Month: September 2011

New Portal Page for my Dev Experiments

Due to the growing popularity of the tips and tricks series on my blog, I  created a special secion on the Acid.JS Web UI website that will be used as a portal to all of the live examples of the experiments I write about. Here’s the link.

Enjoy your time there and feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments.


CSS3 Treeview. No JavaScript.

Try Semtex – the new HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript UI framework!

NOTE: You may want to check the new version of the treeview with added support for nested nodes selection and updated look and feel.

Can you believe that the treeview on the image below does not use any JavaScript, but relies only on CSS3?

Go to the live example

CSS3 Treeview. No JavaScript.

Today I’m going to show you a really easy and absolutely JavaScript-less solution for creating multi-level treeviews with minimal markup and with the power of CSS3. Basically what we need is a simple list:

<div class="css-treeview">

… With any number of nested items and subtrees. Each item that is going to be a container of a subtree should be supplied with a label and a checkbox.

Normal (non-clickable) item:

<li><a href="./">item</a></li>
<li><a href="./">item</a></li>

Expandable (clickable) submenu item:

<li><input type="checkbox" id="item-0" /><label for="item-0">folder</label>
        <li><input type="checkbox" id="item-0-0" /><label for="item-0-0">folder</label>
                <li><input type="checkbox" id="item-0-0-0" /><label for="item-0-0-0">folder</label>
                        <li><a href="./">item</a></li>
                        <li><a href="./">item</a></li>
                        <li><a href="./">item</a></li>
                        <li><a href="./">item</a></li>

Making it work is pretty simple and straightforward. All we need is to query the normal and :checked states of the checkboxes and set the adjacent <ul /> element to visible or hidden in the stylesheet:

Unchecked checkbox:

.css-treeview input + label + ul
    display: none;

Selected checkbox:

.css-treeview input:checked + label + ul
    display: block;

For aesthetic purposes we hide the checkboxes like this:

.css-treeview input
    position: absolute;
    opacity: 0;

It is recommended to hide the checkbox with position/opacity rather than with display: none, otherwise you will have problems with certain browsers.

If your treeview is going to contain disabled subtrees, you can utilize the :not() selector, so disabled items with submenus will not be clickable:

.css-treeview input:checked:not(:disabled) + label + ul
    display: block;

The visual representation of the disabled items can be accomplished by changing the opacity and the cursor of the label element:

.css-treeview input:disabled + label
    cursor: default; /* or no-drop */
    opacity: .6;

Finally, for the +/- buttons on the left, we can use generated content with the :before pseudo element:

.css-treeview label,
.css-treeview label::before
    background: url("icons.png") no-repeat;

.css-treeview label::before
    content: "";
    width: 16px;
    margin: 0 22px 0 0;
    vertical-align: middle;
    background-position: 0 -32px;

.css-treeview input:checked + label::before
    background-position: 0 -16px;

All of the icons that have been used in the example are in the icons.png sprite. The solution will work with any browser supporting the adjacent element selector (E + E) and the attribute selectors of CSS3. Do not forget that the values of the for/id attribute pairs for the label and checkbox elements should be unique, otherwise the treeview will not work. Tab/Spacebar navigation is supported natively. The demo is availble on this page, or you can download it straight away from this link.

Of course this is just the basic concept that you can use for inspiration. A few ideas that can bring you even further:

– By adding the disabled attribute to a checkbox in your markup, the nested subtree will become expanded by default.
– You can use the cool CSS3 transitions to achieve cool behaviors.
– You can use additional classes to display different “folder” items.
– You can use :hover in order to show the pluses and minuse only when the treeview is hovered.
– You can use an additional class name that will show the pluses and minuses only when applied.
– You can use the attribute selectors to display different icons for each normal item according to the extension in the href attribute, for example:

li a[href$=".js"]
    background: url("js.png") no-repeat center;

li a[href$=".css"]
    background: url("css.png") no-repeat center;

This solution works with all modern browsers and Internet Explorer 9+. If you are interested in purchasing a JavaScript enabler for IE8 for the CSS3 Treeview, please, click here.

View the demo and find more experiments here.

Related Posts

HTML5 Guitar Chord Finder (Beta) Released

GuitarChords.JS is the result of a fun experiment with CSS3, HTML5 and JavaScript that eventually went crazy with the ability to play the selected chord (no Flash, but real HTML5 audio), chord inversions and types and cool real-life stompbox interface with customizable LED display, knobs, buttons and large play button.

GuitarChords.JS - HTML5 Chord Finder and Player


And this is just the Beta release! Even more to come in the official release soon.

BETA Release Features:

  • Ability to play the current chord from small external .mp3 or .ogg sounds (no Flash, but real HTML5 audio) depending on the browser support.
  • Cool and friendly stompbox-like interface with LED display, knobs and large play button.
  • Chord data is stored in easy to understand json file(s) that can be easily edited.
  • User-defined chords data files.
  • User-defined chord types.
  • Any chord can be added and played.
  • Sounds are loaded on demand.
  • Incredibly small footprint.
  • Ability to display 3 inversions for each chord.
  • Customizable backlit color of the LED display.
  • Fully localizable.
  • Easy to install, setup and use on any standards-compliant website.
  • Fully AJAX driven.

Planned Features for the Official Release

  • Support for multiple chord data files that can be changed on the fly.
  • Add more chords and inversions.
  • Add flat and sharp variants of the current chord.
  • All sounds will be embedded as base64-encoded data in a cacheable json file.
  • Convenient tuner.
  • Volume control.
  • Continuous chord playing.
  • Highlighting of the currently played note.
  • UI improvements.
  • Export of the current chord in text format.

Supported Browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9+
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Apple Safari
  • Opera

GuitarChords.JS does not initialize on older versions of Internet Explorer.

Technologies Used:

JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5 Audio, JSON and SVG. SVG has been used in Internet Explorer to achieve consistent gradients instead of using the classic filter gradient that bleeds through on elements with rounded borders.


  • Standards-compliant webpage (XHTML, HTML5) or optionally Skinny DTD. GuitarChords.JS will not initialize on pages with non-standards compliant DTDs and will display a warning.
  • Web server.


Visit the info page for GuitarChords.JS, view the demo or download it straight away. The component is included in the latest version of Acid.JS Web UI too.