What CSS Did We Learn in 2007

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Before I start I’d like to wish all readers to this column a “Happy New Year” and thanks for their continued support.

As a new year is already underway it seems like a good time to review what we’ve learned in some of the articles in 2007 and to highlight some key points or just points of interest. The following topics are taken directly from the articles and you should refer to the articles for the full details if you find any topics that interest you. Not all the articles are listed here although I do mention most of them.

January 2007

CSS Floats – Repelling Content

In January we learned that margin, padding and borders on static elements actually slide under any floated content as if the float was not there.

“Floats are removed from the flow and therefore any padding, borders or backgrounds on the repelled content will still slide under the float as if the float wasn’t there.”

This is an important point and the reason that so many authors are left scratching their head when they find that margins don’t seem to be working. Usually the problem is that they are setting a margin from a floated element and of course the float is not really there and so the margin slides under the float until it hits something more solid. The same is true for padding, borders or even background images on the elements concerned.

In the same article we also learned about the infamous double margin bug on floats and how to cure it using display:inline.

Read more …

Relatives – Who Needs Them ?

Still in January we discussed the misconceptions that authors have when using relative positioning. The main point of discussion is that relative elements are not really moved at all.

” That is to say that it has no effect whatsoever on the flow of the document. Although this may seem strange what relative positioning does is that it moves an element visually but not physically. According to all the other elements on the page the element is still in its original position and they will react to it as though it were still in the space it originally occupied in the normal flow of the document.

In technical terms the element is moved the specified distance but the space it previously occupied is preserved. Therefore if you move an element using top:-200px then you will find that there is now a big gap in the page where the element originally was and all content is treating that gap as though it were the original element.

As already mentioned above relative positioning isn’t generally used for structural layout but is more used for more subtle effects. This could be that you want to overlap one element with another without altering the flow of the document at all. If you used negative margins to overlap an element then you would find the flow of the page would also be affected by this 10px shift. Whereas with a relatively positioned element there will be no change to the flow of the page at all and only the relative element gets moved. Everything else remains where it was and totally unaware that anything has happened.”

Read more …


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