Intrinsic Typography is the Future of Styling Text on the Web

The way we style text hasn’t changed much over the years. There have been numerous advancements to help make things more flexible, like layouts, but in terms of styling, most finite aspects of our designs, like text, remain relatively unchanged. This is especially true of text styling. We write code to style text explicitly for every portion of our layouts, and then, to make it responsive, we write more code to make it work at every breakpoint. This means that, as different areas of text compress and expand, the result is tension — palpable, experiential tension — just before the content breaks. At these places, content suffers from not being sized or spaced well, all the while being supported by overly complicated and brittle code.

Intrinsic typography shifts all this, clearing it away by starting at the code itself to affect the styling. Instead of writing explicit text styles, you define how those styles change in proportion to the text’s area. This enables you to use more flexible text components in more layout variations. It simplifies your code, increasing the opportunities for new layout possibilities. Intrinsic typography works so that text self-adjusts to the area in which it’s rendered. Instead of sizing and spacing text for each component at every breakpoint, the text is given instructions to respond to the areas it is placed in. As a result, intrinsic typography enables designs to be far more flexible, adapting to the area in which it is placed, with far less code.

Typographic superpowers beyond clamp()

The result of using intrinsic typography goes well beyond what is possible with tools like clamp(). Intrinsic typographic styling blends the component portability of element queries with the interpolation control of CSS animations, enabling seamless changes of any value across container widths. This technique enables things that aren’t possible with other CSS techniques, such as fluidly adjusting variable font settings, color, and unitless line-height as an element’s area changes. You also avoid the accessibility pitfalls of clamp() and locks where changing the browser’s default font …

Say Hello to CSS Container Queries

Container queries are finally here! Now available behind a flag in the latest version of Chrome Canary, you can go ahead and experiment to your heart’s content. Oh, and if you’re not familiar with container queries then check out this post by Ethan Marcotte about why they’re so dang important.

Ahmad Shadeed described his excitement and showcased a ton of great use cases for problems that container queries solves:

I haven’t been more excited for a CSS feature like I’m now in the past six years I spent as a front-end developer. The prototype of container queries is now available behind a flag in Chrome Canary. Thanks to efforts from smart people like Miriam Suzanne and other folks.

I remember seeing a lot of jokes about the support for CSS container queries, but they are finally there.

Once you’ve activated the feature in chrome://flags you can then begin to write code like this:

.parent {
  contain: layout inline-size;
}

@container (min-width: 400px) {
  .child {
    display: flex;
    flex-wrap: wrap;
  }
}

First off, you need to tell the parent component that a child needs to change size (that’s the contain: layout inline-size part). Next, you can use a new kind of query called @container which will detect when the parent of an element changes width.

Andy Bell also made a bunch of great examples when he argued that we often need elements to change based on the size of the parent element more so than the width of the browser window, especially when it comes to typography:

Most importantly with container queries, we can set typography contextually! This for me is the most needed feature in design system implementations and why I constantly wish we had container queries. We can respond with media queries and set font sizes etc that way, but when you have no idea where an element will end up, this isn’t an ideal approach. Now we have container queries, we can make type adjustments that actually make sense a lot easier than before.

How to Improve CSS Performance

There is no doubt that CSS plays a huge role in web performance. Milica Mihajlija puts a point on exactly why:

When there is CSS available for a page, whether it’s inline or an external stylesheet, the browser delays rendering until the CSS is parsed. This is because pages without CSS are often unusable.

The browser has to wait until the CSS is both downloaded and parsed to show us that first rendering of the page, otherwise browsing the web would be a terribly visually jerky to browse. We’d probably write JavaScript to delay page rendering on purpose if that’s how the native web worked.

So how do you improve it? The classics like caching, minification, and compression help. But also, shipping less of it, and only loading the bit you need and the rest after the first render.

It’s entirely about how and how much CSS you load, and has very little to do with the contents of the the CSS.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink


The post How to Improve CSS Performance appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

You can support CSS-Tricks by being an MVP Supporter.

from CSS-Tricks https://calibreapp.com/blog/css-performance…

Float an Element to the Bottom Corner

Need to lay out an element to the right or the left, such that text wraps around it? That’s an easy task for the float property. But what about if you also want to push that element (let’s call it an image) to one of the bottom corners while we’re at it? Sounds a bit tricky, right? We probably need JavaScript?

Nope, few lines of (tricky) CSS can do it! Here’s the CSS-only solution that will make your image to stick to the bottom corner, regardless of the size and content.

Resize the wrapper element and see the magic at work:

Let’s dissect the code.

Markup and layout

We’ll need a wrapper element to contain everything, and we’ll be using flexbox on it. Flexbox allows us to rely on the default stretch alignment to be able to later use height: 100%.

<div class="wrapper"<div class="box"<div class="float"<img</divLorem ipsum dolor ...
  </div</div
.wrapper {
  display: flex;
}

.float {
  float: right;
  height: 100%;
  display: flex;
  align-items: flex-end;
  shape-outside: inset(calc(100% - 100px) 0 0);
}

The .box within the .wrapper is our flex item. We don’t need any particular CSS applied to the box. It defines the height of the wrapper and, at the same time, is stretched to the same height. This behavior will give us a “reference height” that can be used by the child elements.

From the specification:

If the flex item has align-self: stretch, redo layout for its contents, treating this used size as its definite cross size so that percentage-sized children can be resolved.

The keyword is the definite which allows us to safely use a percentage (%) height inside the box element.

Now for the floated element

Our .float element will take the entire height next to the text content, thanks to the height calculation we detailed above. Inside this element we push the image to the bottom using flexbox alignment.

A paragraph of lorem i-sum text with a small square image to the right of the text. The image is located at the bottom right of the text and the space above the image is empty.
The image is floated to the right but the free space above it prevents the

Creating an Editable Textarea That Supports Syntax-Highlighted Code

When I was working on a project that needed an editor component for source code, I really wanted a way to have that editor highlight the syntax its typed. There are projects like this, like CodeMirror, Ace, and Monaco, but they are all heavy-weight, full-featured editors, not just editable textareas with syntax highlighting like I wanted.

It took a little finagling, but I wound up making something that does the job and wanted to share how I did it, because it involves integrating a popular syntax highlighting library with HTML’s editing capabilities, as well as a few interesting edge cases to take into consideration.

Go ahead and give it a spin as we dig in!

The problem

First, I tried using the contenteditable attribute on a div. I typed some source code into the div and ran it through Prism.js, a popular syntax highlighter, on onkeyup via JavaScript. Seems like a decent idea, right? We have an element that can be edited on the front end, and Prism.js applies its syntax styling to what’s typed in the element.

Chris covers how to use Prism.js in this video.

But that was a no-go. Each time the content in the element changes, the DOM is manipulated and the user’s cursor is pushed back to the start of the code, meaning the source code appears backwards, with the last characters at the start, and the first characters at the end.

White monospaced text on a black background that does not spell a coherent word.
Backwards code: not very useful

Next, I tried about using a <textarea> but that also didn’t work, as textareas can only contain plain text. In other words, we’re unable to style the content that’s entered. A textarea seems to be the only way to edit the text without unwanted bugs — it just doesn’t let Prism.js do its thing.

Prism.js works a lot better when the source code is wrapped in a typical <pre><code> tag combo — it’s only missing the editable part of the equation.

So, neither seems to work by themselves. …

Creating an Editable Textarea That Supports Syntax-Highlighted Code

When I was working on a project that needed an editor component for source code, I really wanted a way to have that editor highlight the syntax its typed. There are projects like this, like CodeMirror, Ace, and Monaco, but they are all heavy-weight, full-featured editors, not just editable textareas with syntax highlighting like I wanted.

It took a little finagling, but I wound up making something that does the job and wanted to share how I did it, because it involves integrating a popular syntax highlighting library with HTML’s editing capabilities, as well as a few interesting edge cases to take into consideration.

Go ahead and give it a spin as we dig in!

The problem

First, I tried using the contenteditable attribute on a div. I typed some source code into the div and ran it through Prism.js, a popular syntax highlighter, on onkeyup via JavaScript. Seems like a decent idea, right? We have an element that can be edited on the front end, and Prism.js applies its syntax styling to what’s typed in the element.

Chris covers how to use Prism.js in this video.

But that was a no-go. Each time the content in the element changes, the DOM is manipulated and the user’s cursor is pushed back to the start of the code, meaning the source code appears backwards, with the last characters at the start, and the first characters at the end.

White monospaced text on a black background that does not spell a coherent word.
Backwards code: not very useful

Next, I tried about using a <textarea> but that also didn’t work, as textareas can only contain plain text. In other words, we’re unable to style the content that’s entered. A textarea seems to be the only way to edit the text without unwanted bugs — it just doesn’t let Prism.js do its thing.

Prism.js works a lot better when the source code is wrapped in a typical <pre><code> tag combo — it’s only missing the editable part of the equation.

So, neither seems to work by themselves. …

Platform News: Using :focus-visible, BBC’s New Typeface, Declarative Shadow DOMs, A11Y and Placeholders

There’s a whole lot of accessibility in this week’s news, from the nuances of using :focus-visible and input placeholders, to accessible typefaces and a Safari bug with :display: contents. Plus, a snippet for a bare-bones web component that supports style encapsulation.

Now may be a good time to start using :focus-visible

The CSS :focus-visible pseudo-class replaces :focus as the new way to create custom focus indicators for keyboard users. Chrome recently switched from :focus to :focus-visible in the user agent stylesheet and, as a result of that change, the default focus ring is no longer shown when the user clicks or taps a button.

When switching from :focus to :focus-visible, consider backwards compatibility. Your keyboard focus indicators should be clearly visible in all browsers, not just the ones that support :focus-visible. If you only style :focus-visible, non-supporting browsers will show the default focus ring which, depending on your design, “may not be sufficiently clear or visible at all.”

button {
  background: white;
}

button:focus-visible {
  outline: none;
  background: #ffdd00; /* gold */
}

A good way to start using :focus-visible today is to define the focus styles in a :focus rule and then immediately undo these same styles in a :focus:not(:focus-visible) rule. This is admittedly not the most elegant and intuitive pattern, but it works well in all browsers:

  • Browsers that don’t support :focus-visible use the focus styles defined in the :focus rule and ignore the second style rule completely (because :focus-visible is unknown to them).
  • In browsers that do support :focus-visible, the second style rule reverts the focus styles defined in the :focus rule if the :focus-visible state isn’t active as well. In other words, the focus styles defined in the :focus rule are only in effect when :focus-visible is also active.
button:focus {
  outline: none;
  background: #ffdd00; /* gold */
}

button:focus:not(:focus-visible) {
  background: white; /* undo gold */
}

The BBC created a more accessible typeface

The BBC created their own custom typeface called Reith (named after the BBC’s founder …

Not Your Typical Horizontal Rules

The default browser style for <hr> is so weird. It’s basically:

border-style: inset;
border-width: 1px;

The default border-color is black, but the border doesn’t actually look black, because the inset border “adds a split tone to the line that makes the element appear slightly depressed.”

If I kick up the border-width to 40px you can see it more clearly:

I often reset an <hr> to be “just a line” and it always gets me because I’ll try something, like height: 1px with a background at first, but that’s not right. The easier way to clear it is to turn off all the borders then only use border-top or border-bottom. Or, turn off all the borders, set a height, and use a background.

Annnyway… Sara has some of the nicest horizontal rules in town on the current design of her site, and she’s written it all up. Guess what? They aren’t even <hr> elements! It turns out the only styling hook you have is CSS, which wasn’t as adaptive as Sara needed, so she ended up with a <div role="separator"> (TIL!) and inline SVG.

The best way to get the full flexibility of an SVG is by inlining it. But the <hr> element is content-less — it has no opening and closing tags within which you can place other elements.

The only way to work around the limitations of <hr> while preserving semantics for screen reader users is to use a div and provide the semantics of an hr using ARIA.

Direct Link to ArticlePermalink


The post Not Your Typical Horizontal Rules appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

You can support CSS-Tricks by being an MVP Supporter.

from CSS-Tricks https://www.sarasoueidan.com/blog/horizontal-rules/…

Flash of inAccurate coloR Theme (FART)

There is a lot to think about when implementing a dark mode theme on a website. We have a huge guide on it. There are some very clever quick wins out there, but there are also some quite tricky things to pull off. One of those tricky things is how it’s not a dark mode “toggle” between dark and light, but really three modes you need to support: dark, light, and user system preference. That’s similar to how audio preferences work in many apps, which allow you to very specifically cohose which audio input or output you want, or just default to the system preference.

CSS and JavaScript can handle the system preference angle, via the prefers-color-scheme API, but if the user preference has changed, and that preference is now different than the user preference, you’re in the territory of “Flash of inAccurate coloR Theme” or FART. Ok ok, it’s a tounge-in-cheek acronym, but it’s potentially quite a visually obnoxious problem so I’m keeping it. It’s in the same vein that FOUT (Flash of Unstyled Text) is for font loading.

Storing a user preference means something like a cookie, localStorage, or some kind of database. If access to that data means running JavaScript, e.g. localStorage.getItem('color-mode-preference');, then you’re in FART territory, because your JavaScript is very likely running after a page’s first render, lest you’re otherwise unnecessarily delaying page render.

User preference is “dark” mode, but the system preference is “light” mode (or unset), so when the page refreshes, you get FART.

You can access a cookie with a server-side language before page-render, meaning you could use it to output something like <html class="user-setting-dark-mode"> and style accordingly, which deftly avoids FART, but that means a site that even has access to a server-side language (Jamstack sites do not, for example).

Allllll that to say that I appreciated Rob Morieson’s article about dark mode because it didn’t punt on this important issue. It’s very specifically about doing this in Next.js, and uses localStorage, but because Next.js …

Flash of inAccurate coloR Theme (FART)

There is a lot to think about when implementing a dark mode theme on a website. We have a huge guide on it. There are some very clever quick wins out there, but there are also some quite tricky things to pull off. One of those tricky things is how it’s not a dark mode “toggle” between dark and light, but really three modes you need to support: dark, light, and user system preference. That’s similar to how audio preferences work in many apps, which allow you to very specifically cohose which audio input or output you want, or just default to the system preference.

CSS and JavaScript can handle the system preference angle, via the prefers-color-scheme API, but if the user preference has changed, and that preference is now different than the user preference, you’re in the territory of “Flash of inAccurate coloR Theme” or FART. Ok ok, it’s a tounge-in-cheek acronym, but it’s potentially quite a visually obnoxious problem so I’m keeping it. It’s in the same vein that FOUT (Flash of Unstyled Text) is for font loading.

Storing a user preference means something like a cookie, localStorage, or some kind of database. If access to that data means running JavaScript, e.g. localStorage.getItem('color-mode-preference');, then you’re in FART territory, because your JavaScript is very likely running after a page’s first render, lest you’re otherwise unnecessarily delaying page render.

User preference is “dark” mode, but the system preference is “light” mode (or unset), so when the page refreshes, you get FART.

You can access a cookie with a server-side language before page-render, meaning you could use it to output something like <html class="user-setting-dark-mode"> and style accordingly, which deftly avoids FART, but that means a site that even has access to a server-side language (Jamstack sites do not, for example).

Allllll that to say that I appreciated Rob Morieson’s article about dark mode because it didn’t punt on this important issue. It’s very specifically about doing this in Next.js, and uses localStorage, but because Next.js …