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What are CSS gradient and what is the cross browser compatibility solution for it?

Can someone please provide me some valueable information regarding What are CSS gradient and what is the cross browser compatibility solution for it.

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CSS gradients for background have become an indispensable aspect UI/UX design and have a massive impact on a website’s design. It plays a fundamental role in setting the design hierarchy, capturing user attention and focus, and finally defining website usability and appearance.

The common forms of backgrounds that websites employ could either be solid colors, images, gradients or a combination of all three. CSS Gradients for background empowers designers for displaying smooth transitions between numerous colors. Not only are gradients being used for header or section backgrounds but also for creating CSS Gradients for overlays, text, buttons, borders, outlines, skewed blocks and banners.

Before the advent of CSS Gradients for background, developers had no other choice but to resort to images to create such effects. However, this method had huge drawbacks that would hurt websites performance. Using large number of images especially for trivial purpose would lead to a massive spike in website loading speed and bandwidth usage. But by harnessing the power of CSS Gradients designers can ensure faster site loading time without sacrificing resolution and clarity just by using simple native functions for CSS Gradients.

What Are CSS Gradients?

The CSS gradients are realised by the use of gradient functions which create a progressive transition between multiple colors. One important requisite for using CSS gradients is that they belong to

data type and can only be applied to background-image property or shorthand “background” instead of CSS properties with

data type such as “color” or “background-color”. CSS Gradients in background have no defined intrinsic dimensions and are devoid of any specific dimension size or ratio. It simply adopts to the dimension of the element it is applied to on the fly.

CSS3 defines 4 major types of gradients.

  • Linear CSS Gradient
  • Radial CSS Gradient (also elliptical)
  • Conical CSS Gradient
  • Repeating CSS Gradient

Except Conical gradient, the other 3 types of CSS gradients i.e. Radial, Repeating, and Linear CSS Gradients enjoys good browser support with the only exception being IE 6-9 and Opera mini browser. Conical gradients is still in an experimental stage and not yet adopted by the majority of browsers including Firefox, Edge and Opera. Only the latest version of Chrome (69+) and Safari(12.1+) provide support for this feature. We will discuss browser support for these 4 types of CSS gradients in detail, we will also perform cross browser testing for figuring cross browser compatibility solutions of these CSS gradients.

1. CSS Linear Gradient

CSS Linear Gradients facilitates smooth, escalating transition between numerous colors along a straight line. You can make these transitions to move in – up, down, left, right or diagonal direction. You need to specify a minimum of 2 colors (called color-stops) to create this effect along optionally specifying the direction and start points.

Syntax For Linear CSS Gradients background-image: linear-gradient(direction, colorStop1, colorStop2, …);

  • Direction : Used to set the direction or angle of the CSS linear gradient effect. Direction can either be – top, bottom, left, right or in deg or in turn. It is optional to specify direction. Note that If direction is not specified, by default it will be set to top to bottom.
  • Color-Stops : Consists of color value followed by a start point. Start point can be in % or a length value. It is optional to define start points. Some examples of CSS linear gradient with different set of values.

Top To bottom Linear CSS Gradients

The transition in this case starts from top to bottom direction with blue color on top and ends with purple color on bottom. Specify “to bottom” direction or it will be set by default . To create a reverse bottom to top gradient, reverse the direction to “to top

<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, #3498db, #9b59b6); /*top to bottom Gradient*/
 }
 #grad2 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to top, #f1c40f, #e74c3c); /*bottom to top Gradient*/
 }
 </style>

Left To Right Linear CSS Gradients

The transition in this case starts in left to right direction with green color on left and ends with blue color on right. Specify “to right” direction or to create a reverse bottom to top gradient, reverse the direction to “to left”.

<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to right, #2ecc71, #2980b9); /*Left to Right Gradient*/
 }
 #grad2 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to left, #f1c40f, #c0392b); /*Right to Left Gradient*/
 }
 </style>

Diagonal Linear CSS Gradients

The transition in this case starts from top left to bottom right direction with green color at the top left and ends with blue color at bottom right. Specify “to bottom right” direction for this case or specify “to left bottom” to create a reverse scenario using diagonal CSS linear gradient.

<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to right bottom, #2ecc71, #2980b9); /*Top left to Right Bottom*/
 }
 #grad2 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to left bottom, #f1c40f, #c0392b); /*Top Right to Left Bottom*/
 }
 </style>

Angled Linear CSS Gradients

To create an angled CSS linear gradient, define the direction not by using to top, bottom left, right parameters. Instead specify the direction using deg – any value between 0 and 360deg.

  • 45deg will create a diagonal CSS linear gradient.
  • 0deg will create a top to bottom CSS linear gradient.
  • 90deg will create a left to right CSS linear gradient.
<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(45deg, #2ecc71, #2980b9); /*45deg*/
 }
 #grad2 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(90deg, #f1c40f, #c0392b); /*90deg*/
 }
 #grad3 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(0deg, #8e44ad, #3498db); /*0deg*/
 }
 </style>

Multiple Color

There is no limit to the number of colors that you can specify to create the gradient effect. Below example will help you create CSS gradients with 3 and 4 colors.

<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(45deg, #2ecc71, #2980b9, #8e44ad); /*45deg*/
 }
 #grad2 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to left, #f1c40f, #2ecc71, #e74c3c); /*90deg*/
 }
 #grad3 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to bottom, #1abc9c, #f1c40f, #3498db, #e74c3c); /*0deg*/
 }
 </style>

Color Stops

If color stops or starting points are not specified, the entire space of the element on which linear CSS gradients are being applied is divided equally among all the listed colors specified inside the gradient function. However, CSS allows you to change this behaviour and control how much space any color occupies by specifying its starting point either in % or in length units. In the example below we will set the starting point of yellow color (#f1c040f) to 20%. By default it would have been 0% for the first color – #e74c3c and 100% for the second color #f1c40f.

<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to right,#e74c3c,#f1c40f 10%);
 }
 </style>

Color Stop Solid transition

Instead of progressive fading effect, we can also create solid transition between two or more colors specified in the linear CSS gradients function by using starting points trick. Set the start points of both colors to the same value to achieve this effect. Refer to the example below –

<style>
 #grad1 {
 width: 25%;
 height: 100px;
 background-image: linear-gradient(to right,#1abc9c 20%,#3498db 20%);
 }
 </style>

Cross Browser Compatibility Solution For CSS Linear Gradient

All desktop browsers including Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge provide browser support for Linear CSS Gradients, meaning these CSS Gradients offer excellent cross browser compatibility. The only exception that developers need to watch out for is IE6-9 and Opera Mini for which they need to perform cross browser testing.

CanIUse Cross browser compatibility tabe for CSS Linear Gradient

As you can see in the CanIUse table above, older versions of Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Google Chrome provided partial support (browsers version marked with yellow green color). You need to use dedicated vendor prefixes for each of those legacy/older versions to make CSS linear gradients cross browser compatible. Also, we will explore the Microsoft Filer property to add gradient functionality to Microsoft Internet Explorer i.e. IE 6-9 to offer cross browser compatibility.

(more…)

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