Conquer CSS Episode[1]: Introduction to CSS

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CSS

Cascading Style Sheets fondly referred to as CSS, is a simple design language intended to simplify the process of making web pages presentable.

Why Learn CSS?

CSS handles the look and feel of a web page. Using CSS, you can control the color of the text, the style of fonts, the spacing between paragraphs, how columns are sized and laid out, what background images or colors are used, layout designs, and variations in display for different devices and screen sizes as well as a variety of other effects.

CSS is easy to learn and understand but it provides powerful control over the presentation of an HTML document. Most commonly, CSS is combined with the markup languages like HTML or XHTML.

CSS is a MUST for students and working professionals to become great Software Engineers especially when they are working in Web Development Domain.

 I have listed some of the key advantages of learning CSS:

  • Create a Stunning Website– CSS handles the look and feel of a web page. Using CSS, you can control the color of the text, the style of fonts, the spacing between paragraphs, how columns are sized and laid out, what background images or colors are used, layout designs, and variations in display for different devices and screen sizes as well as a variety of other effects.
  • Become a web designer – If you want to start a career as a professional web designer, HTML and CSS designing is a must skill.
  • Control web – CSS is easy to learn and understand but it provides powerful control over the presentation of an HTML document. Most commonly, CSS is combined with the markup languages like HTML or XHTML.
  • Learn other languages – Once you understand the basics of HTML and CSS then other related technologies like JavaScript, PHP, or angular will become easier to understand.

Hello World using CSS.

Just to give you a little excitement about CSS, I’m going to give you a small conventional CSS Hello World program, you can try it using the Demo link.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
   <head>
  	<title>This is document title</title>
  	<style>
  	h1 {
     	color: #36CFFF;
  	}
  	</style>
   </head> 
   <body>
  	<h1>Hello World!</h1>
   </body> 
</html>

Applications of CSS

As mentioned before, CSS is one of the most widely used style languages over the web. I’m going to list a few of them here:

  • CSS saves time – You can write CSS once and then reuse the same sheet in multiple HTML pages. You can define a style for each HTML element and apply it to as many Web pages as you want.
  • Pages load faster – If you are using CSS, you do not need to write HTML tag attributes every time. Just write one CSS rule of a tag and apply it to all the occurrences of that tag. So less code means faster download times.
  • Easy maintenance – To make a global change, simply change the style, and all elements in all the web pages will be updated automatically.
  • Superior styles to HTML – CSS has a much wider array of attributes than HTML, so you can give a far better look to your HTML page in comparison to HTML attributes.
  •  Multiple Device Compatibility – Style sheets allow content to be optimized for more than one type of device. By using the same HTML document, different versions of a website can be presented for handheld devices such as PDAs and cell phones or printing.
  • Global web standards – Now HTML attributes are being deprecated and it is being recommended to use CSS. So it’s a good idea to start using CSS in all the HTML pages to make them compatible with future browsers.

Who Creates and Maintains CSS?

CSS is created and maintained through a group of people within the W3C called the CSS Working Group. The CSS Working Group creates documents called specifications. When a specification has been discussed and officially ratified by the W3C members, it becomes a recommendation.

These ratified specifications are called recommendations because the W3C has no control over the actual implementation of the language. Independent companies and organizations create that software.

NOTE − The World Wide Web Consortium or W3C is a group that makes recommendations about how the Internet works and how it should evolve.

CSS Versions

Cascading Style Sheets level 1 (CSS1) came out of W3C as a recommendation in December 1996. This version describes the CSS language as well as a simple visual formatting model for all the HTML tags.

CSS2 became a W3C recommendation in May 1998 and builds on CSS1. This version adds support for media-specific style sheets e.g. printers and aural devices, downloadable fonts, element positioning, and tables.

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