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What is CSS?

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Author: Jobby

CSS has been invented and developed for the Internet. It is not an adapted tool from print or programming, but a means of enhancing HTML. CSS-design is not easy. We need to find workaround across browser inconsistencies, not that easy CSS-concepts and quite counterintuitive CSS-solutions. CSS-2 and beyond are gradually becoming supported properly, particularly in the more sophisticated browsers like Firefox , Mozilla , Opera and Safari . Support is finally good enough in the leading browsers in use at the moment.

CSS finally opens the medium up to its multi-format promise and you're only writing for screen? What's up with that? CSS 2.1 is derived from and is intended to replace CSS2. Some parts of CSS2 are unchanged in CSS 2.1, some parts have been altered, and some parts removed. CSS can actually be extended safely in a way that doesn't conflict with the standards.

Web sites designed in CSS are faster to change and update. Because the coding is reduced the pages are more efficient and require less bandwidth. Web designers have a choice to hide contents from certain browsers in some circumstances. There may be some content that web designers desire to be only shown in print and not on screen.

HTML had a laudable goal of making layout independent of the size of type. Something that was necessary back in the 90s when HTML was mostly text. HTML, CSS, DB, code is clean, seperated and well structured. That is rare in open source. HTML has become a widely adhered to standard, and lots of those old proprietary extensions have either gone the way of all flesh, or become part of the standard. And slowly, slowly, intransigence, reluctance and skepticism towards CSS is fading away.

Internet Explorer 6 and its earlier incarnations have numerous issues with their CSS implementation that require webmasters to implement workarounds just to make them render complex pages correctly. Creating a site that has the same appearance on the modern browsers as well as older browsers is not an inconsiderable challenge.

Tableless Web design considerably improves Web accessibility in this respect. Screen readers and braille devices have fewer problems with tableless designs because they follow a logical structure. Table cells do this naturally. CSS DIVs do it only under extreme duress, and only by making assumptions about (and thus becoming tightly bound to) their underlying content, which undermines the whole point of CSS. Tables existed in HTML for one reason: To display tabular data. But then border="0" made it possible for designers to have a grid upon which to lay out images and text.

Designers so often pile float on top of float, until their layouts remind me of a game of Kerplunk. These over-floated constructs are fragile, often inflexible and tied too closely to a specific visual layout. Designed with the beginner in mind, this book assumes no prior knowledge of HTML or CSS.

Browser support for CSS is still kind of problematic. First because the older browsers that are still in use don't support it well at all (NS4.5 crashes when it encounters some CSS, and older browsers may just ignore most CSS), and second because some of the more recent browsers—notably IE5—have certain serious bugs in their CSS implementations. Browser Note: I think IE/mac deals with the connecting dashed borders best, on other browsers it seems to be a coincidence of font sizes. Browsers will still have to support tables for layout.


   
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