3 posts on CSS Transforms

Slanted tabs with CSS 3D transforms

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Not sure if I’m the first to come up with this idea, but I searched and didn’t find anything. So, for a long time, I was wondering if there’s an easy way to create trapezoid shapes in CSS, especially with borders etc. Eventually, I realized that I could use a pseudo-element for the background and 3D rotate it, so that it appears like a trapezoid. Then @krofdrakula suggested on twitter that I could even add border-radius so that it looks like a tab, so I added that as well:

Eventually I thought, why not actually turn this into a tab demo? So I made a dabblet with that. And then I realized that if you change the transform-origin, other interesting tab shapes appear! Enjoy:

The best part? It degrades pretty gracefully on browsers that don’t support transforms! You get nice rounded tabs that just aren’t slanted (although they have a pretty large top padding, but you can use Modernizr for that. Try it for yourself by commenting the transform out in the dabblet and see the result.

Another issue is that the angled lines look a bit aliased in Firefox, but that’s a bug that will eventually get fixed.

In general, it’s a bit rough around the edges, so treat it more as a proof of concept. But with a little more work, it could totally work in production. Tested in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE9 (fallback) and IE10.

Moving an element along a circle

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It all started a few months ago, when Chris Coyier casually asked me how would I move an element along a circle, without of course rotating the element itself. If I recall correctly, his solution was to use multiple keyframes, for various points on a circle’s circumference, approximating it. I couldn’t think of anything better at the time, but the question was stuck in the back of my head. 3 months ago, I came up with a first solution. Unfortunately, it required an extra wrapper element. The idea was to use two rotate transforms with different origins and opposite angles that cancel each other at any given time. The first transform-origin would be the center of the circle path and the other one the center of the element. Because we can’t use multiple transform-origins, a wrapper element was needed.

So, even though this solution was better, I wasn’t fully satisfied with it due to the need for the extra element. So, it kept being stuck in the back of my head.

Recently, I suggested to www-style that transform-origin should be a list and accept multiple origins and presented this example as a use case. And then Aryeh Gregor came up with this genius idea to prove that it’s already possible if you chain translate() transforms between the opposite rotates.

I simplified the code a bit, and here it is:

With the tools we currently have, I don’t think it gets any simpler than that.

I'm speaking at @media Web Directions ’11!

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Just a quick note to let you know I’m speaking at this year’s @media Web Directions conference, which will take place during May 26–27 in London, UK. I’m very excited about this, since I always considered @media one of the top front-end conferences in the industry :)

The title and abstract of my talk is as follows:

CSS3 at the Outer Rim

By now most of you know how to use the core CSS3 features in your designs to embed custom fonts and easily create rounded corners, drop shadows, and scalable designs with media queries. But there is still a large area of CSS3 that remains unexplored by most web designers and developers. In this talk Lea will present many CSS3 features that are useful but underrated, as well as uncommon ways of utilising the CSS3 features you already know about, in order to do much more with even fewer images and less code.

Although it’s on the design track, I expect it to appeal to both developers and designers.

You can use the coupon code WDVEROU to take £50 off the current price. ;)

Hope to see you there! :D