CSS 101: Tools, Tutorials and Resources to Master CSS

CSS tools tutorials and useful resources

Cascading style sheets or CSS is the heart of web design. Anyone looking to build a career in web design or apps design needs to understand the depths of CSS and related technologies. Learning becomes easy if there is availability of good tools, tutorials, examples and well written documentation.

If you are looking for great CSS3 tutorials or tools to take your CSS skills or design workflow to the next level, then the good news is that there is no dearth of free CSS / CSS3 tutorials, tools and resources out there in the wild that can help you learn the basics and master the advanced features of CSS3 within no time, all the while taking your web design workflow to the next level. 

Mastering the art of frontend design takes effort, time and creativity, but again, we have many great learning guides and tools created by the web design experts.

In an attempt to make learning easy, we have compiled a list of CSS learning resources that include useful CSS tools, tutorials, Examples, cheat sheets and expert blogs to get you from 0-100, with style.

We will start with a list of useful CSS tools but you can always jump straight (following the bookmark) to any of the below sections that interests you the most - 

  - Useful CSS Tools

  - CSS / CSS3 Tutorials

  - CSS / CSS3 Examples

  - CSS / CSS3 Cheat Sheets

  - Influential CSS / CSS3 Blogs

  - CSS / CSS3 Editors

Useful CSS Tools

Clean, Beautify and Optimize CSS -  Coding CSS is half the work done, producing clean, beautiful and minified CSS for optimal performance and better readability is equally important. There are many tools that help you auto clean, beautify and minify CSS. Given below are some of those that do the job well - 

Cleancss.com - Cleancss is one of the best tools to format, minify, beautify and compress your css files. Use this tool to generate more readable CSS and for enhanced website performance. 

Procssor - Another tool to clean up and organize the CSS, specifically useful to generate neat, pretty and awesome CSS in projects where multiple people contribute. 

Dirtymarkup - Come with your dirty code and take away the cleaned up markup. It is web based tool to clean up the dirty markup.

Cssminifier.com - CSS minifier is one of the most elegant tools for optimizing and compressing your css files, it also provides an API and plugins for many css editors to do the job right their where you work.

Csscompressor.com - This one is quick, easy and free tool to compress CSS files. It offers four levels of compression, the more you compress the less legible the CSS code becomes.

CSSTidy - CSSTidy is open source tool to parse and optimize css files. you can install csstidy on windows, linux or OSX.

TopCoat - The #1 goal for topcoat is to deliver high performing web apps. It is developed by Adobe and contains many ready to use css components to make your web app design workflow a real breeze. It is open source and can be customized as per the needs

CSSShrink  - Tool to minify your CSSS, you can fork it out on Github and install with npm directly. This is open source tool and going good as of now with a decent community of designers following it.

Other CSS Tools - There are many other CSS tools and resources that will save you time and give better insight into the what you have coded and what you are planning to code. Given below is list of tools that take you a step closer to CSS enlightenment - 

CSS Stats - This one is interesting tool, you can enter any URL and find out the stats around the css used on the webpage. Stats include number of rules, number of properties, font sizes, float, width, height, unique colors used, background etc. to name a few.

CSS Reference - From the house of Codrops, this one is comprehensive reference to all the important properties and basic information to learn CSS from beginning.

CSS3 Browser Support Check - CSS3 browser support can be checked using this quick table provided by w3schools.com for all CSS3 properties. This is one place which is almost always updated and is reliable. 

CSS Validator - It is always a good practice to validate you CSS for the any flaws, errors or misses. W3C’s css validator is the place to go for that, it is developed with the help of Mozilla foundation and is supported by the community.

CSS3 Tutorial and Learning Resources: Free Websites

Great Collection of CSS3 Tutorials and Techniques by Speckyboy.com - Are you looking for CSS3 Tutorial to achieve specific design task. Here is a great collection of tutorials focused on specific design problems like CSS3 animation menus, CSS3 animated buttons, circle navigation effects etc., to name a few.

CSS3 Video Tutorials by LevelUpTuts - Looking for a CSS3 video tutorial. LevelUpTuts hosts series of CSS3 video tutorials covering text shadows, box shadows, CSS3, Gradients, use of web fonts, animations and other features.

Awesome CSS3 features that you can use now by tutorialzine.com - This is one of the good articles to understand the working of latest and greatest of CSS3 features.

CSS Guides - Htmldog (the website) has put together multiple CSS guides and covers beginners, intermediate and advanced level CSS features.

CSS Tutorials by TutorialsPoint.com - Simple and easy learning by following step by step instructions is the philosophy here. You can also download CSS pdf tutorial at tutorialspoint and participate in discussions group.

CSS3 Tutorials and Techniques - Here is collection of 45 useful CSS3 tutorials and techniques from around the web by 1stwebdesigner.com.

CSS Practice Examples by TutorialsRepublic - This is more like TutorialsPoint and includes CSS3 practice examples for hands on experience.

Basic CSS / CSS3 Learning - W3Schools is a great place to find collection of CSS learning resources. There are many CSS examples for quick learning. They also host quiz and provide certificate to the learners. You can try the examples CSS code online in the browser based CSS editor.

CSS3 Mastery by TutsPlus.com - TutsPlus hosts series of CSS tutorials for mastering the specific aspects of CSS.

Collection of CSS3 Examples - Here is another collection of 300 more CSS3 Examples and Tutorials from Sanwebe.com.

CSS3 Learning Guide From the Mozilla Developer Network - MDN network provides well organized CSS3 learning guides, beginners can learn the basics and intermediate level folks can learn about the workings of new enhancements in CSS3.

Handpicked Collection of CSS Video Tutorials - With this handpicked collection of 15 CSS tutorials, you can learn the basics as well as new tricks.

CSS Cheat Sheets

Cheat sheet is a very handy tool when learning anything new. CSS3 came up with many new selectors and a quick reference in the form of cheat sheet can be quite useful. Given below are some of the best css cheat sheets floating around in the wild.

CSS3 Cheat Sheet By SmashingMagazine - It covers all the main features of CSS3 in a printable format. You can print or download CSS cheat sheet pdf.

CSS3 Animation Cheat Sheet - If your main focus is CSS3 animations, this is the cheat sheet for you.

Flexbox Cheatsheet by Jonibologna.com - Flexbox is the new age CSS formula for creating grid layouts with ease. Here is the comprehensive cheat sheet for everything flexbox.

Ultimate Flexbox Cheatsheet by sketchingwithcss.com - A bit more comprehensive and complete Flexbox cheat sheet than the previous one. Read it online or download the PDF.

CSS3 Cheat Sheet by WebsiteSetup.org - Another CSS3 cheat sheet, you can download a pdf copy or the .jpg format, free of cost.

Influential CSS Blogs Worth Following

Your journey from a novice web designer to expert web designer can not be complete without following the notes of the experts. Here are some of the best web design blogs that focus specifically on the use of CSS to solve complex web design problems.

CSS-Tricks.com - CSS-tricks is indisputable the best blog as of date on CSS tips, tricks and code snippets. It is run by maintained by Chris Coyer and some of his fellow friends.

CallMeNick.com - This is another useful website to check out css tutorials, I would say, one of the best if you are looking at handy code snippets to solve common CSS or JavaScript problems. This one is created and maintained by web design enthusiast Nick Salloum.

CodyHouse.co - Maintained by Amber Creative and fantastic is what you can call it once you browse through some of the articles on CodyHouse.co. You get to see fully functional demos along with CSS code and step by step explanation alongside. 

CSS Examples

There are two parts to it, code snippets and fully functional working examples. Given below are best of the links where you can check out code snippets for CSS3 properties as well as check out the excellent CSS demos, running live.

Beutiful CSS Animation Examples - We know codepen is the live CSS code editor and designers love to create and showcase their CSS magic on codepen, tutplus has collected 15 beutiful CSS animation examples created on codepen by various CSS artists.

CSS Properties and Selectors Code Samples -  Check this out for detailed explanation of CSS/CSS3 properties along with code samples. 

CSS Examples - CreativeBloq has listed 49 websites that use CSS/ advanced properties. This link is worth checking out if you want to see CSS magic live in action.

CSS Examples with Code Snippets  - CSS code examples listed by categories, this one is amazing collection of CSS code snippets and has the code editor for you to run the code for live previews, in the browser. It contains basic CSS code snippets like opacity, pseudo classes, gradients as well as code snippets for CSS3 advanced features like 2d transforms, 3d transforms, animations, transitions, and multi column layouts etc.

Fully Functional Design Elements in CSS - You will not find a collection bigger than this, for free. It contains working CSS code for fully functional design elements like menus, image caption effects, slide up tabs, liquid layouts and everything else CSS.

CSS Editors

There are many CSS editors available that do the job well. Given below are links to reviews on CSS editors written by industry experts to help you nail down the CSS Editor that suits your needs.

CSS Editor Reviews by Designmodo - Designmodo has listed down the 10 of the best professional Free CSS editors for web designers.

Top CSS Editors Reviewed by Hongkiat - Here you get comprehensive reviews on top 11 CSS Editors by Hongkiat.com. The article is slightly dated but the editors mentioned here are worth checking out.

Recent article on CSS Editors by CSSFiles.com - Here is an upto date article from cssfiles, the list of css editors is most recent and all the editors mentioned here are good in one or the other way.

List of 10 CSS Editors by Awwwards.com - Here is another great compilation of the wonderful CSS editors by awwwards.com.

CSS Editors Reviewed for Mac users by Appstorm.net - A list of best CSS editors for Mac users by appstorm.net. All these editors can be installed on Mac, the windows version too is available for most of these.

Final Thoughts

Learning CSS is always fun but mastering css needs hard work, persistence, creativity and innovation. The collection of CSS tools, useful resources and tutorials here is meant to familiarize every CSS enthusiast with the powers and magic of CSS.

If you have any comments or further queries, please do write back using contact form, if you like this article, then please tweet or share on Facebook and spread the knowledge across. Do suggest any other great resources and tutorials via comments form given below.

About The Author: noeticsunil

Sunil is the founder and contributing editor at noeticforce.com. He writes about anything and everything that makes modern mobile apps, web apps and websites possible. Passionate about coding in any language including Python, Swift, JavaScript, PHP, Java, Android & iOS dev, not excluding CSS/HTML. 

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