'CSS' Category Results

RSS / Twitter Feed Reader using jQuery

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

In this article we will build an RSS / Twitter news-feed-reader-ticker. Yeah, that’s a mouth full, but you know what I’m talking about, right? This news/RSS/Twitter ticker will query web services using jQuery and return JSON results which we will then display in a scrolling ticker. Oh, hell just click the example below and see for yourself.

Click here to view scrolling ticker

There’s probably a handful of plugins that will achieve the same result, but as you will see there’s not much code needed to do it yourself. Let’s look at the code now.


Building a Better, Faster, Stronger Navigation Menu

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

In this article we are going to look at some very common mistakes that are made when building a navigational menu. We will then look at how to rebuild it making it better, faster and stronger. Okay, maybe not stronger, but certainly better, faster, lighter, more search-engine friendly and all around less sucky…

The navigational menu that we are going to rebuild is the one for the Rock Bottom Brewery restaurant that we love here in Denver.

Have a look at their main menu. It’s the one with: Home, Find A Restaurant, Menu, Beer & Spirits and Contact Us. You might be thinking, “What? Works just fine.” Yes is does, but why settle for “just fine” when we can make it better?

Now look at our Re-factored main menu. Once again, at first glance both menus work and look reasonable, but stick around and let’s see what makes the re-factored menu better.


CSS – A Sticky Subject

Friday, October 9th, 2009

CSS is a sticky subject in the best of times and to make it more sticky I thought I’d run down the techniques needed to make a sticky footer that works in all modern browsers. This is unlike most examples on the web that break in either Opera, IE8, IE7 or indeed in all three.

Try any of those footers from the Google search above in IE8 or Opera (some don’t work in IE7 either). Load the page then grab the bottom of the window (not the side or corner of the window) and drag it up or down and you will see that the footer usually sticks in the wrong place, messing up the display.

Now try it on my old original sticky footer version (circa 2003 which pre-dates all those above) and you will see that my version is working in all browsers including IE8.

Before we get into details I should first explain what a sticky footer is.

What is a Sticky Footer

A sticky footer is one that sits at the bottom of the viewport when there is not enough content in the page to push the footer down. If there is a lot of content then the footer sits at the bottom of the document and will be below the fold as usual. Why this is desirable is because on short content pages you won’t have a footer right at the top of the screen looking very strange indeed as shown from Figure 1 below.

Figure 1 – normal footer close to content.
Normal footer

Figure 2 – Sticky footer at bottom of viewport.

Note that a “fixed positioned” footer is not the same thing as a sticky footer as a fixed positioned footer is one that sits at the bottom of the viewport at all times and never moves. Don’t get confused between the two.


Before we get into the nitty gritty detail I will briefly explain the concept in getting a sticky footer to work.

The first thing we need to do is create a 100% high container which is achieved by setting the html and body elements to 100% height and then creating a container that is a minimum of 100% high. The footer is then placed after this container which means it will be invisible as it will be below the fold of the page but by the magic of negative margins we can bring it back into view at the bottom of the viewport.

Of course this means that the sticky footer must be a fixed height (pixels or ems will do) so that we know how to accommodate it with the exact negative margins that bring it into view. This also means that our footer is now overlapping content on the page so we will also need to protect this content with either padding on an inner element, or some other similar approach as you will see when we get into specifics later.

That’s basically all there is to it except that we have to squash a few bugs on the way to make it work everywhere.


Let’s All Get Inline (In a Block, In a Block)

Thursday, August 28th, 2008


One of the values for the display property is inline-block and although it has been around for quite a while now browsers have been slow on the uptake which is a shame because it’s just the sort of thing that can be very useful. In this article we will investigate ways to implement display:inline-block in a number of browsers.

If you are unfamiliar with inline-block then its use is defined as follows: “an inline-block makes the element generate a block box that’s laid out as if it were an inline box“.

What this means is that a “block level box” can retain most of its block level capabilities but in an inline environment. This would allow you to align a number of boxes on the same line all with their own width and height much in the same way as floating the elements but having the benefit of allowing inline rules to be applied to them unlike floats.

For example, three or four inline-block elements could be aligned horizontally and centered by using the text-align:center property on the parent. This would automatically center the elements within the available width. We could also apply the vertical-align:property to align their top or bottom edges with each other.

Perhaps it’s best to start with the finished example so you can see what we are talking about. The result is also shown in the screenshot below.

Figure 1

As you can see in the above we have achieved three (apparently) block elements all aligned nicely in the same row. The elements are perfectly centred and they all have their bottom borders aligned with each other. Imagine trying to do this with floats.

The truth is you could not do this automatically with floats at all as you could never align the bottom borders unless you were using fixed heights and then could calculate the margins for each. It is also very difficult to center floats also. With very little code we have achieved this effect so now we will get down to specific details.


My CSS is Cat -(Categories With CSS)

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

This article details how to produce a product category list with associated images and text. This is the sort of thing you would see if you did a search on Amazon.

I am going to start by showing the finished product as this will help you visualize what we are going to achieve along the way. Figure 1 below shows a smaller version of the task ahead.

Figure 1

We are going to make a similar display but without using tables as in my view the information presented is not tabular and does not have a logical correspondence between rows and columns. Even if you do present a good case of why this should be in a table, please don’t comment on this as we are interested in the layout techniques rather than perfect semantics (for this example). The techniques presented here can be used in other layouts that are certainly not tabular and will prove useful in many situations.


Fix Your CSS

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Now that IE7 has overtaken IE6 in usage it has become more common to find authors trying to use position:fixed in their layouts. Therefore in this article we will try to address some common problems and misconceptions when using position:fixed (we will not be covering the background-attached “fixed” property but you can find out more about that here if you are interested.).

Note that position:fixed doesn’t work in IE6 and under so you will need to be using another browser although we will try to accommodate IE6 with some alternate styling.

Fixed to What?

Fixed positioning varies from other positioned elements in that the element is always placed in relation to the viewport and not a local stacking context. Even if you add position:relative to a parent of the fixed element it is still placed in relation to the viewport.

This can present problems if you want to place the fixed element inside a centered layout and then place it at a certain position within that centered layout.

In order to have a positioned element inside a centered layout you can simply let it occupy its normal position in the flow and not specify any position values for top, bottom, left or right at all. This will enable the element to become fixed at that point while the rest of the content scrolls.

We’ll work through some simple examples to show this in effect.

We’ll start with this simple Example


Nicely-Fitting Background Images

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

In recent thread over at the SitePoint forums, someone asked how to have any sized image fit nicely into the viewport while maintaining its aspect ratio. The assumption is that all the content can fit in the viewport and no scrollbars are needed. While CSS is wonderful and magical, it doesn’t know the sizes of images and let us play with them to pixel perfection, so we must turn to good old JavaScript to maintain aspect ratio.


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