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8 Tips and Tricks Every CSS Developer Should Know

Of all the various languages that developers can learn, HTML and CSS are probably the most popular, and the first options you're likely to pick up.

With a basic knowledge of CSS and HTML, you can create a decent website and application. CSS has a unique cascading structure which is simple enough to follow, and the loose structure means that you won't face constant problems when you mess up the syntax. However, the more you experiment with the possibilities of CSS, the more complex your work will become. With that in mind, we've put together some tips and tricks that all CSS developers should know.

1. Master Absolute Positioning

There are few things more annoying in a developer's world than an element that won't stay where it's meant to be. If you want to ensure stability on your website, then you need to understand absolute positioning. The CSS code:

Position: Absolute; Top: 40px; Right: 40px;

Will make sure that your website elements remain 40 px away from the right-side and top edges of the page. You'll also be able to use the "absolute" code in your DIV too.

2. Test Code on-the-go with FireBug

Sometimes, making the most of CSS means figuring out how to use the right tools. Rather than writing your CSS in a text editor and tweaking its values in FireBug, simply write your code in FireBug's edit mode so you can test as you work. This will allow you to mess around with your CSS assumptions in a safe and simple environment, which immediately applies changes to your browser window. Just make sure that you don't accidentally hit reload and lose your edits.

3. Learn how to Resize Images with Ease

Sometimes during a CSS development project, you'll get to a point where you need to adjust your images to fit a specific width while simultaneously scaling according to certain proportions. A good way to manage your image sizes is to use max-width, like so:

Img {Max-width: 100% Height: auto;}

This scaling strategy ensures that the largest your image can be is 100%, and your height will automatically be calculated according to the width of the image.

4. Don't Depend on Frameworks

It's safe to say that CSS frameworks can make your life a lot easier as a developer. They offer a way to quickly prototype information. However, they can also lead to overly complicated solutions to simple problems in certain situations. Remember, a grid system isn't the only way to manage a responsive element or layout. As useful as frameworks can be, sometimes using them can be a lot like overkill.

5. Apply CSS to Multiple Classes at Once

Imagine that you wanted to add an identical border to all the images on your pages at once, including the blog section and sidebar. You wouldn't want to write out the same CSS every time. Instead, you can simply list your items out separated by comma like this: .blog, .img, .sidebar {border: 1px solid #001;}

This might not seem like the most advanced CSS developer trick in the book, but it's a good way to save yourself some valuable time when you're working on producing a large number of websites or website pages.

6. Make Every Line Count

A great way to make sure that you're not repeating yourself or using CSS properties that aren't necessary is to use the developer tools that come attached to your chosen browser. Generally, if you click on an HTML element with a specific inspector tool, you'll be able to see all the CSS properties applied to the element in question. You may also see some checkboxes next to each element which you can use to turn features on and off.

7. Use the Right Tools

A CSS developer can only be as good as his or her tools. It doesn't matter which tool you use; what matters is that you feel comfortable with it. The more confident you are when you're working with CSS through your selection of tools, the better you'll be as a developer.

Remember, there's a lot more to CSS development than simply writing code, you'll also need tools that help you to compile, format, and manage your code as well. Research the IDE that's best for you and learn as much as you can about your options.

8. Understand Your Browser

Your browser is more than just your canvas as a CSS developer; it's also an important part of the tools that you can use to inspect your code, debug performance and manage your website. Learning how a browser renders your code will help you to boost your CSS skills in no time. Just remember that every browser is different, so you're going to need some time to get used to the different ones that you use.

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