CSS { In Real Life }

Tips, tricks and tutorials on the web’s most beautiful language.

Search by topic...

103 posts

Trigonometry in CSS and JS: A Series

While working on some demos earlier this year, I started to get really interested in trigonometry. Having left the subject alone since school, I initially started brushing up on my knowledge to solve a specific problem. But I was soon drawn in by how a grasp of trigonometry opens up the possibilities for creative coding!

  • Creating Generative SVG Characters

    I came across George Francis’ work recently, and am completely in love with his generative SVG characters — especially the googly eyes! What I particularly love about these is that they underline how generative art doesn’t have to be serious — it can be playful, whimsical and fun.

  • Toggling CSS Custom Properties with Radio Buttons

    As part of a recent article published on Codrops, I made some demos that allowed the user to toggle between three different values for a clip path using radio buttons. As with so many things these days, I found myself reaching for custom properties! Let’s take a look at why custom properties are great for this.

  • Dynamic CSS Masks with Custom Properties and GSAP

    Learn how to animate CSS masks based on the cursor position using GSAP and custom properties for a unique spotlight effect.

  • Development Budgets

    Personally, I find that one of the hardest things to do as a developer is estimate how long a piece of work will take. At Atomic Smash we’ve developed some processes over time that enable us to estimate a lot of common development tasks with some degree of accuracy:

  • Paper Snowflakes: Combining Clipping and Masking in CSS

    Just after Christmas I made a fun little Codepen demo recreating realistic-looking paper snowflakes in CSS, inspired by our homemade decorations! Christmas might be a distant memory, but there were plenty of learnings from this process that might be interesting to share.

  • Quick Tip: Style Pseudo-elements with Javascript Using Custom Properties

    In Javascript we have a few ways of selecting elements, but we can’t directly target pseudo-elements. Something like this, for instance, won’t work, and will return null:

  • Animating Underlines

    I recently gave my personal website a makeover and included a few cool little CSS tricks. Over the next few posts I’ll share some of these. The first one is all about underlines. Hover over any of the links in the body copy on the site and you’ll notice the underline transitions downwards. On the web it’s pretty common to seeing animated underline effects using pseudo-elements and/or borders. Try hovering on the examples in this demo.

  • Debugging Media Queries: A Dev Tools Wish List

    The Level 5 Media Queries specification brings us the ability to detect a whole load of different user preferences from within our CSS file, and serve up styles accordingly. Current support for the various media queries within the specification is mixed, but there are some that already have widespread support and are safe to use right now. For instance, we can detect whether a user has their system preferences set to dark mode using the prefers-color-scheme media query:

  • Favourite Things 2: New CSS Features, JS Libraries and More

    Here’s a short round-up of some of the web technologies and resources that are getting me excited right now. Having started with the best intentions to write one of these posts regular, it’s been several months since the first one.

  • Finding an Element’s Nearest Relative Positioned Ancestor

    This article was updated on 15 March 2021.

  • My Typical Day

    I’ve been reading quite a few blog posts in a kind of unofficial series started by Colin Devroe, who kicked things off by writing about his typical day and inviting others to do the same. It’s like looking in through a little window on other people’s worlds, which I love – and right now it feels like a great way of connecting with others, which is more important than ever. Sometimes I pick up some productivity tips too!

  • On a break

    Since starting this blog almost three years ago, I’ve regularly published two more more articles every month. I love writing and I love web development, so this never (or hardly ever) felt like a chore: there was always something to get excited about, which meant I couldn’t wait to dash off a few thoughts, whether on the train home from work or late into the evening, even after a long day of coding. But this pandemic has utterly defeated me.