Future of CSS: Content Pseudo Selector

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Before I started making use of CSS3 to create beautiful websites, I had crappy ways of getting some things done which I think some other designers also did. Since the introduction of CSS3 pseudo selectors, my life got  better. They helped me achieve decent mark-up.

Lately, I thought of making my life a lot easier by doing something even more awesome. I don’t know if it exists already or in the works, but I’ll go into details on how I came about it and I think it will be really cool.

I was disquieted by the much unnecessary mark-up used by a UI designer I worked with while playing back-end role on a project and I thought of cleaning up. There was a paragraph that required inner styles on some of it’s contents (last three words). Every normal thinker feels hunky-dory to wrap it around a span and get on but there are people who just aren’t satisfied with the normal way. I happen to be in this category of people. This is what it could have been

<p>The quick brown fox jumped <span>over the dog</span></p>

and the following style

p span{color:red;}

But I came up with this simple mark-up

<p>The quick brown fox jumped over the dog</p>

and a style like so:

p:[26:]{color: red;}

As a python programmer, I feel this should also be handled the way python strings are picked from their variables. The pseudo selector p:[26:] should pick characters from the 26th character in the element, using a cardinal numbering and it then styles it till it hits the end of the element.

To have just jumped over styled, we have to specify an end for the selection. That way we can have it this way

p:[20:30]{color: red; }

Handling possible drawbacks

If a user has a the following

<p>Foobar</p>
and does a style p:[0:8]{}, since the content doesn’t have up to 8 cardinal numbers, it breaks at the end of the closing tag still applying the style to all the characters it could pick. Also, when used on an element with inline < img > or any other inline tag, it breaks when it meets them.

Let’s make the web better for both users and coders!!

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