Creative GoldenTwine Blog

Designing with CSS – An Introduction

This article is a small introduction to two new series about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

  • CSS Tips, Tricks and Techniques
  • CSS Snippets

With improvements in browsers’ compliance with W3C standards there is a widespread acceptance and usage of XHTML/XML along with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to style web document elements and objects.

The aim of this introductory article is to familiarize those who are totally new to CSS with some of the basics. To gain the most from these two series you are expected to be a web designer with elementary knowledge of XHTML and CSS. The idea is to provide web designers with the ability to create standards compliant, accessible web sites using XHTML and CSS. The CSS tips, tricks, techniques and snippets to be published on our blog would enrich and supplement your knowledge of CSS.

Purpose of CSS
The purpose of CSS is to provide web developers with a standard way to define, apply, and manage style characteristics, such as font, size, colour, and position, to the elements of XHTML documents. CSS provides these capabilities through a technical model based on parent/child hierarchy of the web document, the separation of style from content, and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created and documented set of standards.

Using Cascading Style Sheet
CSS information can be applied in different ways. CSS style information can be either attached as a separate document or embedded in the XHTML document. Multiple style sheets can be imported. Different styles can be applied depending on the output device being used; for example, the screen version can be quite different from the printed version, so that authors can tailor the presentation appropriately for each medium.

Cascading Order
What style will be used when there is more than one style specified for an XHTML element?
Generally speaking we can say that all the styles will “cascade” into a new “virtual” style sheet by the following rules, where number one has the highest priority:

  1. Author Styles (style specified by the web page author)

    There are three ways of specifying a style sheet:
    • Inline Style: inside an HTML element, specified using the “style” attribute.
    • Internal Style Sheet: embedded style in the head section of an HTML page.
    • External Style Sheet: a separate CSS-file referenced from the document.
  2. User Style
    • a locally stored CSS-file specified by the user in the browser options, and acting as an override, to be applied to all documents.
  3. User Agent Style (Browser default)
    • the default style sheet applied by the user agent, e.g. the browser’s default presentation of elements.

The style sheet with the highest priority gets used to display the content. Declarations that are not set in the highest priority source, will get passed on by a source of lower priority such as the user agent style. This process is called cascading.

So, an inline style (inside an XHTML element) has the highest priority, which means that it will override a style defined inside the <head> tag, or in an external style sheet, or in a browser (a default value).

Caution:
If the link to the external style sheet is placed after the internal style sheet in XHTML document <head>, the external style sheet will override the internal style sheet!

Inline Styles
An inline style loses many of the advantages of style sheets by mixing content with presentation. Avoid using inline style!

To use inline styles you use the style attribute in the relevant element. The style attribute can contain any CSS property.

The example shows how I have changed the colour of header in this article from the original Albeo theme:


<h2 style="color:#0183ac;">Designing with CSS - An Introduction</h2>

Internal Style Sheet
An internal style sheet should be used when a single document has a unique style. You define internal styles in the head section of an XHTML page, by using the <style> tag.

Example:
In my main style sheet for my website with more than hundred pages, h1 and p elements are styled like this:


h1 {text-align:left;font-weight:bold;font-size:14px;color:blue;margin:5px 5px}
p {text-align:justify;padding:0 5px;margin:5px 0}

But in one particular page I would like them to be different, so I use an internal style sheet on that page, as shown below:


<head>
<style type="text/css">
<!--
h1 {text-align:center;font-weight:bold;font-size:18px;color:red;margin:10px 5px 15px}
p {text-align:center}
-->
</style>
</head>

External Style Sheet
External style sheets are best as you have the most control over styles. An external style sheet is ideal when the style is applied to many pages. With an external style sheet, you can change the look of an entire website by changing one file. Each page must link to the style sheet using the tag. The tag goes inside the head section:


<head>
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="mystyle.css" media="screen" />
</head>

An external style sheet can be written in any text editor, and should be saved with a .css extension. The file should not contain any HTML tags. An example of a style sheet file is shown below:


body {font-family:verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:11px;line-height:1.25;color:#18397c;background:url('../asset/main.png') no-repeat top center}
h1 {text-align:center;font-weight:700;font-size:14px;color:#31659c;margin:0 0 5px}
p {text-align:justify;padding:0 5px;margin:.5px 0}

Tips:
Even multiple external style sheets can be referenced inside a single XHTML document. On my website, I have different style sheets for layout, typography, navigation, and forms, etc. If a page doesn’t have a form then it need not have a link to style sheet for forms. I also avoid whitespace, and use shorthand to reduce the file size.

Multiple Styles Cascade into One
If some properties have been set for the same selector in different style sheets, the values will be inherited from the higher priority style sheet as explained before.

For example, the h2 selector has the following properties in different style sheets for a document:

External Style Sheet


h2 {text-align:center;font-weight:bold;font-size:13px;color:brown;background-color:lime;padding:2px 0;margin:5px 0}

Internal Style Sheet


h2 {text-align:left;padding:2px 5px}

Inline Style


<h2 style="font-size:15px;color:red;">Designing with CSS - An Introduction</h2>

The virtual style sheet for the h2 element on the page with an inline style and the internal style sheet and linked to the external style sheet will be:


h2 {text-align:left;font-weight:bold;font-size:15px;color:red;background-color:lime;padding:2px 5px;margin:5px 0}

The font-size and color are inherited from the inline style (highest priority), text-alignment from the internal style sheet, and the rest from the external style sheet (lowest priority). Interestingly, padding is modified as per the internal style sheet.

CSS Rules
CSS is a simple language. It is easy to read and write, and takes very little time to understand the basics and start building your own style sheets.

In CSS, a rule is a statement about one style aspect of one or more XHTML elements. A style sheet consists of one or more rules that apply to an XHTML document. A CSS rule is made up of a selector and a declaration. Each declaration itself consists of a property and a value.

Selectors are one of the most important aspects of CSS as they are used to “select” elements on an XHTML page so that they can be styled. The declaration tells a browser how to style any element on a document that is selected.


selector {property:value}

The selector is the link between the XHTML document and the style. It specifies which XHTML elements are affected by the declaration. The declaration is that part of the rule that sets forth what the effect will be. You can group selectors together that share a common declaration.

The property is a quality or characteristic of that element that you are choosing to style. CSS2 defines around 120 properties and you can assign values to all of them. The value is a precise specification of the property. You may specify more than one property for one selector.

Punctuation
Each selector in a group must be separated by a comma. A declaration is surrounded by curly braces. Property and value are separated by a colon. If the value is multiple words, put quotes around the value. You must separate multiple properties for one selector with a semicolon. Do not leave spaces between the property value and the units! “margin-left:10 px” (instead of “margin-left:10px”) will work in IE, but not in Firefox or Opera.

To make your CSS code more readable, you can put each property and its value on a line by itself. But this will increase the size of your style sheet.

Example:


p {font-family:Cambria,"Times New Roman",Times,serif;text-align:justify;padding:0 5px;margin:5px 0}
p {
font-family:Cambria,"Times New Roman",Times,serif;
text-align:justify;
padding:0 5px;
margin:5px 0
}
h1,h2,h3 {text-align:center;font-weight:700;font-size:14px;color:#31659c;margin:0 0 5px}
h2 {font-size:13px}
h3 {font-size:12px}

The curly braces and colon make it possible for the browser to distinguish between the selector, property, and value.

Type Selectors
A type selector matches the name of a document language element type. A type selector matches every instance of the element type in the document tree. Any XHTML element type can be used as a type selector. Type selectors are the simplest kind of selectors.

Example:
The following rule matches all h1 elements in the document and sets their font size to 14px:


h1 {font-size:14px}

id and class Selectors
In addition to setting a style for an XHTML element, CSS allows you to specify your own selectors called “id” and “class”.

id Selector
The id selector is used to specify a style for a single, unique element. You can use an id selector name only once in your XHTML document. The id selector uses the id attribute of the HTML element, and is defined with a “#”.

Example:


#wrapper {width:960px;min-height:100%;background-color:#f6f8fa;margin:0 auto}

The wrapper of my website is used only once in a page, so I use id selector for this outermost container.


<div id="wrapper">
... content
</div>

Caution:
Do NOT start an ID name with a number! It will not work in Mozilla/Firefox.

class Selector
The class selector is used to specify a style for a group of elements. Unlike the id selector, the class selector can be used as often as you need within your XHTML document. This allows you to set a particular style for any XHTML element with the same class. The class selector uses the XHTML class attribute, and is defined with a “.”

Example:


h2 {text-align:center;font-weight:bold;font-size:13px;color:brown;background-color:lime;padding:2px 0;margin:5px 0}
p {text-align:justify;padding:0 5px;margin:.5px 0}
.left {text-align:left}

Now, if I want, I may left-align my h2 element with a padding of 5px as follows:


<h2 class="left" style="padding-left:5px;">Designing with CSS - An Introduction</h2>

Similarly, any XHTML element with class name of “left” will be left-aligned.


<p class="left">This para is left-aligned, and not justified as defined in the external style sheet.</p>

Caution:
Do NOT start a class name with a number! This is only supported in Internet Explorer.

This article is not a tutorial, and there are other selectors like:
universal selector, descendant or contextual selectors, child and sibling selectors, attribute selectors, pseudo-elements and pseudo-classes.
I will explain these selectors as and when I use them in these two series.

Another thing that I haven’t discussed here is that you have an option of two different writing styles for your CSS rules: longhand and shorthand. I always prefer shorthand that allows you to condense your rules by assigning multiple properties and values in a single line, and create a smaller file which uploads faster.

CSS Comments
Comments are used to explain your code, and may help you when you edit your code at a later date. Comments are ignored by browsers. Comments may not be nested. CSS comments begin with characters “/*”, and end with characters “*/”.

Example:


/*
Copyright 2009 GoldenTwine Informatics
Style name: gti - main style web 2.0
W3C CSS Validator - Valid CSS!
*/

/* clearfix */
.clearfix:after {content:".";display:block;height:0;clear:both;visibility:hidden}
.clearfix {display:inline-block}
/* Hides from IE-mac \*/
* html .clearfix {height:1%}
.clearfix {display:block}
/* End hide from IE-mac */

For a short guide to styling your Web pages, try Dave Raggett’s
Adding a touch of style.
It will show you how to use W3C’s Cascading Style Sheets language (CSS) as well as alternatives using HTML itself.

Further information:
Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) Specification
Introduction to CSS 2.1
Syntax and basic data types
Selectors

With this brief introduction, get ready to share with us tips, tricks, techniques, and snippets which will enable you to design your web document with creative CSS. Your comments, suggestions, and contributions are warmly anticipated!

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Subrato PaulAuthor: Subrato Paul lives in Kolkata, India. He’s the owner of GoldenTwine Informatics, which he founded in 2003. He is a website designer, Internet marketer, and provides social networking and bookmarking services. He writes in his official blog and as a guest writer about internet trends, computer issues, internet marketing, website design and development, and his website…

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Subrato PaulAuthor: Subrato Paul lives in Kolkata, India. He’s the owner of GoldenTwine Informatics, which he founded in 2003. He is a website designer, Internet marketer, and provides social networking and bookmarking services. He writes in his official blog and as a guest writer about internet trends, computer issues, internet marketing, website design and development, and his website…

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Subrato PaulAuthor: Subrato Paul lives in Kolkata, India. He’s the owner of GoldenTwine Informatics, which he founded in 2003. He is a website designer, Internet marketer, and provides social networking and bookmarking services. He writes in his official blog and as a guest writer about internet trends, computer issues, internet marketing, website design and development, and his website…

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Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren’t shared, merely bookmarks that reference them.
– from Wikipedia

Sharing your blog – WordPress[dot]com bloggers should also GetSocial!

You may have seen in the footer of any post a request from the author –
If you enjoyed this post, share it
…and you will see social bookmarking options.

But the bad news is if you are blogging on free wordpress[dot]com like millions of other users, it is not free from limitations. You can’t integrate social bookmarking options directly in your blog posts, as the JavaScript code needed to do so is stripped by them for security reasons.

Users are not allowed to post JavaScript on WordPress[dot]com blogs. JavaScript can be used for malicious purposes.

Getsocial – Social Bookmarking for wordpress[dot]com bloggers

Fortunately, there are ways to get Social Bookmarking buttons in your posts easily (see footer of posts in this blog). You have to put the links manually under each post. I am using GetSocial which is absolutely free social bookmarking tool made especially for WordPress[dot]com bloggers. It automatically generates script less social bookmarking buttons for each one of your posts.

You can also use GetSocial to add 3rd party buttons to your blog post (such as AddThis, AddToAny, Email to a Friend and more).

How to download GetSocial?

If you are interested then

Social Bookmarking Tool

After you download GetSocial, Extract and run GetSocial.exe (No Installation is needed).

How to Add GetSocial Bookmark Icons to Your Post

Write a new post and publish it without the social bookmarking button. But I always prefer to save the draft, and get the permalink of my post, rather than publish my incomplete post.

With GetSocial wizard interface which is very friendly, fast and easy to use, you can add social bookmarking icons to your new post in 3 steps. You may also implement 3rd Party (like AddThis or AddToAny) Buttons in your blog.

Step 1. Post Information

You will need to enter the title of your post and a permalink to your post (web address of your post).

Post Title: Let’s Get Social – Social Bookmarking Tool

Post Permalink: http://wp.me/pEzXT-28 (I always use the shortlink)

Step 2. Select the appearance of your GetSocial button

You have five options:

  • Classic (300×27)
  • Mini (200×18)
  • Design (400×36)
  • Design Mini (300×27)
  • Text Links

As you select, you see the buttons in a preview window.

This is how they look:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

3rd Party (like AddThis or AddToAny) Buttons

Email to a friend

Bookmark Let’s GetSocial – Social Bookmarking Tool

Bookmark Let’s GetSocial – Social Bookmarking Tool

Step 3. Get your code

Copy the WordPress.com friendly code, and Paste it to your post (while in HTML Edit mode).

Preview your post, and publish it.

Before I End…

GetSocial is a Windows application built with Visual Basic. Even though it was made specifically for the WordPpress[dot]com platform, GetSocial will also work like a charm on most other blogs and websites. If you use/like it, consider donating 5.00 USD to the author of the software.

Hillel Stoler is the creator of GetSocial

System Requirements: Most Windows systems will run GetSocial without any additional installations. If you get error (0xc0000135) or a message that says .net Framework 2.0 is required you need to install the Redistributable Package. Use Windows Update, or download it directly from the Microsoft download center.

Subrato PaulAuthor: Subrato Paul lives in Kolkata, India. He’s the owner of GoldenTwine Informatics, which he founded in 2003. He is a website designer, Internet marketer, and provides social networking and bookmarking services. He writes in his official blog and as a guest writer about Internet trends, computer issues, online marketing, website design and development, and his website…

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Welcome to Tips, Tricks, Techniques section of goldenTwine blog

The Internet is certainly the most valuable source of information. The Internet is used by over 800 million people in all walks of life everyday. Whether you are only a netizen, or an online community builder, or a blogger, or a web designer and developer, you always look for tips, tricks, tactics, tools, trends and techniques to improve your online environment and get the most out of Internet. Obviously, one article is simply not enough. In this Tips, Tricks, Techniques series we will have many posts not only from us, but also from Internet experts, and our esteem readers. Some of these tips, tricks and techniques you are bound to use as a web user or a web developer. This series would help especially those who would sometimes wish that they could also do what someone else has done elsewhere!

Tips, Tricks, Techniques

Let’s Get Social – Social Bookmarking Tool

and much more…

Coming up…

How could you make your passwords strong yet remember them all without jotting down on a notebook?

Are you a web designer? Check out if you knew these CSS tips and tricks!

Are your security questions and answers always secured? How could you make them more secured!

Would you like to contribute…

We welcome your contribution. You may offer any tips, tricks and techniques that you would like to share with your fellow netizens.

Click here to submit your article:
Article Submission Form

Subrato PaulAuthor: Subrato Paul lives in Kolkata, India. He’s the owner of GoldenTwine Informatics, which he founded in 2003. He is a website designer, Internet marketer, and provides social networking and bookmarking services. He writes in his official blog and as a guest writer about Internet trends, computer issues, online marketing, website design and development, and his website…

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Advertise your services on twitter through Twivert and reach millions of twitter users. Start your CPC campaigns today for as low as 5 cents per click, and get 25% cash back. Advertisers have the flexibility of targeting their ads at specific countries.

Conclusion

On the whole, using twivert advertisers can start up CPC campaigns while twitterers can display ads as part of their updates. Don’t expect to get rich quick. There are many such websites that will pay you for your tweets. If you join all of them, you are going to dilute your chances, and your own promotions may suffer. But by joining one or two, there is a sense of belonging to whatever is happening on twitter.

Note:
This article will continue with more earning opportunities on twitter. Twivert is not affiliated with twitter.

Subrato PaulAuthor: Subrato Paul lives in Kolkata, India. He’s the owner of GoldenTwine Informatics, which he founded in 2003. He is a website designer, Internet marketer, and provides social networking and bookmarking services. He writes in his official blog and as a guest writer about Internet trends, computer issues, online marketing, website design and development, and his website…

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Ensuring requested opt-in email is delivered to subscriber inboxes is an increasingly difficult battle in the age of spam filtering. Open and click thru response rates can be dramatically affected by as much as 20-30% due to incorrect spam filter classification.

Permission

Confirming that the people who ask for your information have actually requested to be on your list is the number one step in the battle for deliverability. You should be using a process called confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in to send a unique link to the attempted subscriber when they request information. Before adding the person to your list they must click that unique link verifying that they are indeed the same person that owns the email address and requested to subscribe.

Subscriber Addresses

When requesting website visitors to opt-in ask for their “real” or “primary” email address instead of a free email address like Yahoo or Hotmail. Free emails tend to be throw away accounts and typically have a shorter lifetime than a primary ISP address.

List Maintenance

Always promptly remove undeliverable addresses that bounce when sending email to them. An address that bounces with a permanent error 2-3 times in a 30 day period should be removed from the list. ISP’s track what percentage of your newsletters bounce and will block them if you attempt to continually deliver messages to closed subscriber mailboxes.

Message Format

Usage of HTML messages to allow for text formatting, multiple columns, images, and brand recognition is growing in popularity and is widely supported by most email client software. Most spam is also HTML formatted and thus differentiating between requested email and spam HTML messages can be difficult. A 2004 study by AWeber .com shows that plain text messages are undeliverable 1.15% of the time and HTML only messages were undeliverable 2.3%. If sending HTML it is important to always send a plain text alternative message, also called text/HTML multi-part mime format.

Content

Many ISP’s filter based on the content that appears within the message text.

    Website URL:

    Research potential newsletter advertisers before allowing them to place ads in your newsletter issues. If they have used their website URL to send spam, just having their URL appear in your newsletter could cause the entire message to be filtered.

    Words/phrases:

    Choose your language carefully when crafting messages. Avoid hot button topics often found in spam such as medication, mortgages, making money, and pornography. If you do need to use words that might be filtered, don’t attempt to obfuscate words with extra characters or odd spelling, you’ll just make your messages appear more spam like.

    Images:

    Avoid creating messages that are entirely images. Use images sparingly, if at all. Commonly used open rate tracking technology uses images to calculate opens. You may choose to disable open rate tracking to avoid being filtered based on image content.

    Attachments:

    With viruses running rampant and spreading thru the usage of malicious email attachments many users are wary of attached documents. It’s often better to link to files via a website URL to reduce recipient fear of attachments and reduce the overall message size.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

The January 2004 Federal CAN-SPAM law introduced a number of rules regarding the delivery of email. It’s important you have your legal counsel review your practices and ensure you are in compliance. The two most important rules include having a valid postal mail address listed in all commercial messages and a working unsubscribe link that is promptly honored to remove the subscriber from future messages.

Reputation

Reputation services are often used by large ISP’s as a way to vet email senders regarding their email practices and policies. Businesses listed with these services are then given less stringent filtering or no filtering at all. Several reputation services are:

Relationships & Whitelisting

Contact with major ISP’s and email providers is essential in letting them know about your requested subscriber email. Many large providers such as AOL and Yahoo have specific whitelisting programs and postmaster website areas to ensure your email is delivered as long as you meet their policies and procedures in handling your opt-in list.

Email deliverability is about ensuring requested opt-in email is delivered to the intended recipient. While no single tip will enable you to get 100% of your email delivered each one utilized as a group can go a long way to reaching that goal.

Can You Have More Sales, Too?
Helping over 65,000 businesses like yours raise profits and build customer relationships using AWeber’s opt-in email marketing software for over 10 years.

Article Source: Email Deliverability Tips

Author: Tom Kulzer (AWeber CEO)

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