We all know about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), which are thoroughly documented within the W3C and incorporated heavily within the HTML5 standards. I've compiled a list, in no particular order, of ten featured resources for jump starting your CSS resource library. I know that there are plenty of other CSS resources out there, and if you have any favorites that I missed, as I am sure I have, please comment and add your favorite(s) at the end of this post.
CSS TricksCSS Tricks is a web design community created by Chris Coyier. This resource includes forums, videos, downloads, code snippets, and articles on all things regarding styling, coding, and CSS. A recent screenshot of the site is displayed in Figure A.
Noupe Design BlogThe Noupe Design Blog will satisfy your curiosity for what's new and better; this site includes 29 articles on CSS in addition to articles on Ajax, general web design, Photoshop, tutorials on a variety of subjects, and a variety of articles on WordPress. Inspiring recent articles include: "Typographical Inspiration for the Weekend," "Sexy Drop Down Menu w/ jQuery & CSS," and recent CSS articles: "50 Free CSS/(X)HTML Templates," and "15 CSS Habits to Develop for Frustration-Free Coding." A screenshot of the site is displayed in Figure B.
NYPL Online Style GuideWhile it is a part of their legacy site now, the New York Public Library still offers up the NYPL Online Style Guide, a basic set of its site's guidelines to set you straight on the basics of XHTML and CSS. The screenshot of the page is displayed in Figure C.
W3C CSS2 SpecificationThe W3C CSS2 Specification (W3C Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1, CSS 2.1) is a great resource for searching the defined standards for CSS, as displayed in Figure D.
CSS DiscussSo you think you can just read some articles or books and be okay? Well, we all know that web development is about code that doesn't work at 1:00 AM while the rest of your team is fast asleep. You're going to need to talk to someone while scratching your head and finishing up that second pot of midnight coffee, so take your questions to CSS Discuss. You might be able to help someone else while you're waiting for your answer. The online CSS community has public and private forums, a wiki, and the free subscription gives you access to all their resources. Recent discussions have included questions centering on CSS for viewing sites within tablets and mobile devices. A screenshot of their Wiki is displayed in Figure E below.
A List ApartFor people who make websites, A List Apart CSS topics list includes many articles on the subject of separating presentation from structure and behavior. There are many tips and tricks on CSS drop-down menus, layouts, pull outs, print design, and style switching. This site offers even more topics than just CSS resources. A recent screenshot is shown in Figure F.
CSS Zen GardenCSS Zen Garden demonstrates the beauty of CSS web design. Known as the road to enlightenment, this website is a demonstration of what can be accomplished visually through CSS based web design. New submissions are still being accepted by the Zen Garden, and any graphic designer is welcome to participate in the project; however, new submissions to the site are added and updated on a sporadic basis. The site offers inspiration with the ability to view the designs that others have created with their own CSS implementations while keeping the content consistent. One of the popular CSS design submissions, "A Walk in the Garden," by Simon Van Hauwermeiren is displayed in Figure G.
CSS Cheat Sheet V2As simple a tool as this may seem, the CSS Cheat Sheet V2 on the Added Bytes website is very a useful tool. The handy cheat sheet is available in PDF or PNG file formats and can be downloaded for free; however, the author Dave Child does ask that folks donate to his Amazon.com wish list! Included in the cheat sheet are selectors, pseudo-selectors, units, box model, and properties list. The site also offers the cheat sheet in Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian language versions, and in Apple dashboard widget and iPod content formats. A screenshot of the web site is displayed in Figure H. By the way, Dave also offers cheat sheets on other web development topics such as Python, Subversion, mod_rewrite, PHP, SQL Server, HTML, and others to name a few.
Deploy*Deploy* is a free open-source web application that allows designers to select the name of a project, and through a series of radio buttons, you can select the Doctype, whether you want a CSS reset or jQuery integration, and it creates a zipped, ready-to-use package with all specified files and folders. Deploy* saves time and organizes your code's parent folders and more. A recent screenshot of the online tool is displayed in Figure I.
BlueprintBlueprint is a CSS framework that uses a grid-like system including pre-defined typography, and includes a set of plug-ins, form styles, print styles, templates, and much more. The site offers great support including live demos, a Wiki, forums and discussion groups, a repository, and bug tracker. The zip file download is just under 4MB. However, it is not a silver bullet, and it's best suited for websites where each page may require its own design. Take a look at existing blueprint pages before deciding if the framework is right for you. You may also check out the test files in the tests directory, which demonstrates most of the features in Blueprint. A screenshot of the Blueprint web site is displayed in Figure J.
I know this is a short list, so please share with us any of your favorite CSS resources.
Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal government.