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Starting your CSS from Scratch

Published on April 28th, 2012

In the early days, web designers used to curse having to account for two major browsers at the time, Netscape and Internet Explorer. Those same designers would have a heart attack in today’s market where the options are near infinite. You can no longer design for a single target, unless you have a very specialized audience. Your website has to look good on everything from a freakishly large television set in your living room to the tiny handheld device in your pocket. This isn’t even an if/else type setup. You have to account for everything!

Well, this blog article isn’t going to talk about how to account for everything, it is only going to give you a starting spot with your CSS. Would you believe that of the four major browsers on the market (and let’s not even talk about all the differences in the mobile versions of these same browsers) all render webpages with a few basic CSS attributes enabled? For example, some versions of Safari put padding around the borders of your website. Likewise, Firefox is notorious for that 10px space at the top of the page that no other browser places by default. I could go on and on. So what do you do, I inject a CSS file that resets everything to 0 so that you can start fresh.

Here is a sample for HTML5 from Richard Clark (you are using HTML5 now, right?):

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/* html5doctor.com Reset Stylesheet v1.6.1
Last Updated: 2010-09-17
Author: Richard Clark - http://richclarkdesign.com
*/
html, body, div, span, object, iframe,
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, blockquote, pre,
abbr, address, cite, code,
del, dfn, em, img, ins, kbd, q, samp,
small, strong, sub, sup, var,
b, i,
dl, dt, dd, ol, ul, li,
fieldset, form, label, legend,
table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td,
article, aside, canvas, details, figcaption, figure,
footer, header, hgroup, menu, nav, section, summary,
time, mark, audio, video {
    margin:0;
    padding:0;
    border:0;
    outline:0;
    font-size:100%;
    vertical-align:baseline;
    background:transparent;
}
body {
    line-height:1;
}
article,aside,details,figcaption,figure,
footer,header,hgroup,menu,nav,section {
    display:block;
}
nav ul {
    list-style:none;
}
blockquote, q {
    quotes:none;
}
blockquote:before, blockquote:after,
q:before, q:after {
    content:'';
    content:none;
}
a {
    margin:0;
    padding:0;
    font-size:100%;
    vertical-align:baseline;
    background:transparent;
}
/* change colours to suit your needs */
ins {
    background-color:#ff9;
    color:#000;
    text-decoration:none;
}
/* change colours to suit your needs */
mark {
    background-color:#ff9;
    color:#000;
    font-style:italic;
    font-weight:bold;
}
del {
    text-decoration: line-through;
}
abbr[title], dfn[title] {
    border-bottom:1px dotted;
    cursor:help;
}
table {
    border-collapse:collapse;
    border-spacing:0;
}
/* change border colour to suit your needs */
hr {
    display:block;
    height:1px;
    border:0;
    border-top:1px solid #cccccc;
    margin:1em 0;
    padding:0;
}
input, select {
    vertical-align:middle;
}
/* html5doctor.com Reset Stylesheet v1.6.1
Last Updated: 2010-09-17
Author: Richard Clark - http://richclarkdesign.com
*/
html, body, div, span, object, iframe,
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, blockquote, pre,
abbr, address, cite, code,
del, dfn, em, img, ins, kbd, q, samp,
small, strong, sub, sup, var,
b, i,
dl, dt, dd, ol, ul, li,
fieldset, form, label, legend,
table, caption, tbody, tfoot, thead, tr, th, td,
article, aside, canvas, details, figcaption, figure,
footer, header, hgroup, menu, nav, section, summary,
time, mark, audio, video {
    margin:0;
    padding:0;
    border:0;
    outline:0;
    font-size:100%;
    vertical-align:baseline;
    background:transparent;
}
body {
    line-height:1;
}
article,aside,details,figcaption,figure,
footer,header,hgroup,menu,nav,section {
    display:block;
}
nav ul {
    list-style:none;
}
blockquote, q {
    quotes:none;
}
blockquote:before, blockquote:after,
q:before, q:after {
    content:'';
    content:none;
}
a {
    margin:0;
    padding:0;
    font-size:100%;
    vertical-align:baseline;
    background:transparent;
}
/* change colours to suit your needs */
ins {
    background-color:#ff9;
    color:#000;
    text-decoration:none;
}
/* change colours to suit your needs */
mark {
    background-color:#ff9;
    color:#000;
    font-style:italic;
    font-weight:bold;
}
del {
    text-decoration: line-through;
}
abbr[title], dfn[title] {
    border-bottom:1px dotted;
    cursor:help;
}
table {
    border-collapse:collapse;
    border-spacing:0;
}
/* change border colour to suit your needs */
hr {
    display:block;
    height:1px;
    border:0;
    border-top:1px solid #cccccc;
    margin:1em 0;
    padding:0;
}
input, select {
    vertical-align:middle;
}

Place this at the start of your file BEFORE your normal CSS file, and it will give you a clean CSS canvas to begin your website masterpiece. Be sure to download the latest version from CSSReset.com. I won’t keep this blog post updated.

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<link href="css/html5-doctor-reset-stylesheet.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<link href="css/yourCustom.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<link href="css/html5-doctor-reset-stylesheet.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<link href="css/yourCustom.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

Now you are on your way to being able to support all browsers and platforms, for all screen sizes.

About the Author: Sprawl

Stephen Russell is a Mobile App developer and all around IT geek that spends his days running data centers and his nights coding. This site is the go to place for all of zSprawl’s work and the infamous development blog. In his free time, he enjoys tinkering with web code, playing video games, and otherwise plotting to take over the Internets.


 

One Response

  1. desktop

    Very useful article!

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