A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Glazebrook, Rob L.

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Book-Style Chapter Introductions Using Pure CSS

Today’s tutorial will show you how easy it is to create book-style chapter (article, whatever) introductions using nothing but pure CSS — no XHTML was harmed in the making of this tutorial. We’ll use two types of selectors which I haven’t talked about yet here: adjacent sibling selectors and pseudo-element selectors. I’ll explain each type briefly before we get started.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Document Design>CSS


Bug Fix: IE Double Margin Float Bug

The double-margin float bug -- an Internet Explorer-exclusive bug wherein an element that is floated – and given a margin in the same direction as the float – ends up with twice the specified margin size -- has been a source of irritation for CSS-loving web designers for years. While an easy (if mysterious) fix has been known for quite some time now, it occurs to me that perhaps not everyone knows about it. So I thought it couldn’t hurt to toss another explanation out there.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS>Web Browsers


Build Custom Frameworks Easily with CSS Classes

Generally speaking, I consider full-fledged CSS frameworks to be overkill on all but the most absolutely complex projects or, on the other end of the spectrum, rapid proof-of-concept prototyping. Most people only use a few of the classes that any one CSS framework provides, but then still require their users to download the entire, and largely unused, stylesheet. However, I still think that the foundation on which CSS frameworks are built — the concept of using classes to simplify layout and standardize design across similar elements — is very much worth investigation.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSS Newbie (2009). Design>Web Design>CSS


Combating Classitis with Cascades and Sequential Selectors

There is a disease out there in the CSS world. It can afflict anything from the meanest weblog (or the nicest ones too, I suppose) to the greatest of corporate websites. It’s called Classitis, and I’ve encountered it far too often in my professional work. Perhaps you’ve seen it too.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS


CSS Attribute Selectors: Built-In Classes

By using attribute selectors in your CSS, you’re able to target elements with specific attributes, or even specific values within those attributes. When using attribute selectors, the attribute is contained within [brackets], just like how .classes have a leading period, or #ids have a leading pound sign.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS



Our mission is to help the beginning to intermediate web designer master the subtleties of CSS by offering CSS tutorials, tips, and techniques.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Resources>Web Design>CSS>Blogs


Easy CSS Dropdown Menus

Attractive dropdown menus have long been the realm of Flash developers and advanced JavaScript gurus. But that needn’t be the case. This tutorial will walk you through developing a clean, semantic dropdown menu using XHTML and CSS that works in all modern browsers!

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>DHTML>CSS


Facilitating Conversations: Orange, Interface Design, and Electronic Discourse

The philosophy behind the Orange Journal requires that the editors take several practical, theoretical, and technical elements into careful consideration in order to provide the best knowledge-building community possible.

Glazebrook, Rob L. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Publishing>Web Design


Fifteen Surefire Ways to Break Your CSS

But as silly as it may seem, some of the biggest CSS blunders stem from the simplest of errors. Knowing what some of those errors are and remembering to look for them can save you hours of wasted labor. Here are fifteen ways I’ve found to break my CSS for sure — and fifteen things I always look for whenever I have a problem in my code.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSS Newbie (2009). Design>Web Design>Standards>CSS


Five CSSriffic Treatments to Make Your Images Stand Out

Sometimes just having images isn’t enough. Sometimes we need a little help to make our outstanding images truly stand out. And that’s where CSS can help. Here are five things you can do, using CSS, to make the most of your images.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design>CSS


Five Great Uses for the CSS Display Property

The display property is a bit of an unheralded workhorse in the CSS world. Even though the list of theoretical display property values is quite long, only three of them ever see any use (primarily due to poor browser support on the others): inline, block, and none.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS


Five Steps to a More Organized Style Sheet

One of the nice things about languages like CSS is that you don’t have to write them in any specific way. For example, you could place all the CSS rules for your entire website on a single line of text, and assuming you had some brackets and semicolons stuck in there at appropriate intervals, your website would render without a hitch.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS


Five Ways to Set Your Unordered Lists Apart

Unordered lists are one of the most pervasive elements on the web, probably just behind paragraphs and hyperlinks in terms of their bunny-like abundance. And for good reason: bulleted (i.e., unordered) lists are a great way to convey a bunch of related information in a rather small space, which is often the preferred way to read on (and thus, write for) the internet.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>CSS


The Four CSS Rules of Multiplicity

One quick and easy way to keep your CSS clean and well-structured is to remember (what I’m going to title) the four CSS Rules of Multiplicity. They are: Multiple declarations can live in a single rule. Multiple selectors can preface the same rule set. Multiple rules can be applied to the same selector. Multiple classes can be set on a single element.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS


Generating Automatic Website Footnotes with jQuery

Generating footnotes for HTML documents in the past was always a slow, painful task — and every time I did it, I wondered why there wasn’t a better, easier way. Today, I’m happy to announce that I’ve come up with a better solution to web footnotes using the jQuery JavaScript framework and a few tags and attributes that already exist in XHTML.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


Hiding Content in Your RSS Feed

I’ve been doing a bit of research lately on creating RSS-only content for my website – that is, content that shows up in my RSS feed and nowhere else.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS>RSS


Horizontal CSS Dropdown Menus

Last week, CSSnewbie reader Andrea Pluhar wrote in with an interesting problem: she wanted to use CSS dropdown menus like the ones we featured last week on a website that she was building, but the design called for the submenu to be arranged horizontally, not vertically. She sent me a mockup of what she was after (excerpted above) and wondered if there was a way to accomplish this effect using CSS.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>DHTML>CSS


How to Write a CSS Rule

The syntax of CSS is extremely simple to understand. A CSS file is essentially a list of rules. And each of those rules is comprised of two basic parts: a selector and one or more declarations. Each declaration also consists of two parts: a property and a value.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS


The Importance of Complementary Skills

Without HTML, CSS is useless. Without JavaScript, CSS can’t realize its full potential. This means these skills are just as important as the CSS my site’s name suggests you’ll learn.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSS Newbie (2009). Articles>Web Design


Improve Usability and CTR: Make an Entire List Item Clickable

If I wanted my entire list item changed on hover, people would expect that clicking the list item would elicit some sort of response – this is the way navigation works in most corners of the web. But in this case, only those fortunate enough to click the anchor inside the heading tag would get anywhere. Not good.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSS Newbie (2010). Articles>Web Design>Forms>Usability


Intelligent Navigation Bars with JavaScript and CSS

I’ve developed a trick over the years that I’ve used on a number of websites now for making my sites’ navigation bars “intelligent” or “self-aware.” By that, I mean that the navigation bar automatically knows which tab/button/whatever should be considered the currently active link, without having to manually specify a class or ID on either the body tag or on the links themselves.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>DHTML


Internet Explorer Bug Fix: Disappearing Positioned Anchors

Internet Explorer does not respect the height and width properties of block-level, absolutely positioned anchor tags if they contain no content (or if that content has been moved or removed). So what’s the workaround? Well, there are several.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS>Web Browsers


jQuery-Based Popout Ad: Part 1

Today I’d like to start an article series of three parts, the result of which will be a popout-style, jQuery-based box like the one pictured above, which I think strikes a nice balance on the obtrusion-scale.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


jQuery-Based Popout Ad: Part 2

We're going to take the ad we built last week and animate it, as well as provide the user with a means to open and close the ad. We’ll be using jQuery for most of what we do, so you’ll need to include the jQuery library script at the top of your document for this to work (see the source of the example page to see how this is done).

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>Interaction Design>Ajax


On Calendars, Lists, Tables and Semantics

I first came up with the idea for a list-based calendar at my 8-5 job as I was leafing through my appointments in Outlook. I thought about how useful it was to be able to switch between the month view, to the 7-day, to the 5-day, and so on as necessity dictated.

Glazebrook, Rob L. CSSnewbie (2008). Articles>Web Design>CSS



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