Wow, I bookmarked something in delicious a few months ago and only today got around to wanting to look at it again. It was an important page for me although I had no plans to use it immediately. So I bookmarked it on delicious and thought, gee, it’s always there when I will need it.
Alas! Apparently I didn’t bookmark it on delicious; I could have sworn that I did. But how did I find this site in the first place? I remember it was a lone individual’s site; it was somebody who knew his stuff, but not a name I would recognize.
I tried googling and looking through reference links, and then by some great miracle I found it again! Thank goodness. It probably is of no use to most readers, but for the sake of posterity, here it is: CSS Tests and Experiments (and specifically this thumbnail image gallery template). Bruno Fassino, you’re a genius!
As a person who is not a web designer, I am willing to learn some basic css tricks, but most of the CSS resource guides are focused on wild design concepts of limited usefulness. Also, these so-called tutorials often focus on really elaborate site layouts without first explaining basic concepts.
Even good explainers of CSS are not right for me. Eric Meyer wrote a first class book on web-design, and it is useful for teaching concepts, but I find that my needs are more basic than that. I want some simple designs to play around with (but a little more complicated than the W3 CSS tutorials).
With the Internet, there is another problem. Browsers don’t implement css evenly, and often when one browser falls short, the designer puts hacks to make it work in the other browsers. These browser hacks are useful at the time, but a year later, the hack is no longer necessary and you no longer need it (it only clutters the web page).
Another problem is that as browsers support later versions of CSS, there are often more efficient ways to accomplish things. I’ll confess: I don’t have the time to keep abreast of the latest tricks. I just relearn CSS every two years or so for a particular project and forget it again (starting with my first experiment here. Believe me, the popup windows were pretty amazing in April 2002). I actually enjoy fiddling around with CSS once in a while, but it’s agonizing having to relearn everything from scratch (and this time I have Safari and Chome that I need to test—ugh!). The good news is that my Luddite friend (who was on IE 5.5 until about 2003) has now upgraded to IE 6 (although he’s still on Windows 98). He’s somebody I can ask to test things in a pinch. Amazingly, as of December 2009, IE 6 still accounts for 10% of all Internet traffic.
What I like about Fassino’s website is that we see the results of various experiments. Feel free to suggest your own favorites.
Here are the CSS resources I refer to most often.
- w3 tutorials and testing tool.
- Richard Rudder’s elements of typographical styles as applied to the web.
- Browser Web Statistics
- how to embed fonts
- Smashing Magazine’s summary of font guidelines.
- css technology support
- css-discuss wiki
- this CSS 2 quick reference guide (a 2 page PDF).
- Bruno Fassino’s CSS Tests
- Build Better Font Stacks is an amazing online tool that lets you choose a group of fonts appropriate for the widest audience possible. Fantastic! Just as important as CSS Tests! It includes a font stack builder.
- Web Developer’s CSS Handbook. This metadirectory contains lots of good resources if you are looking for something. Good for browsing.