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Smashing Daily #17: Shadows, Unicode, Prototyping

In this edition of The Smashing Daily we have some great links and tutorials for CSS-nerds, stuff for browser-debuggers, philosophical articles about ownership, what makes a mobile device and an actual physical wireframing machine! Enjoy!

Here’s an excellent initiative by Scott Jehl that tries to document all known device/browser bugs—a very useful resource. The best thing about it? You can easily add your own findings.

Minimum Paragraph Widths in Fluid Layouts2
Floating an image inside a paragraph of text only works if the text block is wide enough (a common issue in responsive, fluid layouts). Here’s a very clever pesudo-element-trick by Gustav Andersson that solves this problem.

This is not what we want3

Pure CSS Clickable Events Without :target4
You can use :target or hidden checkboxes to create a CSS-only dropdown menu, but there’s also the way Ryan Collins explains, which uses :active and :hover. Not the most practical way, I think, but it seems to work.

Are free apps evil?5
When you use a free service you are the product is a common heard modern wisdom. Some people say that people should know this and that it’s their own responsibility if the app has negative side effects. Christian Heilmann wrote a long article on the subject, which ranges from Twitter selling your data (while you can’t access this data yourself) to proposing new ways of advertising.

Love Hotels and Unicode6
Here’s an excellent transcript of a fascinating presentation by Matt Mayer about unicode. Did I just use the words fascinating and unicode in the same sentence? Yes, I did, and rightly so—it’s a great, informative read.

Which side of the egg7

iPad Mobile Connections8
Tablets are often seen as mobile devices. Here are some statistics that try to prove that people probably don’t consider them to be as mobile as their phones are.

A flexible shadow with background-size9
It used to be pretty hard to create shadows on the Web, we had to resort to complex image-hacks and still we couldn’t do everything we wanted. With CSS3 we can probably do more than we want. Here’s a nice example of a nice shadow and how you can make such a thing with current Web technologies.

Pseudo-elements rock10

Reading List11
Do you want more to read? Here’s an edition of the consistently excellent Reading List by Bruce Lawson with links and comments about Web vs. native, standardsy stuff, legal stuff and more.

Last Click

The DIWire Bender12
Rapid prototyping can be exciting on the Web, and many tools are being developed as we speak. But I’m afraid those tools will never be as exciting as this DIWire Bender prototyping machine (we need more machines on the Web if we want to keep competing with real life).

The Wireframe Machine13

Previous Issues14

For previous Smashing Daily issues, check out the Smashing Daily Archive15.


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Vasilis van Gemert is the Principal Front-end Developer at Mirabeau in The Netherlands and a board member of Fronteers. His aim is to close the gap between design and (front-end) development. He believes the excess of knowledge he has can be better used by others, by more creative and smarter people. You can follow him on Twitter.

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