on Impressive Webs and curates Web Tools Weekly, a weekly newsletter for front-end developers.

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Upcoming Web Design and Development Conferences in 2011-12

We spend a lot of time learning and thinking about the designs we see online, yet what we miss quite often are practical insights into the design process and workflow of our colleagues. This is why conferences are great for our industry. We meet people who think very much like we do and most probably struggle with similar problems; and perhaps they've found a solution which can inspire others.

We learn how our colleagues work and what they have experienced; we can exchange our thoughts and ideas directly — something that we might struggle finding time for on Twitter or via email. Networking is great, and it's powerful. And this is why every now and again we present an overview of upcoming conferences on Smashing Magazine.

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Learning To Use The :before And :after Pseudo-Elements In CSS

If you’ve been keeping tabs on various Web design blogs, you’ve probably noticed that the :before and :after pseudo-elements have been getting quite a bit of attention in the front-end development scene — and for good reason. In particular, the experiments of one blogger — namely, London-based developer Nicolas Gallagher — have given pseudo-elements quite a bit of exposure of late.

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To complement this exposure (and take advantage of a growing trend), I’ve put together what I hope is a fairly comprehensive run-down of pseudo-elements. This article is aimed primarily at those of you who have seen some of the cool things done with pseudo-elements but want to know what this CSS technique is all about before trying it yourself.

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An Introduction To CSS3 Keyframe Animations

By now you’ve probably heard at least something about animation in CSS3 using keyframe-based syntax. The CSS3 animations module in the specification has been around for a couple of years now, and it has the potential to become a big part of Web design. Using CSS3 keyframe animations, developers can create smooth, maintainable animations that perform relatively well and that don’t require reams of scripting. It’s just another way that CSS3 is helping to solve a real-world problem in an elegant manner.

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If you haven’t yet started learning the syntax for CSS3 animations, here’s your chance to prepare for when this part of the CSS3 spec moves past the working draft. In this article, we’ll cover all the important parts of the syntax, and we’ll fill you in on browser support so that you’ll know when to start using it.

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Upcoming Conferences and Events for Designers and Developers in 2011

We're well into 2011, and many designers and developers around the world are planning their travels for the year, including the possibility of attending any Web design or development conferences. To help you out with your plans for the upcoming months, we've put together a list of conferences and events that you might want to consider.

Web Design and Development Conferences

This particular post covers events taking place in about a six month timeframe that ends in late August and early September. Later this year, we'll post another article like this at the end of August that will cover events covering a six-month period beginning in September.

As always, there is no way for us to be able to include every possible event here, but we'll be glad to update the list if you provide a comment to an upcoming event that you feel would be of interest to Smashing Magazine's readers. This may also be the chance to eventually meet each other this year.

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The HTML5 Logo: What Do You Think?

This has been an interesting week for the web design community, to say the least. The W3C revealed a new HTML5 logo to help designers and developers ‘tell the world' that they’re using HTML5. The logo was designed by Ocupop design agency, and it's licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, a permissive license that allows 'remixing' of the licensed work.

The HTML5 Logo: What Do You Think?

The logo has been made available on stickers and t-shirts, and there’s a gallery already promoting examples of the logo in use. The logo’s official site includes a “badge builder” that customizes its orientation and allows you to add supplementary icons to indicate support for the different technologies that have become associated with HTML5.

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Learning to Love HTML5

It seems that new resources and articles for teaching and promoting HTML5 are popping up almost daily. We've been given HTML5 templates in the form of the HTML5 boilerplate and HTML5 Reset (although they both go beyond just HTML5 stuff). We've got a plethora of books to choose from that cover HTML5 and its related technologies. We've got shivs, galleries, and a physician to help heal your HTML5 maladies. And don't forget the official spec.

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From my own vantage point — aside from a few disputes about what the term "HTML5" should and shouldn't mean — the web design and development community has for the most part embraced all the new technologies and semantics with a positive attitude.

While it's certainly true that HTML5 has the potential to change the web for the better, the reality is that these kinds of major changes can be difficult to grasp and embrace. I'm personally in the process of gaining a better understanding of the subtleties of HTML5's various new features, so I thought I would discuss some things associated with HTML5 that appear to be somewhat confusing.

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!important CSS Declarations: How and When to Use Them

When the CSS1 specification was drafted in the mid to late 90s, it introduced !important declarations that would help developers and users easily override normal specificity when making changes to their stylesheets. For the most part, !important declarations have remained the same, with only one change in CSS2.1 and nothing new added or altered in the CSS3 spec in connection with this unique declaration.

Adding !important in Developer Tools

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Let's take a look at what exactly these kinds of declarations are all about, and when, if ever, you should use them. But before we get into !important declarations and how exactly they work, let's give this discussion a bit of context. In the past, Smashing Magazine has covered CSS specificity in-depth, so please take a look at that article if you want a detailed discussion on the CSS cascade and how specificity ties in.

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