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New CSS3 properties added to Firefox 3.6

A couple of days ago, Mozilla released their newest version of their ever popular browser: Firefox. It was in beta before, but now version 3.6 can be officially downloaded. This version of the browser brings us a couple of improvements on several aspects, like using Personas (themes), improved (JavaScript) performance and an extended version of the CSS engine compared to the 3.5 release. Today, we're going to look at a couple of the new CSS3 properties that are added to Firefox 3.6.

New CSS3 properties added to Firefox 3.6

In this article, we'll be looking at the following properties that are now supported by Firefox 3.6: pointer-events, Using gradients and Multiple backgrounds.

Demo Demo New CSS3 properties added to Firefox 3.6   Download Demo New CSS3 properties added to Firefox 3.6

Please note that this article only aims at Firefox 3.6, using the -moz CSS prefix. Therefore, not all techniques will be visible when using any other browser (or older versions of Firefox). So let's see what the latest version of this browser has added to his CSS arsenal.



It has always bothered me that, when you place an element on top of an element, the bottom element doesn't respond to mouse events anymore. Luckily, pointer-events provide a nice solution to get around this. In short words, you can tell the top element not to catch the mouse events, but pass them on to the element that's underneath. When using transparent images, this technique can be very powerful (check out the demo).

Let's take a look at how the demo page does this:


<div class="shadow"></div>
<div class="links">
      <li><a href=""></a></li>
      <li><a href="">RSS</a></li>
      <!-- More links -->

As you can see, nothing really fancy going on here. An empty shadow element (that'll contain the image) will be placed on top of the links using CSS.


.shadow { width:800px; height:100px; background-image:url("../images/pointer-shadow.png"); position:absolute; pointer-events:none; }
.links { width:800px; height:100px; }

I removed all non-important stuff from the CSS script above. The shadow element is placed on top of the links element (using position:absolute). All the links that are placed inside that last element couldn't be clicked before, since the shadow would be catching all the mouse events. But, by setting the pointer-events to none, it acts to the mouse as if it wasn't even there! Now, you can still click and use the links.

Using gradients

Using gradients

Before, when CSS gradients weren't supported, you had to create the gradient as an image and place it in the background of an element. But since Firefox added support for gradients, this is no more needed! It'll save you bandwidth, since you don't need to create any images, but a fairly easy CSS syntax is good enough to achieve the desired effect.

On the demonstration page, you can find five boxes, each with another CSS gradient effect applied to it. Let's see how you can create these yourself:


<div class="box linear-gradient"></div>
<div class="box color-stops"></div>
<div class="box transparency"></div>
<div class="box radial"></div>
<div class="box repeating-linear"></div>

Just a couple of empty divisions is enough, just to show the effect.


.linear-gradient { background: -moz-linear-gradient(left 40deg, #340000, #B78330); }
.color-stops { background: -moz-linear-gradient(right, #340000, #B78330 70%, #FEFDA1); }
.transparency { background: -moz-linear-gradient(right, rgba(255,255,255,0), rgba(255,255,255,1)), url("../images/trans.jpg"); }
.radial { background: -moz-radial-gradient(#340000, #B78330, #FEFDA1); }
.repeating-linear { background: -moz-repeating-linear-gradient(top left -45deg, #340000, #B78330 5px, #B78330 5px, #EEE 10px); }

This is where it gets more interesting!

  • .linear-gradient - A simple linear gradient, tilted at 40 degrees. Apply a "from" and "to" colour and you're ready to go!
  • .color-stops - Next to selecting a colour, you can also tell how big the space should be the colour would have to fill. Pretty cool if you're a fan of subtle gradients.
  • .transparency - Since Firefox also supports rgba, you can make (a part of) an element transparant, by setting the opacity to 0.
  • .radial - Next to simple linear gradients, Firefox now also supports radial gradients. I'm personally not a huge fan of these, but that's just my opinion.
  • .repeating-linear - The well-known Web 2.0 "stripes" effect can now be created using only CSS. Tell the browser how it should look like and it needs to be repeated, and you're done. You can also use repeating-radial!

Pretty easy, isn't it? That'll be a great time-saver if you use gradients on your site.

Multiple backgrounds

Multiple backgrounds

First, I want to apologize for creating a pretty ugly demonstration here. This time, I didn't go for the looks, but I just wanted to show the effect of applying multiple backgrounds to one element. Yes; multiple backgrounds applied to one element! This will keep your HTML clean for any unnecessary images (that should belong in the design) and re-use of images. But how can this be achieved? Let's check it:


<div id="multiple-backgrounds"></div>

That's all we need for this example: One element where we're going to apply multiple backgrounds to!


#multiple-backgrounds {
   background: url("../images/background-2.png"), url("../images/background-3.png"), url("../images/background-1.jpg");
   background-repeat: no-repeat, repeat, repeat;
   background-position: bottom right, top left, top right; }

Just like in the previous examples, the real "magic" is in the CSS. Simply comma seperate each background that you want to apply, and you're done! Change the background-repeat and background-position properties to tell how each background image should act/be placed.

Note: All background images are visually placed in the order you set them in the CSS. In this case, background-2.png is placed on top, background-1.jpg at the bottom and background-3.png in the middle. Also, the background-repeat and background-position properties will be applied in the same order as you placed them in the background property.

Conclusion / Download

There we go: Three new great CSS3 properties that we can now apply to your website! Although gradients and multiple backgrounds were already supported by Safari and Chrome, it's still nice to see that Firefox is applying these techniques too. They all could be really useful in specific situations.

Demo Demo New CSS3 properties added to Firefox 3.6   Download Demo New CSS3 properties added to Firefox 3.6

Another addition to the CSS arsenal in Firefox 3.6 is that you can now scale your background images. I wasn't very thrilled about this, that's why I didn't add it to this article. What do you think about these newly added CSS properties? Are you happy they're added, or do you prefer another way? Please share.

Tags:  firefox css pointer-events gradients multiple backgrounds

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