There are many details which influence how a website appears and functions, and the presentation of a web page includes converting it to a user-friendly format. One of the primary methods is Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a language which helps detail how a website is presented in the browser, and influences factors such as colors, fonts, and layout.
CSS offers a variety of benefits to web designers and developers, and works with HTML to manage the appearance of multiple pages, providing an efficient way to save time and ensure consistency. Read on for more information about CSS, its history and features, and how it affects web design today.
The History of CSS
When the World Wide Web was first created, there was no CSS or any real options for styling a website. CSS stood out in comparison to its early competitors because it was far simpler to use, and because it allowed for multiple style sheets (hence the name). Initially, CSS was unpopular because web pages would crash in browsers that couldn’t properly support it, but as more users became aware of its versatility, it began to gain prominence.
Computers and browsers communicate by using language. Using what’s known as declarative programming, which means when HTML tells a browser how to render a page, CSS overrides a browser’s default formatting and provides new rules and an outline that influences how a page is rendered. It can also make the style of multiple web pages conform to a singular style with minimal code, a useful feature for students in web design courses.
How CSS Influences HTML in Web Design Courses
A basic web page is structured using a markup language, of which HTML is the most commonly used. HTML uses a stylesheet document to determine the content, but not the visual style, of the web page. CSS is used instead as a separate means to control the page display and can be applied to HTML in three different ways: external stylesheets, internal stylesheets, and inline styles.
External stylesheets are the most preferred style because it centralizes the CSS data and allows for one stylesheet to be used across documents. Internal stylesheets, in contrast, only affects singular pages, however, it offers graduates with a web designer diploma the opportunity to change minor elements of the code, which means it can be reused or modified for another page. Inline styles use HTML on specific tags in the code, which is preferable for an individual CSS problem, but not recommended for general use because it would have to be applied to every tag thereafter.
The Pros and Cons of CSS
As with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to using CSS in web design college.
To take the bad news first, one of the largest drawbacks of CSS is that whenever it is embedded in the HTML of a web page, it will cause that page to load slower than if it operated only on HTML. Additionally, because it uses a different syntax than HTML, it causes developers and designers to learn two different types of code and understand how they interact. This can lead to complications with a website’s appearance, as well as how CSS responds to third-party software.
The drawbacks, however, are far outweighed by the advantages that CSS offers. Multiple pages can be quickly designed and formatted, establishing an efficient and consistent framework for cross-browser and website use. CSS is also considered to be clean coding, which is more easily accessible by web search engines, allowing for more directed traffic and exposure.
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