2 posts on box-shadow

iPhone keyboard with CSS3 -- no images

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Yeap, this is yet another of those things that make no practical sense but are fun to make just to see whether it can actually be done. It’s also a proof of the fact that when I have too many things to do, I tend to procrastinate more. :P

Here it is (resize the window to get the narrow version ;)):


It should look correct in Firefox 3.6, Chrome 4 and Safari 4. It looks best on Firefox 3.6 due to it’s ability to render subpixel distances, whereas other browsers just round everything to the closest pixel. It also looks best in computers with Helvetica installed (it’s installed by default on macs btw) but it should look sufficiently OK with Arial too, since it’s a rip-off of Helvetica ;) (the only problem with Arial is that the line-height of the buttons with the symbols will be slightly different since the custom font’s measurements are based on Helvetica Bold) Also, ironically, it doesn’t look ok in the iPhone!

For those of you that don’t use one of the aforementioned browsers as your primary and are way too bored to switch (or don’t even have them installed (!)), here are two screenshots from Firefox 3.6 (nicely cropped to only contain the keyboard):

Screenshot of the wide version
Screenshot of the narrow version

As for how it’s done, as you can easily see, most of it is run-of-the-mill for someone with a decent grasp on CSS3: media queries, CSS gradients, shadows, border-radiuses and RGBA. The only tricky part is the symbols for shift, backspace and international. I have to admit I cheated a bit here: I didn’t use images, but I used @font-face with a custom font that just contains these 3 symbols. The reasons behind that are that this way I wouldn’t have to create 2 versions of the symbols (light and dark, for pressed and normal states respectively) and that they are vector, so they scale (try zooming in).

Please note that there’s no functionality attached to it. It’s just an interface. I wasn’t interested at making an on-screen keyboard in general, I was just interested to see if a keyboard visually identical to iPhone’s is possible with CSS alone. If someone wants to actually use it and/or develop it further, you’re free to do so, as long as you keep the comment at the start of the css file. ;)

An interesting discussion about this could be “What would be the ideal markup to semantically style a keyboard?”. Personally, I just paid attention to the more pragmatic objectives of making the keys focusable, and keeping the complexity of the DOM tree to a minimum, so you might find it semantically wrong (I used a

    for the container,
  • s for the rows and
Original, Font Face, box-shadow, CSS Gradients, CSS, IPhone, Media Queries, Text Shadow, User Interfaces In CSS
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Bevels in CSS3

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Yeah, yeah I know, bevels are soooo 1996. And I agree. However, it’s always good to know the capabilities of your tools. Talented designers will know when it’s suitable to use a certain effect and incapable ones will abuse whatever is given to them, so after a lot of thought, I decided to blog about my discovery.

Even though not directly mentioned in the spec, CSS3 is capable of easily creating a bevel effect on any element. Moreover, if the element has rounded corners, the bevel follows that as well. Before explaining the technique, let’s think about how a bevel actually gets drawn. It’s essentially two inner shadows, that when combined, create the illusion of a 3d appearance: a light one from the top left corner and a dark one from the bottom right corner. CSS3 includes the ability to create inner shadows, if you specify the keyword “inset” in the box-shadow declaration (currently only supported by Firefox 3.5). Moreover, the CSS3 spec allows for multiple box shadows on the same elements.

Now, let’s examine an example (only works in Firefox 3.5):

button { background:#f16; color:white; padding:6px 12px 8px 12px; border:none; font-size:18px; -moz-border-radius:10px; -moz-box-shadow: -2px -2px 10px rgba(0,0,0,.25) inset, 2px 2px 10px white inset; }

which produces this result:


If we want, we can also create a “pressed” button state, in a similar fashion:

button:active { -moz-box-shadow: 2px 2px 10px rgba(0,0,0,.25) inset, -2px -2px 10px white inset; padding:7px 11px 7px 13px; }


which produces this pressed state:


See it in action here (only for Firefox 3.5): http://lea.verou.me/demos/css3bevel.html

Of course, if implemented in a real world website, you should also add the -webkit- and -o- CSS3 properties to provide a closer effect for the other browsers and be ready for the time when the ones that aren’t implemented yet in them will finally make it (for instance, when Webkit implements inset box shadows, it will work in it as well).

Enjoy responsibly. :-)