If you have tried to design a website yourself before, or even just surfed the Internet, you would have come across Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). If you are acquainted with Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML), you would definitely have heard of it, although it is a fairly new web design language to a web designer. In this article I will talk about what is it exactly, a brief history, and the advantages of using it.
What is CSS?
Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS as it is commonly known, is a web designing language used to define the presentation of a HTML file. It is commonly used to define, design and control colors, fonts, and layout, amongst other HTML page properties. It is used primarily to distinguish website design from website content, making it easier to control and change the presentation of web pages.
Different web browsers made view consistency difficult; hence the World Wide Consortium (W3C) started working on a new style sheet to control visual presentation of web content. The first version of CSS, CSS1, was completed in 1996. However, only limited support for it was available. In 2000, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5 was released, with full support integrated.
Currently, most browsers support style sheets fully. There are, however, a few discrepancies in how each browser interprets certain its properties, but these have been solved with hacks and workarounds. For example, Ablewise.com Free Classifieds has customized their layouts with style sheets so that it works seamlessly with all major browsers.
Advantages of using CSS
CSS layouts are known for their flexibility. It is possible to make columns and rows adjust accordingly with users’ screen resolution. HTML layouts which were previously highly complex are easily achieved with style sheets. It is able to position layers relatively and absolutely. The more HTML tags present in a page, the longer it takes to load. CSS only contains DIV tags. It is easier to edit the website’s design without any trouble; all that is needed is to edit the definitions in the style sheet file. This is very much easier than sorting through the entire page’s HTML code and finding that small part which must be changed.
Do keep in mind, however, that even though it is not really difficult to pickup, it still requires some understanding and expertise to use it correctly and customize your website’s look to your satisfaction.