In the world of CSS, it’s not that hard to get yourself into coding chaos. Sometimes, the tech mess is a result of messy coding from the beginning. Other times, multiple changes and hacks may have caused the CSS chaos. But whatever the cause is, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
CSS may be as tricky to do as Service Now implementation, but writing clean and manageable codes is straightforward when you start on the right foot.
Write slimmer CSS codes to speed up the process by following these strategies.
The first step is to be organized. Instead of carelessly dropping in classes and ids in the order that comes to your mind, be coherent with your structure. This helps in cascading part of the code in mind, as well as gives your style sheet more advantage in terms of inheritance.
Another rule of thumb: declare the generic items first before you proceed with the non-generic ones. Doing so enables your code to properly inherit attributes, as well as make it easier to override any specific CSS style. Another bonus: you’ll be faster at editing your codes since they follow a logical and easy-to-read structure.
Always go for a structure that works best for you while keeping future edits in mind. Consider the following always:
- Links and types
- Overrides and resets
- Main layout
- Form elements
- Secondary layout structures
Keep a Template Library
Once you’ve established a structure, remove everything that is not generic and save the file as a CSS template for future use. You can save multiple versions for different uses: a blog layout, mobile layout, two-column layout, and more. OSX editor Coda has a Clips feature, which enables you to create all layouts easily. Other CSS editors have the same feature but if you want a simpler approach, a batch text of files should do the trick.
Re-writing codes from scratch are very difficult, especially when you use the same methodologies and conventions. Instead of going through coding the hard way, use a template.
Title, Date, and Sign
Inform others about the author of your CSS, when it was written, and who they should talk to if they have concerns about the code. This is helpful when using themes or design templates. Think of it as your CSS watermark or trademark.
Use Useful Naming Conventions
In the future, you may need to redesign your website, which may include moving columns from left to right and vice versa. You don’t have to rename all the elements in your HTML and rename the id in your style sheet just to switch the positions.
CSS offers the ability to separate styles from the content. You have the power to redesign your website by modifying the CSS code without changing the HTML. Take advantage of this feature by using versatile naming conventions. Also, once you use a naming convention, use it consistently.
Start by leaving style- or position-specific words out of your ids and styles. For example, a class of .link-pink will either make your website look pretty in pink or ends up with a messy style sheet that ends with the client asking to change the pink links into blue ones.
Always name your elements based on what they are, not their appearance.
Validate Your Work
Once you finish coding, don’t leave it as it is. Validate. Use W3C’s free CSS Validator just to be sure. If you’re stuck and your layout is not functioning in the way you hoped it would, the validator will point out areas for improvement.
Coding need not be a chaotic mess. If you stay organized with your ids, codes, and style sheets, your websites can run well and look well. Visual learners can go online to watch CSS tutorials or seek guidance from another expert.