Developer News

Jetpack Gutenberg Blocks

Css Tricks - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 2:47am

I remember when Gutenberg was released into core, because I was at WordCamp US that day. A number of months have gone by now, so I imagine more and more of us on WordPress sites have dipped our toes into it. I just wrote about our first foray here on CSS-Tricks and using Gutenberg to power our newsletter.

Jetpack, of course, was ahead of the game. Jetpack adds a bunch of special, powerful blocks to Gutenberg that it's easy to see how useful they can be.

Here they are, as of this writing:

Maps! Subscriptions! GIFs! There are so many good ones. Here's a look at a few more:

The form widget, I hear, is the most popular.

You get a pretty powerful form builder right within your editor:

Instant Markdown Processing

Jetpack has always enabled Markdown support for WordPress, so it's nice that there is a Markdown widget!

PayPal Selling Blocks

There is even basic eCommerce blocks, which I just love as you can imagine how empowering that could be for some folks.

You can read more about Jetpack-specific Gutenberg blocks in their releases that went out for 6.8 and 6.9. Here at CSS-Tricks, we use a bunch of Jetpack features.

The post Jetpack Gutenberg Blocks appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

A Gutenburg-Powered Newsletter

Css Tricks - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 2:42am

I like Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor. I'm not oblivious to all the conversation around accessibility, UX, and readiness, but I know how hard it is to ship software and I'm glad WordPress got it out the door. Now it can evolve for the better.

I see a lot of benefit to block-based editors. Some of my favorite editors that I use every day, Notion and Dropbox Paper, are block-based in their own ways and I find it effective. In the CMS context, even moreso. Add the fact that these aren't just souped-up text blocks, but can be anything! Every block is it's own little configurable world, outputting anything it needs to.

I'm using Gutenberg on a number of sites, including my personal site and my rambling email site, where the content is pretty basic. On a decade+ old website like CSS-Tricks though, we need to baby step it. One of our first steps was moving our newsletter authoring into a Gutenberg setup. Here's how we're doing that.

Gutenberg Ramp

Gutenberg Ramp is a plugin with the purpose of turning Gutenberg on for some areas and not for others. In our case, I wanted to turn on Gutenberg just for newsletters, which is a Custom Post Type on our site. With the plugin installed and activated, I can do this now in our functions.php:

if (function_exists('gutenberg_ramp_load_gutenberg')) { gutenberg_ramp_load_gutenberg(['post_types' => [ 'newsletters' ]]); }

Which works great:

Classic editor for posts, Gutenberg for the Newsletters Custom Post Type

We already have 100+ newsletters in there, so I was hoping to only flip on Gutenberg over a certain date or ID, but I haven't quite gotten there yet. I did open an issue.

What we were doing before: pasting in HTML email gibberish

We ultimately send out the email from MailChimp. So when we first started hand-crafting our email newsletter, we made a template in MailChimp and did our authoring right in MailChimp:

The MailChimp Editor

Nothing terrible about that, I just much prefer when we keep the clean, authored content in our own database. Even the old way, we ultimately did get it into our database, but we did it in a rather janky way. After sending out the email, we'd take the HTML output from MailChimp and copy-paste dump it into our Newsletter Custom Post Type.

That's good in a way: we have the content! But the content is so junked up we can basically never do anything with it other than display it in an <iframe> as the content is 100% bundled up in HTML email gibberish.

Now we can author cleanly in Gutenberg

I'd argue that the writing experience here is similar (MailChimp is kind of a block editor too), but nicer than doing it directly in MailChimp. It's so fast to make headers, lists, blockquotes, separators, drag and drop images... blocks that are the staple of our newsletter.

Displaying the newsletter

I like having a permanent URL for each edition of the newsletter. I like that the delivery mechanism is email primarily, but ultimately these are written words that I'd like to be a part of the site. That means if people don't like email, they can still read it. There is SEO value. I can link to them as needed. It just feels right for a site like ours that is a publication.

Now that we're authoring right on the site, I can output <?php the_content() ?> in a WordPress loop just like any other post or page and get clean output.

But... we have that "old" vs. "new" problem in that old newsletters are HTML dumps, and new newsletters are Gutenberg. Fortunately this wasn't too big of a problem, as I know exactly when the switch happened, so I can display them in different ways according to the ID. In my `single-newsletters.php`:

<?php if (get_the_ID() > 283082) { ?> <main class="single-newsletter on-light"> <article class="article-content"> <h1>CSS-Tricks Newsletter #<?php the_title(); ?></h1> <?php the_content() ?> </article> </main> <?php } else { // Classic Mailchimp HTML dump ?> <div class="newsletter-iframe-wrap"> <iframe class="newsletter-iframe" srcdoc="<?php echo htmlspecialchars(get_the_content()); ?>"></iframe> </div> <?php } ?>

At the moment, the primary way we display the newsletters is in a little faux phone UI on the newsletters page, and it handles both just fine:

Old and new newsletters display equally well, it's just the old newsletters need to be iframed and I don't have as much design control. So how do they actually get sent out?

Since we aren't creating the newsletters inside MailChimp anymore, did we have to find another way to send them out? Nope! MailChimp can send out a newsletter based on an RSS feed.

And WordPress is great at coughing up RSS feeds for Custom Post Yypes. You can do...

/feed/?post_type=your-custom-post-type

But... for us, I wanted to make sure that any of those old HTML dump emails never ended up in this RSS feed, so that the new MailChimp RSS feed would never see them an accidentally send them. So I ended up making a special Page Template that outputs a custom RSS feed. I figured that would give us ultimate control over it if we ever need it for even more things.

<?php /* Template Name: RSS Newsletterss */ the_post(); $id = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'parent_page_feed_id', true); $args = array( 'showposts' => 5, 'post_type' => 'newsletters', 'post_status' => 'publish', 'date_query' => array( array( 'after' => 'February 19th, 2019' ) ) ); $posts = query_posts($args); header('Content-Type: '.feed_content_type('rss-http').'; charset='.get_option('blog_charset'), true); echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="'.get_option('blog_charset').'"?'.'>'; ?> <rss version="2.0" xmlns:content="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/" xmlns:wfw="http://wellformedweb.org/CommentAPI/" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:sy="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/syndication/" xmlns:slash="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/slash/" <?php do_action('rss2_ns'); ?>> <channel> <title>CSS-Tricks Newsletters RSS Feed</title> <atom:link href="<?php self_link(); ?>" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" /> <link><?php bloginfo_rss('url') ?></link> <description><?php bloginfo_rss("description") ?></description> <lastBuildDate><?php echo mysql2date('D, d M Y H:i:s +0000', get_lastpostmodified('GMT'), false); ?></lastBuildDate> <language><?php echo get_option('rss_language'); ?></language> <sy:updatePeriod><?php echo apply_filters( 'rss_update_period', 'hourly' ); ?></sy:updatePeriod> <sy:updateFrequency><?php echo apply_filters( 'rss_update_frequency', '1' ); ?></sy:updateFrequency> <?php do_action('rss2_head'); ?> <?php while( have_posts()) : the_post(); ?> <item> <title><?php the_title_rss(); ?></title> <link><?php the_permalink_rss(); ?></link> <comments><?php comments_link(); ?></comments> <pubDate><?php echo mysql2date('D, d M Y H:i:s +0000', get_post_time('Y-m-d H:i:s', true), false); ?></pubDate> <dc:creator><?php the_author(); ?></dc:creator> <?php the_category_rss(); ?> <guid isPermaLink="false"><?php the_guid(); ?></guid> <description><![CDATA[<?php the_excerpt_rss(); ?>]]></description> <content:encoded><![CDATA[<?php the_content(); ?>]]></content:encoded> <wfw:commentRss><?php echo get_post_comments_feed_link(); ?></wfw:commentRss> <slash:comments><?php echo get_comments_number(); ?></slash:comments> <?php rss_enclosure(); ?> <?php do_action('rss2_item'); ?> </item> <?php endwhile; ?> </channel> </rss> Styling...

With a MailChimp RSS campaign, you still have control over the outside template like any other campaign:

But then content from the feed just kinda gets dumped in there. Fortunately, their preview tool does go grab content for you so you can actually see what it will look like:

And then you can style that by injecting a <style> block into the editor area yourself.

That gives us all the design control we need over the email, and it's nicely independent of how we might choose to style it on the site itself.

The post A Gutenburg-Powered Newsletter appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Next Genpm

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/27/2019 - 12:20pm

So many web projects use npm to pull in their dependencies, for both the front end and back. npm install and away it goes, pulling thousands of files into a node_modules folder in our projects to import/require anything. It's an important cog in the great machine of web development.

While I don't believe the npm registry has ever been meaningfully challenged, the technology around it regularly faces competition. Yarn certainly took off for a while there. Yarn had lockfiles which helped us ensure our fellow developers and environments had the exact same versions of things, which was tremendously beneficial. It also did some behind-the-scenes magic that made it very fast. Since then, npm now also has lockfiles and word on the street is it's just as fast, if not faster.

I don't know enough to advise you one way or the other, but I do find it fascinating that there is another next generation of npm puller-downer-thingies that is coming to a simmer.

  • pnpm is focused on speed and efficiency when running multiple projects: "One version of a package is saved only ever once on a disk."
  • Turbo is designed for running directly in the browser.
  • Pika's aim is that, once you've downloaded all the dependencies, you shouldn't be forced to use a bundler, and should be able to use ES6 imports if you want. UNPKG is sometimes used in this way as well, in how it gives you URLs to packages directly pulled from npm, and has an experimental ?module feature for using ES6 imports directly.
  • Even npm is in on it! tink is their take on this, eliminating even Node.js from the equation and being able to both import and require dependencies without even having a node_modules directory.

The post Next Genpm appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Better Than Native

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/27/2019 - 9:47am

Andy Bell wrote up his thoughts about the whole web versus native app debate which I think is super interesting. It was hard to make it through the post because I was nodding so aggressively as I read:

The whole idea of competing with native apps seems pretty daft to me, too. The web gives us so much for free that app developers could only dream of, like URLs and the ability to publish to the entire world for free, immediately.

[...] I believe in the web and will continue to believe that building Progressive Web Apps that embrace the web platform will be far superior to the non-inclusive walled garden that is native apps and their app stores. I just wish that others thought like that, too.

Andy also quotes Jeremy Keith making a similar claim to bolster the point:

If the goal of the web is just to compete with native, then we’ve set the bar way too low.

I entirely agree with both Andy and Jeremy. The web should not compete with native apps that are locked within a store. The web should be better in every way — it can be faster and more beautiful, have better interactions, and smoother animations. We just need to get to work.

The post Better Than Native appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Breaking CSS Custom Properties out of :root Might Be a Good Idea

Css Tricks - Wed, 03/27/2019 - 4:54am

CSS Custom Properties have been a hot topic for a while now, with tons of great articles about them, from great primers on how they work to creative tutorials to do some real magic with them. If you’ve read more than one or two articles on the topic, then I’m sure you’ve noticed that they start by setting up the custom properties on the :root about 99% of the time.

While putting custom properties on the :root is great for things that you need to be available throughout your site, there are times when it makes more sense to scope your custom properties locally.

In this article, we’ll be exploring:

  • Why we put custom properties on the :root to begin with.
  • Why global scoping isn’t right for everything.
  • How to overcome class clashing with locally scoped custom properties
What’s the deal with custom properties and :root?

Before we jump into looking at the global scope, I think it’s worth looking at why everyone sets custom properties in the :root to begin with.

I’ve been declaring custom properties on the :root without even a second thought. Pretty much everyone does it without even a mention of why — including the official specification.

When the subject of :root is actually breached, it mentions how :root is the same as html, but with higher specificity, and that’s about it.

But does that higher specificity really matter?

Not really. All it does is select html with a higher specificity, the same way a class selector has higher specificity than an element selector when selecting a div.

:root { --color: red; } html { --color: blue; } .example { background: var(--color); /* Will be red because of :root's higher specificity */ }

The main reason that :root is suggested is because CSS isn’t only used to style HTML documents. It is also used for XML and SVG files.

In the case of XML and SVG files, :root isn’t selecting the html element, but rather their root (such as the svg tag in an SVG file).

Because of this, the best practice for a globally-scoped custom property is the :root. But if you’re making a website, you can throw it on an html selector and not notice a difference.

That said, with everyone using :root, it has quickly become a “standard.” It also helps separate variables to be used later on from selectors which are actively styling the document.

Why global scope isn’t right for everything

With CSS pre-processors, like Sass and Less, most of us keep variables tucked away in a partial dedicated to them. That works great, so why should we consider locally scoping variables all of a sudden?

One reason is that some people might find themselves doing something like this.

:root { --clr-light: #ededed; --clr-dark: #333; --clr-accent: #EFF; --ff-heading: 'Roboto', sans-serif; --ff-body: 'Merriweather', serif; --fw-heading: 700; --fw-body: 300; --fs-h1: 5rem; --fs-h2: 3.25rem; --fs-h3: 2.75rem; --fs-h4: 1.75rem; --fs-body: 1.125rem; --line-height: 1.55; --font-color: var(--clr-light); --navbar-bg-color: var(--clr-dark); --navbar-logo-color: var(--clr-accent); --navbar-border: thin var(--clr-accent) solid; --navbar-font-size: .8rem; --header-color: var(--clr-accent); --header-shadow: 2px 3px 4px rgba(200,200,0,.25); --pullquote-border: 5px solid var(--clr-light); --link-fg: var(--clr-dark); --link-bg: var(--clr-light); --link-fg-hover: var(--clr-dark); --link-bg-hover: var(--clr-accent); --transition: 250ms ease-out; --shadow: 2px 5px 20px rgba(0, 0, 0, .2); --gradient: linear-gradient(60deg, red, green, blue, yellow); --button-small: .75rem; --button-default: 1rem; --button-large: 1.5rem; }

Sure, this gives us one place where we can manage styling with custom properties. But, why do we need to define my --header-color or --header-shadow in my :root? These aren’t global properties, I’m clearly using them in my header and no where else.

If it’s not a global property, why define it globally? That’s where local scoping comes into play.

Locally scoped properties in action

Let’s say we have a list to style, but our site is using an icon system — let’s say Font Awesome for simplicity’s sake. We don’t want to use the disc for our ul bullets — we want a custom icon!

If I want to switch out the bullets of an unordered list for Font Awesome icons, we can do something like this:

ul { list-style: none; } li::before { content: "\f14a"; /* checkbox */ font-family: "Font Awesome Free 5"; font-weight: 900; float: left; margin-left: -1.5em; }

While that’s super easy to do, one of the problems is that the icon becomes abstract. Unless we use Font Awesome a lot, we aren’t going to know that f14a means, let alone be able to identify it as a checkbox icon. It’s semantically meaningless.

We can help clarify things with a custom property here.

ul { --checkbox-icon: "\f14a"; list-style: none; }

This becomes a lot more practical once we start having a few different icons in play. Let’s up the complexity and say we have three different lists:

<ul class="icon-list checkbox-list"> ... </ul> <ul class="icon-list star-list"> ... </ul> <ul class="icon-list bolt-list"> ... </ul>

Then, in our CSS, we can create the custom properties for our different icons:

.icon-list { --checkbox: "\f14a"; --star: "\f005"; --bolt: "\f0e7"; list-style: none; }

The real power of having locally scoped custom properties comes when we want to actually apply the icons.

We can set content: var(--icon) on our list items:

.icon-list li::before { content: var(--icon); font-family: "Font Awesome Free 5"; font-weight: 900; float: left; margin-left: -1.5em; }

Then we can define that icon for each one of our lists with more meaningful naming:

.checkbox-list { --icon: var(--checkbox); } .star-list { --icon: var(--star); } .bolt-list { --icon: var(--bolt); }

We can step this up a notch by adding colors to the mix:

.icon-list li::before { content: var(--icon); color: var(--icon-color); /* Other styles */ } Moving icons to the global scope

If we’re working with an icon system, like Font Awesome, then I’m going to assume that we’d be using them for more than just replacing the bullets in unordered lists. As long as we're using them in more than one place it makes sense to move the icons to the :root as we want them to be available globally.

Having icons in the :root doesn’t mean we can’t still take advantage of locally scoped custom properties, though!

:root { --checkbox: "\f14a"; --star: "\f005"; --bolt: "\f0e7"; --clr-success: rgb(64, 209, 91); --clr-error: rgb(219, 138, 52); --clr-warning: rgb(206, 41, 26); } .icon-list li::before { content: var(--icon); color: var(--icon-color); /* Other styles */ } .checkbox-list { --icon: var(--checkbox); --icon-color: var(--clr-success); } .star-list { --icon: var(--star); --icon-color: var(--clr-warning); } .bolt-list { --icon: var(--bolt); --icon-color: var(--clr-error); } Adding fallbacks

We could either put in a default icon by setting it as the fallback (e.g. var(--icon, "/f1cb")), or, since we’re using the content property, we could even put in an error message var(--icon, "no icon set").

See the Pen
Custom list icons with CSS Custom Properties
by Kevin (@kevinpowell)
on CodePen.

By locally scoping the --icon and the --icon-color variables, we’ve greatly increased the readability of our code. If someone new were to come into the project, it will be a whole lot easier for them to know how it works.

This isn’t limited to Font Awesome, of course. Locally scoping custom properties also works great for an SVG icon system:

:root { --checkbox: url(../assets/img/checkbox.svg); --star: url(../assets/img/star.svg); --baby: url(../assets/img/baby.svg); } .icon-list { list-style-image: var(--icon); } .checkbox-list { --icon: checkbox; } .star-list { --icon: star; } .baby-list { --icon: baby; } Using locally scoped properties for more modular code

While the example we just looked at works well to increase the readability of our code — which is awesome — we can do a lot more with locally scoped properties.

Some people love CSS as it is; others hate working with the global scope of the cascade. I’m not here to discuss CSS-in-JS (there are enough really smart people already talking about that), but locally scoped custom properties offer us a fantastic middle ground.

By taking advantage of locally scoped custom properties, we can create very modular code that takes a lot of the pain out of trying to come up with meaningful class names.

Let’s um, scope the scenario.

Part of the reason people get frustrated with CSS is that the following markup can cause problems when we want to style something.

<div class="card"> <h2 class="title">This is a card</h2> <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit, amet consectetur adipisicing elit. Libero, totam.</p> <button class="button">More info</button> </div> <div class="cta"> <h2 class="title">This is a call to action</h2> <p>Lorem, ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipisicing elit. Aliquid eveniet fugiat ratione repellendus ex optio, ipsum modi praesentium, saepe, quibusdam rem quaerat! Accusamus, saepe beatae!</p> <button class="button">Buy now</button> </div>

If I create a style for the .title class, it will style both the elements containing the .card and .cta classes at the same time. We can use a compound selector (i.e. .card .title), but that raises the specificity which can lead to less maintainability. Or, we can take a BEM approach and rename our .title class to .card__title and .cta__title to isolate those elements a little more.

Locally scoped custom properties offer us a great solution though. We can apply them to the elements where they’ll be used:

.title { color: var(--title-clr); font-size: var(--title-fs); } .button { background: var(--button-bg); border: var(--button-border); color: var(--button-text); }

Then, we can control everything we need within their parent selectors, respectively:

.card { --title-clr: #345; --title-fs: 1.25rem; --button-border: 0; --button-bg: #333; --button-text: white; } .cta { --title-clr: #f30; --title-fs: 2.5rem; --button-border: 0; --button-bg: #333; --button-text: white; }

Chances are, there are some defaults, or commonalities, between buttons or titles even when they are in different components. For that, we could build in fallbacks, or simply style those as we usually would.

.button { /* Custom variables with default values */ border: var(--button-border, 0); /* Default: 0 */ background: var(--button-bg, #333); /* Default: #333 */ color: var(--button-text, white); /* Default: white */ /* Common styles every button will have */ padding: .5em 1.25em; text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 1px; }

We could even use calc() to add a scale to our button, which would have the potential to remove the need for .btn-sm, btn-lg type classes (or it could be built into those classes, depending on the situation).

.button { font-size: calc(var(--button-scale) * 1rem); /* Multiply `--button-scale` by `1rem` to add unit */ } .cta { --button-scale: 1.5; }

Here is a more in-depth look at all of this in action:

See the Pen
Custom list icons with CSS Custom Properties
by Kevin (@kevinpowell)
on CodePen.

Notice in that example above that I have used some generic classes, such as .title and .button, which are styled with locally scoped properties (with the help of fallbacks). With those being setup with custom properties, I can define those locally within the parent selector, effectively giving each its own style without the need of an additional selector.

I also set up some pricing cards with modifier classes on them. Using the generic .pricing class, I set everything up, and then using modifier classes, I redefined some of the properties, such as --text, and --background, without having to worry about using compound selectors or additional classes.

By working this way, it makes for very maintainable code. It’s easy to go in and change the color of a property if we need to, or even come in and create a completely new theme or style, like the rainbow variation of the pricing card in the example.

It takes a bit of foresight when initially setting everything up, but the payoff can be awesome. It might even seem counter-intuitive to how you are used to approaching styles, but next time you go to create a custom property, try keeping it defined locally if it doesn’t need to live globally, and you’ll start to see how useful it can be.

The post Breaking CSS Custom Properties out of :root Might Be a Good Idea appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

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