CSS is kicking my ass

I’ve been wanting to learn more about coding for a while. Believe me, I harbor no delusions of becoming a ninja web designer/programmer but I did want to get up to speed with basic tweaks and being more comfortable in source code. I *think* I get the very basics of HTML, but CSS? No, I’ve officially come up against CSS and been forced to back down.

Example of psd2temlates Css code

Image via Wikipedia

I probably knew just as much, if not more, about HTML 10 or so years ago. The days of geocities, and homepage.com. When I (and friends of mine) built websites for the hell of it. Oh, the days before copyright and plagiarism! Sound files, pictures, borrowed at random…I shudder to think how many rules my S Club 7 fansite violated (I grew up in the age of manufactured pop. Judge if you must). My first brush with CSS – I didn’t even know what CSS stood for then – involved me pinching the code for what was a really nifty nav bar back then – something like green text on yellow buttons, which hovered aqua. Or something equally garish. Somewhere in the haze of third year journalism, I also built another hideous site on Dreamweaver – based around TABLES, believe it or not.

But times change, and we must move on. My brilliant idea to look at other blogs’ source code and play around with them at home (tweaking my Tumblr theme got pretty old, given its simplicity) quickly hit a snag when I realised that the done thing is to link to external stylesheets – stylesheets of course being the thing I really need to focus on.

So while I toil away coding a super simple page from scratch, does anyone have any tips on how I might go about teaching myself some basic CSS?

15 thoughts on “CSS is kicking my ass

  • Reply Amanda May 23, 2011 at 15:45


    Particularly the forum!

  • Reply Insomniac Lab Rat May 23, 2011 at 16:42

    I have very limited knowledge of source code and anything to do with computers, really, so no help here…

    but I loved S Club 7 too, so no judgement either πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sense May 23, 2011 at 18:50

    EW, coding. my c++ class in college singlehandedly pushed me from the engineering profession! I know your pain. good luck. πŸ™‚

    • Reply wmwo May 25, 2011 at 06:17

      It almost did it to me too! I’m emptied out some basement boxes recently, and those C++ texts are going to book consignment!

  • Reply A-Rob May 24, 2011 at 16:33

    I love all things Sitepoint. There books tend to be pretty easy to read and the forum people are fantastic.

  • Reply First Gen American May 24, 2011 at 22:39

    You know, one of my requirements in my chemops class was to write a basic computer program. Instead of learning how, I bribed one of my Electrical Engineering buddies to write the code for me in exchange for brownies. He thought it was a really good deal. It took him like 15 minutes to do it and I would’ve probably never figured it out.

    The irony is that it’s one of the few useful things I may have actually used nowadays.

    I know your pain. Although I am very logical, I always hated learning languages and coding is the strangest foreign language out there.

  • Reply Melissa May 25, 2011 at 06:08

    Get Dreamweaver and do your design in split-screen mode. You can see the code in half and the visual in the other half. It helps tremendously in understanding CSS… πŸ™‚
    That said, I despise it too!!

  • Reply wmwo May 25, 2011 at 06:20

    Come to think if it, I think 10 years ago was about the last time I did any HTML! And I was using Dreamweaver too, lol. Oh how times have changed. I tried to make sense of the CSS code and was hopelessly lost. Good luck sorting it out, it’ll be a while before I get it figured.

  • Reply Clare - Never Niche May 25, 2011 at 07:20

    I used to know HTML too! I still -sort of- do, but not really. I built my own online journals on Geocities, Xoom, Tripod, Simplenet, and eventually my own domain between 1997 and 2001 before moving to Livejournal and eventually to Blogger. I’ve been blogging since before it was called that!

  • Reply Jessica07 May 25, 2011 at 07:36

    If you have a university near by, go check out their library. There should be quite a vast array of books you can check out (literally–haha!). πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lindy Mint May 25, 2011 at 09:56

    You are a very brave woman. I start getting a headache looking at code. But it might be my working-mom low attention span that plagues me from focusing on anything complicated.

    When my friends and I traveled in the early 2000’s, we updated our family members with an HTML website. I think I have it on disk somewhere. Those were the days!

  • Reply Mel May 31, 2011 at 10:48

    Looking at sites is a great, great way to learn. External stylesheets aren’t a problem and there are 2 easy ways to get to them:

    1) Look in the HTML for a “link” tag with a “type” of “text/css”. The “href” attribute there will be the stylesheet. Copy-paste that into your browser. Voila!
    2) If you use Chrome (or Firefox with the Firebug extension), you can easily view all the files used to load the page. Simply right-click on the page and select “Inspect Element”. A pane will appear, so to the “Network” (Chrome) or “Resources” (FF) tab, and there’ll be a list of them. You can select a file to see the content.

    An alternative is to see exactly the styles being applied to a particular element. Using Chrome or Firefox/Firebug, right-click on the element you want to look at and select “Inspect Element”. On the right of the pane, you should see all the styles being used and where they’re defined. You can also turn them off or edit them right there to see what effect it has.

    It may be more than you want, but http://www.csszengarden.com/ may be useful.

    • Reply eemusings May 31, 2011 at 10:56

      Oh my god. You are awesome! Thank you!

  • Reply Roma June 5, 2011 at 20:34

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned w3schools! http://www.w3schools.com/css/

  • Reply Link love (Powered by functional nights and goodie bags) | Musings of an Abstract Aucklander June 26, 2011 at 13:44

    […] or even picked up my guitar. I want to do everything. I also know that this is impossible. I think learning CSS will have to wait (I thought the new job was a perfect impetus to get going on that but if I have […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *