What’s CSS?


The art of web design and development has come a long way in the past two decades. Long gone are the days when GIF banners and beveled window borders were considered cutting edge. We all know that HTML is the basic foundation of a web page layout. However, HTML is just the tip of the iceberg. In order to make site designs really pop, a little technology called CSS is a must.

CSS Technology in a Nutshell

Short for Cascading Style Sheets, CSS is a way to specify how the HTML elements that make up a web page appear. For the most part, it’s used to modify the color, size and position of everything from chunks of text to images and video players. Without Cascading Style Sheets, web pages would be unorganized jumbles of content that are ugly and difficult to navigate.

How Cascading Style Sheets Work?

CSS is simply a way to describe rules that tell web browsers how to render web page elements. These rules consist of selectors for page elements like h1 followed by declarations that set values for various properties. A sample rule might look something like: h1 {color: red; font-size: 14px}. This rule tells a browser to make every h1 element red and 14 pixels in size.

CSS Usage and Functionality

Even today’s most basic web pages often use hundreds of lines of CSS markup to create a stylish layout. All of those CSS rules are placed within a simple text file that uses a “.css” extension. A link to said file is included in the headsection of an HTML page. Web pages can have multiple CSS files to address browser compatibility problems that affect layouts.

Why We Use Cascading Style Sheets?

The best thing about CSS is that it allows web designers to separate page structure from appearance. This enables web developers to quickly overhaul the look and feel of sites without having to whip up new pages from scratch. CSS can also handle things like interactive effects and animations that used to rely on Javascript. In short, CSS speeds up and simplifies web development.

Current Trends and Implementations

At this stage of the game, CSS has become so complicated that it’s nearly impossible to write it from scratch within an acceptable time frame. That’s why most developers use frameworks like Bootstrap, Pure, Semantic UI and YAML to lay the CSS groundwork. These responsive frameworks allow designers to avoid writing repetitive boilerplate CSS rules that addresses cross-platform support issues and get down to business quickly.

The Future of Cascading Style Sheets

Every year, CSS becomes more versatile as web browsers continue to grow in importance. The average computer user relies as much on Google Chrome to access software as they do on desktop applications. CSS is already capable of controlling things like media playback and running basic video games. A solid familiarity with CSS will only become more critical as its capabilities expand moving forward.

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