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What CSS Do You Absolutely Have to Know in 2022?

What CSS Do You Absolutely Have to Know in 2022?

There may have been a time when it was possible to know most CSS properties and how they work. Those days are long-gone, at least for an old hand like me. But that sort of begs the question: what CSS do you absolutely have to know?

Plus, the display property perfectly complements writing-mode. It’s exactly what you’ll need once writing-mode has exposed you to document flow and logical directions. You’re going to need a property to either change an element’s normal flow (like changing a block element to an inline one) or start laying things out (like creating a flexible layout context) and that is where display comes into play.

Another one where I’m cheating a bit. Yes, ::before and ::after are two individual pseudo-elements, but again, I can’t imagine learning about one without the other. It’s a two-fer!

Beyond that, @media is a nice first step into the conditional qualities of CSS. Whether we’re writing a query based on the type of device thats being used (e.g., screen or print) or a when the browser’s viewport meets a certain criteria (e.g., width >= 768px), the @media syntax is incredibly useful for creating layouts that are optimized for different conditions.

Distilling CSS into a list of five must-know properties and selectors is tough, especially now that CSS more powerful today than it was, say, even five years ago. There are a number of other items I really wanted to include, like (in no particular order):

But I stand by my choices. Learning CSS is more important than memorizing a list of properties. It’s a journey and I think the five I chose carve a nice little learning path that sets the stage for writing good style rules and next steps for diving deeper into CSS.

Disagree with my list? You should! I’ll bet you have some smart opinions and I want to see what how you would have rounded out a Top 5 list.


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