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Old 01-21-2007, 05:23 AM   #1
RJ Emery
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Default Learning CSS

Well, it finally happened. I resisted as long as I could, but I have run into a situation where I have to learn CSS. My immediate emphasis is not so much for designing web pages but for controlling the appearance of a window user interface, in particular code for userChrome.css for Firefox, Thunderbird, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, etc.


1) What resources exist online that could serve as a tutorial or introduction?

2) What books or other reference material is recommended for purchase?

   
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Old 01-21-2007, 06:59 AM   #2
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On line resources include W3Schools, HTMLGoodies and Tizag, but be aware that some of these have not been updated for 5 years or so!

Books are very much a personal thing, but I have Lie & Bos, Cascading Style Sheets Third edition, ISBN 0-321-19312-1 and Sitepoint's HTML Utopia: designing without tables using CSS, by Rachel Andrew and Dan Scafer, ISBN 0-9752402-7-7. I find the latter more readable and it does have a good reference section. Sitepoint also produce a CSS Video course.

   
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:02 AM   #3
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You could start with the recommendations I gave you last week in another thread.

A few additional books were mentioned in another thread.

Those should get you started. Using Advanced Search to look for CSS here in the forum should turn up many more discussions and recommendations.

   
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Old 01-21-2007, 11:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
You could start with the recommendations I gave you last week in another thread.

A few additional books were mentioned in another thread.

Those should get you started. Using Advanced Search to look for CSS here in the forum should turn up many more discussions and recommendations.
Once again, all of these recommendations focus on building websites. That is not my primary interest.

I need something that explains how to modify the user interface of the browser. There are plenty of code examples for that at http://userstyles.org/, but all of it is too advanced for me at my current level. I need an introduction, something that explains how to use such things as menubar, menubutton, menulist, menu, menuitem, textbox, toolbar, tab-text, tree, tooltip, sidebarheader, statusbar, etc.

If in the process I learn how to use CSS for website purposes, that would be acceptable, but my focus right now is how to modify the browser user interface.

I have taken the first steps towards that goal, and I have achieved some success, but I wish to learn more.

If the sources you and others suggested do significantly (if not substantially) cover manipulating the browser user interface, then I would be most interested. My guess is they do not.

This forum is probably the wrong place to ask my question, but one never knows until one tries. Thanks.

   
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Old 01-21-2007, 01:00 PM   #5
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Well, your title asked about learning CSS. Now you scold us for not addressing the very particular subset you are interested in right this minute.

I have no idea if you can learn to do just the few things that interest you without learning the general structure, but perhaps you can. Since you are asking about customizing the Mozilla tribe of browsers, maybe you should start searching at mozilla.org.

   
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Old 01-21-2007, 02:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Well, your title asked about learning CSS. Now you scold us for not addressing the very particular subset you are interested in right this minute.

I have no idea if you can learn to do just the few things that interest you without learning the general structure, but perhaps you can.
Kathleen,

By writing "My immediate emphasis is not so much for designing web pages but for controlling the appearance of a window user interface, in particular code for userChrome.css for Firefox, Thunderbird, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, etc.", I thought I made it very clear what my interest was.

Learning CSS does not imply webpage and website design. The mechanics of CSS have other applications.

In any event, I do appreciate the other recommendations, which I will keep for reference when and if the need for CSS arises in webpage design.

Quote:
Since you are asking about customizing the Mozilla tribe of browsers, maybe you should start searching at mozilla.org.
I was in there before coming here. I am addressing several forums and other resources at once.

FYI: The UI of Opera is apparently also modifiable through CSS, as well as some other minor browsers, so the technique is not just limited to the Mozilla architecture. To my knowledge, only IE stands alone.

   
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ Emery View Post
...for controlling the appearance of a window user interface, in particular code for userChrome.css for Firefox, Thunderbird, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, etc.
Are you talking about just changing YOUR web experience?
Modifying userChrome.css customizes ONE web browser at a time.
Did you Google "userchrome"?

When you use the term "learning CSS" the general understanding is that you want to be able to change the web experience of visitors to a particular web site or sites.

Frankly I periodically spend about ten minutes searching through my copy of Meyer's "Cascading Style Sheets; The Definitive Guide" (O'Reilly green book) then spend a couple of hours trying things.

Note that the Firefox "GreaseMonkey" extension lets you make stylistic changes to particular web sites without as detailed knowledge of CSS.
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:25 AM   #8
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Are you talking about just changing YOUR web experience? Modifying userChrome.css customizes ONE web browser at a time.
Yes.

Quote:
Frankly I periodically spend about ten minutes searching through my copy of Meyer's "Cascading Style Sheets; The Definitive Guide" (O'Reilly green book) then spend a couple of hours trying things.
I will look into Meyer's "Cascading Style Sheets; The Definitive Guide". It covers such things as menubar, menubutton, menulist, menu, menuitem, textbox, toolbar, tab-text, tree, tooltip, sidebarheader, statusbar, etc.?


Quote:
Note that the Firefox "GreaseMonkey" extension lets you make stylistic changes to particular web sites without as detailed knowledge of CSS.
I will look into the "GreaseMonkey" extension as well. Thank you for that suggestion.

   
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:57 PM   #9
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It covers such things as menubar, menubutton, menulist, menu, menuitem, textbox, toolbar, tab-text, tree, tooltip, sidebarheader, statusbar, etc.?
No - those are particular implementations.

The internal combustion engine is a component of most cars; a book on the internal combustion engine is useful when repairing either a Ford or a Chevy.

A book on repairing a Chevy is useless if you are working on a Ford.
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:34 AM   #10
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Default Situation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ Emery View Post
Well, it finally happened. I resisted as long as I could, but I have run into a situation where I have to learn CSS.
(bold added)

It seems to me that you have a particular situation or application where learning CSS, working with particular browsers, is essential to your work. Perhaps you might explain the situation.

Even after you have explained otherwise, we tend to think of (X)HTML and CSS for web sites, and not of an application done without the World Wide Web between the browser and the CSS. As web developers, that's what we do. Your situation is different, so we have some difficulty thinking about it.

Lie & Bos has the most details, and I commend it to you.
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