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Playing With CSS

horia141 profile image Horia Coman Originally published at horia141.com on ・3 min read

For the longest time, me and CSS were in a friend-of-a-friend type of relationship. Sure, we’d hang out when our common friend frontend development was around, but we’d never just hang out by ourselves. However, I always felt bad about this state of affairs, since it is one of the core technologies of the web. And I was sure my cargo-cult approach to it is not the proper aproach to it. There must be some logic to it.

And indeed there is. Looking back, I realized I’ve never actually studied CSS in a principled way. It was always fragmented and driven by the need of the moment. So after a read through a CSS tutorial I felt I had a much better understanding.

What I needed then was a way to actually test my newfound knowledge. Luckily this came in the form of the CV section on this blog. Or rather, the lack of it. I wanted to add one for the longest time, to mirror the info on StackOverflow and LinkedIn, but I knew I’d have to step outside the bounds of this Jekyll theme, where more CSS than I knew would be required to actually get something to look nice. So with that out of the way, I begun adding things.

The first step was to write the HTML with all the info and no style. You can see the raw HTML here. There’s precious little extra fluff (divs upon divs, extra classes etc.), but instead everything is organised with semantic HTML5: lists, paragraphs, sections etc. The styling itself is here.

First thing to notice is that the stylesheet itself is pretty small. It has 132 lines of very airy and commented code. It could have been made much smaller, if that was a priority.

Also, vanilla CSS was enough to get a nice looking page. Granted, there isn’t that much going on, but it’s good to know that not everything requires Bootstrap or some other CSS framework, a grid, or even a reset stylesheet. The style itself borrows from the Jekyll theme in terms of typography, with a dash of StackOverflow’s tag styling. The only external dependency is on FontAwesome, for GitHub, StackOverflow and LinkedIn icons.

Furthermore, the styling is responsive. This turned out to be easier to do than expected. There’s a single @media rule in the whole stylesheet, in fact, which sets a limit to the vertical size of the body tag, for viewports with more than 800 pixels. Everything else relies on the natural flow of the HTML default layout, which is very mobile friendly. The only bits of layout work, was spacing out paragraps, headings and sections.

Finally, not much of CSS3 was required. The only uses were the @charset and @media rules, the :last-child state selector and the rem unit. The latter was very useful in defining margins and paddings, because everything was relative to the font-size set on the root element, rather than on the closest ancestor’s. As such, almost all sizes were in rems, with the exception of borders, which were always 1px and the tags.

All in all, this was a very pleasant experience, and a definite boost to my confidence in dealing with web frontend development.

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