Relative Unit Based Media Queries

Based on the standard browser font-size of 16px, the following media query to have an affect on screens 160 pixels wide and up.

@media only screen and ( min-width : 10em ) {
  html {
    background-color: #ddd;

Now, I would expect adding the following code would cause the media query above to have an affect on screens 320 pixels wide and up.

html {
  font-size: 2em;
Categorized as Code Tagged

Minimum Page, A CSS Base

We decided to release Soupgiant‘s CSS base to the world at large. You can find it at

Minimum Page comes from a frustration with CSS resets and bases. Ripping down the styling only to rebuild many of the same styles is unnecessary, especially for defaults common to all browsers.

To encourage people to consider the code they insert in their site, the styles aren’t provided in a minimised form. Developers should edit the original base to make generic, site wide changes.

It’s exactly what we use to start all of our CSS at Soupgiant. We think it’s important to share.

Categorized as Code Tagged

!important is Important

The !important declaration has really bad reputation, and deservedly so. As is often the way, this reputation results from abuse rather an inherent problem with the property itself. An example of its abuse might be:

#nav {
  float: none !important;
  /* where did I float this? */
/* ...jumble of code... */
ul#nav {
    float: left;

There are, however, instances where the !important declaration is the best tool for the job.

Selectivizr with CSS on a sub-domain

Updating a WordPress starter theme recently (among other things I was porting it to HTML5), I needed to decide which shims and/or polyfills to use. I starterd with Remy Sharp’s HTML5 enabling script but another to consider was Selectivizr to improve IE‘s support of CSS3 selectors.

One of the disadvantages of using Selectivizr is it rules out using a CDN for one’s style sheets. To quote their site:

Style sheets MUST be hosted on the same domain as the page due to browser security restrictions. Likewise, style sheets loaded using the file: protocol will not work.

After umming and ahhing for a couple of days, the following solution involving conditional comments, occurred to me:

<!--[if gte IE 9]><!-->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css">

<!--[if lte IE 8]>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/styles.css" type="text/css">

With a few lines of conditional comments, browsers supporting the relevant selectors natively can take advantage of the performance boost from a CDN while developers can take advantage of the advanced selector support provided by Selectivizr for IE<9 users.

I’ve set up a quick demonstration in which three paragraphs have different ARIA roles – featured, unfeatured and neverfeatured – different styles are applied to each paragraph using [role=something]. The demo renders fully in: IE 6-9beta, Firefox (Win & Mac), Chrome (Mac), Safari (Mac), and Opera (Mac).