1. Ivory Framework
IVORY is a frontend CSS framework for building responsive grids in web design. You can check out their live demo which showcases much of what can be accomplished. The codes are also completely free and open source for developers to play around with.
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2. WebInterface Lab CSS Snippets
I found this resource just a few weeks ago and it has proven to be incredibly helpful. You can find loads of pre-built CSS2/CSS3 resources all for website interfaces. Many of these items include buttons, links, navigation bars, tooltips, and loads of other goodies! The site updates frequently so be sure and check back if you like the quality.
3. Github-Style Sliding Links
If you have ever seen longer hidden anchor links on Github you will notice how they slide out to display the full text. This effect may be accomplished very quickly on your own website, and it can also be done using only CSS codes. Check out the blog post by David Walsh which explains how to build this.
Workless is a clean HTML5 and CSS3 framework for web developers. You may not enjoy having to start each project from the beginning – and coding all your header information can be a hassle. Aside from code snippets you may chose to startup with a framework such as Workless. It comes with lots of default styles for tables, links, icons, and even buttons for generic HTML markup.
5. CSS3 Checkboxes
This unique Codepen demo page includes a lot of custom CSS3 checkbox styles. This is perfect for any web developers who have been looking to update their form checkbox designs with newer CSS techniques. I personally love many of the styles included, so be sure and check the source code for snippets to include in your own projects.
6. CSS3 Pictogram Buttons
This great tutorial explains how we can make unique buttons using CSS3 gradients and also include icons related to the class name. The brief demo page is a good indicator of what we can design. This is an excellent resource for just about anybody looking to spruce up button styles.
7. One% CSS Grid
Here we have another free open source CSS grid framework for quickly scaling your own website layouts. The whole grid is fluid and based off a 12-column setup. I would highly recommend testing out their code samples to see if you can build fluid or fixed columns for your website layout.
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8. Sosa Icon Font
This newer trend by CSS designers is to include unique font faces based on icon designs. Then using the CSS3 @font-face property we can easily generate custom icons instead of loading images. These could be useful within sidebar content, navigation links, or even inside your post content.
9. Makisu 3D Menu Dropdown
You don’t often find 3-dimensional navigation menus based entirely in CSS code. But I like Makisu for its ease of use and quick installation. On their Github hosted webpage you’ll find a live demo which looks stunning. You may also dig into the source code and see how this effect can be generated through CSS properties.
10. 320 and Up
320 is one of my first CSS frameworks which I ever attempted to play around with. They have support for plenty of mobile responsive content which includes dropped navigation menus and sidebar items. Also your image/audio/video media should automatically resize within any containers. Check out their homepage and give it a shot if you’ve got the time.
11. 34 Responsive Grid System
I find the 34responsive grid system a little easier to manage if you know exactly how many columns are needed. You can quickly setup the margins/padding before downloading their prepackaged CSS library to fit into your layout perfectly. It’s a bit daunting for newcomers, but give this one a shot if you like to build layouts with a pixel-perfect finish.
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12. 1140 CSS Grid
The 1140px CSS grid is another fantastic open source library you may consider testing. 1280px width monitors are commonplace and this is the best solution for modern-day layout designs. You may also consider limiting your websites to stretch a bit smaller – and there are always options to customize the exact specifications right from within the CSS.
13. 520 Grid System
Any frequent Facebook users or developers may recognize this CSS framework. 520 is based on the Facebook grid display for creating your own custom Facebook profiles. It is currently the most popular social networking website and provides an excellent resource for marketing and interactions with fans. This CSS grid system is just one method of testing out your layout before applying the changes live on the site.
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Centurion is based on mobile responsive CSS media queries for the best transition between desktop and smartphone. Web developers who are not familiar with responsive techniques may find this CSS library a bit confusing to work with. However their grid system is phenomenal and supports almost any screen resolution.
15. Profound Grid
What I like so much about Profound Grid is how you can easily switch between fluid and fixed layouts. There are basic settings included within the library for coding your document’s width, number of columns, and the gutter margins. Also the website documentation is very easy to follow and the class/ID names make sense as you’re going back into the code.
The Pondasee Github page includes all of the resources you’ll need for building a simple frontend CSS design kit. The whole library is built using SCSS and Compass which allows for processing of dynamic CSS data. The internal components include jQuery, Normalize, Modernizr, HTML5 Boilerplate, along with a handful of other tools.
Speaking of Normalize I want to bridge this into the CSS resources list as well. Normalize is a modern library for developers looking to move away from the traditional CSS resets. Many of the typical browser elements such as forms and headers are pre-formatted with generic styles and mirrored for display in all browsers. This allows you to start designing from a blank slate and produce perfect results across the board.
There are plenty of online coding apps for web developers which allow for inline editing to save & share code snippets. CSSDeck is one such tool which also includes a featured gallery of small HTML/CSS/JS code snippets. Developers will create frontend interfaces and offer the codes for free in their gallery! You can find some very interesting samples on the front page, and it’s a fun showcase to browse when looking for inspiration.
19. Bear CSS
This is another free webapp resource which may not hold much value for everybody. However the purpose is to generate a blank CSS stylesheet which contains all the classes and IDs found inside a single HTML document. Simply upload a webpage written in HTML or XHTML and Bear CSS will return a new stylesheet preformatted with all the related element targets.
20. CSS Transitions
I am a big fan of Codrops and love many of their published works. One tutorial in particular focuses on CSS3 transitions fitted inside a website layout. It is possible now to create your own multi-paged website and transition between content using only CSS3 animations. Check out the live demo to get a taste of what I’m talking about.
21. Animated CSS3 Web Banners
This is quite possibly another favorite tutorial by Codrops which illustrates the brilliance of CSS3. You can build your own advertising banners with CSS3 animations that work in all standards-compliant browsers. This technique may be annoying in some websites – but if you can pull it off the customization could generally lead towards much higher CTR in the long-term.
22. Polaroid Images
When discussing images I have to recommend this great tutorial on CSS3 image framing. Here you can build a custom CSS class which appends a white background and dark drop shadows behind any image element. This appears to look like an old-fashioned polaroid photograph, along with image captions and possible rotation as well. Take a peek at their demo page to see the full effect in action.
23. Google+ UI Buttons
Once Google+ initially launched there was a big difference in reviews of critics. However their general layout style has always been minimalist and brilliant in comparison with other social networks. Bruce Galpin has created a clone UI and released the open source codes on Github. This is a beautiful set of user interface elements for designers looking to create a simple aesthetic effect. The live demo page offers a full showcase of what is included in the design kit.
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24. Responsive Patterns
This Github resource is new to me and provides such a detailed level of non-official documentation for mobile web designers. These design patterns are all related to responsive website layouts and how you may want to manage a particular project. The patterns focus on topics such as responsive navigation, images, tables, forms, and other common web elements.
SpritePad is an online webapp resource for generating sprite sheets to be used in CSS. These sprites are often common interface objects such as navigation menus, sidebar links, icons, footer columns, etc. Generating custom sprites in Photoshop can be a hassle but this unique webapp interface works perfectly – and you can do it from any computer.
26. CSS3 Button UI
The Geekeries CSS3 buttons class is a great starting point for designers looking for a quick solution in smaller web layouts. You do not always need to build heavily customized CSS buttons, and these glossy effects are just perfect for any typical webpage. I would recommend for any curious developer to check out their page and see these buttons in action.
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How many times have you been writing CSS3 codes and needed to go back filling in the various prefixes? Mozilla, Opera, Webkit, and possibly Microsoft IE all have their own proprietary prefixes for many CSS3 properties. The free webapp Prefixr allows you to copy over a snippet of CSS3 and it will automatically fill in all the appropriate prefixes as needed. Talk about a seriously helpful webapp!
I would consider Animate.css as an alternative to the popular jQueryUI library. This CSS-only document allows for quick and painless CSS3 animation effects which behave properly in all modern browsers. The homepage features many smaller demos which you can test out and see how these effects work.
There are some cases of websites where you simply do not care about printed media. However there will always be users who are interested in keeping a physical copy of your article or webpage. Adding the print.css library into your webpage will force a typical print-style effect over pages which are printed. This will strip many of the colors and distractions from the screen to clean up and offer a nice, simple webpage for white printer-paper quality.
30. Zocial Buttons
I have seen a lot of custom CSS icons in the past, but Zocial is definitely one of my favorites. The buttons are created over a SASS framework which is helpful when trying to churn out codes using multiple social media websites. The buttons also feature icons and custom color codes which match the same branding. Check out their website to learn a bit more about the library.
I do hope this showcase of CSS resources may prove useful to at least a few developers. I can’t say that I have found a proper use for everything in this list, but I’ve toyed around with all of the resources and this list includes a few of my favorites. CSS2 and more recently CSS3 has dramatically changed the way designers make websites in a very positive light.
It is nice to see more developers jumping onto the open source bandwagon and supporting the freedom of web collaboration. As the W3C pushes out further specifications I am hoping the models around CSS will become more ubiquitous within all web browsers. Working to support all user environments can be a hassle – but it’s also the mark of a truly skilled web developer. If you have any questions or ideas on these CSS resources feel free to share with us in the post discussion area.