does CSS stand for?
Cascading Style Sheets
What is CSS?
Cascading Style Sheets are a means to separate
the presentation from the structural markup of a Web site.
By using a CSS you have the ability to keep the structure
of your document lean and fast, while completely maintaining
the control over the appearance of the site.
CSS allows you to decide what font size
and color you want to use for the site and change the details
at will. For example, if you do not use CSS the appearance
of the website may differ from one user to another, that
is due to the various browser settings.
Why use CSS?
Every website should
have a CSS! Let us use an example to illustrate this: you
create a 30-page website
with blue font throughout the site; 3 months later the client
decides to use an orange font. If the site was not built
using a CSS this process would turn out to be quite time
consuming as you would have to go through each individual
pages to change the font’s color, sometimes each individual
section. On the other hand, with CSS, all you have to do
is specify that the font is to be orange, and it will take
effect on all pages, instantly.
Use a single style sheet for all the pages
of your site, or possibly a few coordinated ones if you have
pages with very different needs, like for example a site
combining technical documentation and marketing pages. One
of the main benefits of style sheets is that it ensures visual
continuity as the user navigates through the site.
The Web is not WYSIWYG, that is because
of the variability in supported platforms. However, Web stylesheets
are cascading, meaning that they merged with the user's browser
configuration to create the intended presentation. Using
a CSS can make the difference between a site that is an eyesore
and one that is like candy for the eyes.
CSS is a powerful, flexible way to specify
HTML formatting. It lets you separate the style and layout
of your HTML files from their content, allowing you to control
the layout, e.g. fonts, colors, leading, margins, typefaces,
and several other aspects of style, without even compromising
When should I use CCS?
As a developer this means that the information
in your Web site should go into your HTML files, but HTML
files should not contain information about how that information
is displayed. And you've probably guessed by now that this
information is contained into the CSS files.
With CSS, you can decide how headings should
appear, and only enter that information once. Every heading
in every page that is linked to this style sheet now has
that appearance. Want to make every heading of level 3 more
obviously different from those of level 2? Edit the style
sheet, and every such heading now has the improved appearance.
Calculate how many hours of work (and potential errors) you
have just saved.
Another major advantage involves the management
of large, sophisticated sites. With cascading style sheets,
whole organizations can share a small number of style sheets,
ensuring consistency across the site without the need for
constant updating and editing to accommodate changes.
Is CSS complicated to use?
CSS is for those who have a fair understanding
of the process of Web-page development, either hand coding
using HTML, or using a visual tool such as Dreamweaver MX,
GoLive, FrontPage or other such tools. A good working knowledge
of HTML at a code level will come in handy at times.
Which programs offers CSS?
Almost all Web editors offer CSS, like Adobe
GoLive, Dreamweaver, Topstyle pro, Stylemaster, Style Studio
and many more. You can also hand code it with any text editor
and name it with a .css extension.
Are there compatibility issues with CSS?
At first, CSS only
really worked at all in Netscape Navigator 4.0x and 4.5
and Internet Explorer
3 (a little), 4, 4.5 and 5. In the early days, this was considered
to be a real issue. Developers felt that they had to develop
for all those users still using "pre-CSS" browsers,
so they avoided style sheets altogether. As we all know,
the percentage of Web users who use a recent or even the
latest version of a browser is always increasing. So what
was almost unused one year ago is widely used today. If you
have resisted using or learning style sheets because it is
an experimental technology, keep in mind that depending on
your site visitors, a sizable majority of web browsers in
common use today support style sheets very well. It is no
On a different note, even though all the
major browsers have been supporting style sheets for some
time, this support is admittedly less than universal. Many
Web developers believe that support is hopelessly inadequate,
but this isn't true at all. In part, this is a pretext used
to avoid addressing a new technology. It was a valid reason
a few years ago, but now, it's just an excuse.
What are CSS Levels?
CSS 1 first became a recommendation in late
1996. Support for CSS 1 is now extensive (if not complete)
in Netscape 7, and acceptable in Internet Explorer versions
4.5 for Macintosh and 5 and upwards for Windows. Opera 3.5
for Windows had very good support for CSS 1, and recent versions
of this excellent browser have better support still.
CSS 2 became a recommendation in May of
1998. It extended CSS 1, so CSS 1 is a subset of CSS 2 with
some very minor changes. Support for CSS 2 was almost nonexistent
in Netscape Navigator 4.x, and very limited in Internet Explorer
4.5, 5 and 5.5 for Windows.
While browsers like Internet Explorer 6
and (more so) Netscape 7 and Opera 7 showed promising support
for a lot of the basic aspects of CSS 2, it became obvious
with time that some of its more complex (and perhaps even
esoteric) features were unlikely to ever be implemented.
For this reason, CSS 2, revision 1 was released in January
2003, with a number of the more high-level aspects of CSS
2 now removed
Users and developers can now enjoy
the full benefits of CSS while maintaining speed an consistency
of appearance at one end, and reliability and friendliness
of operation at the other.